RE: Nurburgring speed limits to be lifted

RE: Nurburgring speed limits to be lifted

Tuesday 18th August 2015

Nurburgring speed limits to be lifted

New management reveals a host of changes, some more controversial than others...



First the good news. The much-maligned speed limits introduced to the Nurburgring Nordschleife are to become nothing more than a sad chapter in the Nordschleife's long and chequered history. But nothing comes for free, and according to a German press release [updated - reissued in English and viewable here] the management has identified no fewer than 16 improvements, seven of which will be implemented in the winter downtime between November 2015 and March 2016.

These are going, but there's a price to pay
These are going, but there's a price to pay
Details of all 16 improvements remain frustratingly opaque, but CEO Carsten Schumacher has detailed a significant change to the famous jump at Quiddelbacher Hohe and the double right-hander of Flugplatz.

"Based on a detailed survey we will renew 500 metres of the track surface in the area Flugplatz, thereby eliminating five bumps that have arisen over the many years of hard-use," explained Schumacher.

The famous jump has been both a crowd-pleaser and a car-wrecker for many years (see this 1980 Winkelhock crash for proof), before a Nissan GT3 car flew into the crowd this March and killed a spectator. But news of its impending 'improvement' might not be met kindly by die-hard fans of the North loop's intimidating layout.

Of course, despite the teeth gnashing of the purists, the truth is that track smoothing and safety improvements are nothing new at the Nordschleife. Over its 88-year history the Nordschleife's many jumps, bumps and curves have been removed, replaced and rejigged. You only have to compare some period footage to see the vast differences between the Nordschleife of the '60s, '70s and '90s.

500m of Flugplatz section to be redone
500m of Flugplatz section to be redone
Other developments will include an 'exclusion zone' around Schwedenkreuz and improved fencing, especially alongside the Dottinger Hohe straight, where the main road (B257) runs parallel with the racetrack just metres apart.

While bigger fences might not be much of an inconvenience, especially when comparing a slightly less scenic view to the pain of a racing car landing on your head, the exclusion zone at Schwedenkreuz will ring warning bells for many. We hope that it's not a sign of things to come.

We have asked Capricorn Nurburgring GmbH for more details of the proposed 16 changes and will update you when we know more.

[Source: Nurburgring, BridgeToGantry]

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Author
Discussion

WilsonSwift

Original Poster:

764 posts

131 months

Tuesday 18th August 2015
quotequote all
Here come the changes. I mean honestly, this has been on the cards for a long time and yet, people will still remain surprised by it?

If people still want the Nurburgring to remain open and speed restriction free, then these changes will have to be made. The track needs to adapt.

StottyEvo

6,768 posts

107 months

Tuesday 18th August 2015
quotequote all
I've never been to the track but I can think of a couple areas on the track that could do with larger run off areas, after watching hundreds of cars smash into the same barriers on youtube vids...

Debaser

3,400 posts

205 months

Tuesday 18th August 2015
quotequote all
WilsonSwift said:
Here come the changes. I mean honestly, this has been on the cards for a long time and yet, people will still remain surprised by it?

If people still want the Nurburgring to remain open and speed restriction free, then these changes will have to be made. The track needs to adapt.
I completely disagree. Why does the track need to be made safer?

Dan Trent

1,845 posts

112 months

Tuesday 18th August 2015
quotequote all
The press release has now been issued in English; reproduced verbatim below.

Cheers,

Dan
--

Press information

18. August 2015
Greater safety on the Nordschleife


capricorn Nürburgring GmbH presents catalogue of measures
Objectives: greater safety, no speed limits, renewal of circuit approval
Unique character of the “Green Hell“ will be preserved
Industry, associations, organisers and drivers: consent at round table
Next step: DMSB submits application to International Automobile Federation FIA

Nürburg. The Nürburgring’s legendary Nordschleife is to be made even safer, and speed limits are to become a thing of the past as of 2016. At a round table on “safety on the Nordschleife”, capricorn Nürburgring GmbH (CNG) presented a comprehensive set of measures to representatives of the German motor sport association DMSB, the ADAC, the automotive industry, the organisers, teams, drivers and the region, finding wide approval. In the next step, an official application for renewal of the circuit approval, which is set to expire according to schedule at the end of the year, will be submitted to the International Automobile Federation FIA via the DMSB.

A serious accident during this season’s first VLN Endurance Championship Nürburgring race at the end of March, in which a spectator sustained fatal injuries, triggered discussions about safety, as well as the unusual move of introducing speed limits on a race track. .

After analysis: targeted measures
“Safety on the Nordschleife during races, but also during test drives of the industry and during tourist ride sessions, is our highest priority,” Carsten Schumacher, managing director of Nürburgring operator CNG said at the round table on Monday, 17 August at the Lindner Congress & Motorsport Hotel Nürburgring. “Together with all those involved, we responded to the accident by carrying out a detailed analysis of the situation and compiling targeted measures to further increase active and passive safety, and especially the safety of spectators along the Nordschleife.”

The safety of spectators in particular is the focus of the planned installation of additional safety fences in several track sections and a restricted zone in the Schwedenkreuz area. In order to increase passive safety, lines of protection are to be optimised by installing additional guardrails and FIA safety fences, for instance along the Döttinger Höhe section to better protect the adjacent federal road.

The renewal of the track surface, as a first step in the track section Flugplatz, will serve to increase active safety on the Nordschleife, which was opened in 1927. “Based on detailed measurement, we will renew the track surface in the Flugplatz section over a length of about 500 metres, smoothing out five bumps which are the result of years of high utilisation and heavy use of the Nordschleife,” Carsten Schumacher explains.

Starting from November until the beginning of the 2016 season, seven of the 16 measures planned are to be implemented. “The unique character of the Nordschleife will be preserved. That’s not only important for motor racing but also for the industry, which has been testing its vehicles on this unique race track for decades,” says Carsten Schumacher, who also banks on additional technical measures on the part of the carmakers.

Hans-Joachim Stuck: “Effective measures“
On behalf of the 22 experts at the round table hosted by the Nürburgring, DMSB president Hans-Joachim Stuck, who was unable to attend in person, explained: “All parties want to preserve the Nordschleife and its uniqueness. However, we all know that we will have to improve safety. To this end, the Nürburgring as track operator has worked hard to devise a set of effective measures in great detail which met with broad approval at this round table.” The participants also spoke in favour of successively implementing the measures in the next few years.

The Nürburgring will now submit the catalogue of measures presented to the German motor sport association DMSB in the form of an application, to be forwarded to the Circuit Commission of the International Automobile Federation FIA.

Fire99

9,615 posts

173 months

Tuesday 18th August 2015
quotequote all
I agree with some fencing enhancement and even dare I say moving spectators back a touch in places but the track should remain the challenge that it is for the drivers.

Surfers don't ask for waves to be shortened or climbers ask for mountains to be lowered or faces re-profiled.

There comes a point where a competitor accepts or rejects the risks for what they are and what makes the circuit the challenge that it is.
The competitor has choices and also has feet and arms to alter his/her pace with.
Within reason you cannot neuter all risk. Fact remains that it exists in everything and a huge part of the Nurburgring is the risk (and potential rewards)

GroundEffect

11,463 posts

100 months

Tuesday 18th August 2015
quotequote all
Debaser said:
I completely disagree. Why does the track need to be made safer?
Ask the family of the deceased spectator from this year and the many, many more from the past.


_Neal_

1,798 posts

163 months

Tuesday 18th August 2015
quotequote all
What does "restricted zone" mean in the Schwedenkreuz context? More run off?

Debaser

3,400 posts

205 months

Tuesday 18th August 2015
quotequote all
GroundEffect said:
Debaser said:
I completely disagree. Why does the track need to be made safer?
Ask the family of the deceased spectator from this year and the many, many more from the past.
They're emotionally involved, and therefore unlikely to make a rational decision.

RacerMike

2,375 posts

155 months

Tuesday 18th August 2015
quotequote all
_Neal_ said:
What does "restricted zone" mean in the Schwedenkreuz context? More run off?
I would imagine they mean restricted to spectators. At the 24hr this year, they prevented people from walking trackside through the left hander of Schwedenkreuz.

As for the track mods....there's new tarmac laid down every year as part of the rolling maintenance, so some flattening of the double right hander at Flugplatz isn't really the end of the world, and is significantly better than speed limits! It's not like they're proposing the removal of the corner or anything like that!

_Neal_

1,798 posts

163 months

Tuesday 18th August 2015
quotequote all
Debaser said:
They're emotionally involved, and therefore unlikely to make a rational decision.
But if it's the choice between a few tweaks or keeping speed limits in place, I know which I'd rather have.

Thanks RacerMike, that makes sense. It's a scary high-speed corner with next to no run-off, seems hard to make it properly safe for spectators.

WilsonSwift

Original Poster:

764 posts

131 months

Tuesday 18th August 2015
quotequote all
Debaser said:
I completely disagree. Why does the track need to be made safer?
It's mainly for the spectators more than anything. But the point as raised above is a good one in regards to Flugplatz, it's a shame that they couldn't move the spectator point instead.

It's always been a controversial track in the past, more so nowadays with mainstream modern day media coverage expressing such a negative and aggressive attitude towards motorsport accidents when they happen. In my opinion I don't think that they were left with much choice on this matter. If they didn't improve track safety, then they'd have a big black cloud of bad press looming over them for years to come.

The improvements could have been much worse. They haven't got rid of any corners and they haven't kept the speed limits there, a small price to pay. At least It's still there for people like you and me to enjoy!

Edited by WilsonSwift on Tuesday 18th August 12:52

SuperVM

1,097 posts

105 months

Tuesday 18th August 2015
quotequote all
As much as I love cars, I find the idea of arguing over what amount to fairly small changes and loss of life pretty one sided. For those who have no interest in cars, that a spectator could lose his/her life and no changes be made to the circuit must seem very poor. In this modern world, I think we're fortunate somewhere like this still exists and if small changes are what are required to keep it alive, then we should probably embrace them.

RLK500

901 posts

196 months

Tuesday 18th August 2015
quotequote all
To me it doesn't sound like they are taking a bulldozer to Flugplatz, merely leveling some of the bumps after the jump. That would seem to me to be sensible. Everyone has the choice to lift or brake, those that want the extra challenge can forgo those options.

I like the challenge but don't really want to have the circuit determine if I am going to spear off the road due to random bumps. If I make a mistake that's a matter for me, if the circuit has a tendency to throw cars offline due to surface imperfections that's something I hope the owners would address.

Debaser

3,400 posts

205 months

Tuesday 18th August 2015
quotequote all
Keeping spectators out of harm's way is a good idea, but changing the track itself to make it safer is insane.

If it's too dangerous for you, don't go.

xRIEx

8,180 posts

92 months

Tuesday 18th August 2015
quotequote all
Debaser said:
Keeping spectators out of harm's way is a good idea, but changing the track itself to make it safer is insane.

If it's too dangerous for you, don't go.
Seeing as most of the major incidents (i.e. cars flying into the air) have been during races, does that include the racers who are either paid to race there (or paying for a seat) competing in a championship?

lightthefuse

426 posts

116 months

Tuesday 18th August 2015
quotequote all
Want to echo my sentiments that this can only be a good thing. From the point of view of never having driven a vehicle round there that could even tickle the speed limits, but hey, at least I've been round it a few times.

Even in a lower power car Schwedenkreuz can be intimidating. I loved it though and can't wait to go back.

Debaser

3,400 posts

205 months

Tuesday 18th August 2015
quotequote all
xRIEx said:
Debaser said:
Keeping spectators out of harm's way is a good idea, but changing the track itself to make it safer is insane.

If it's too dangerous for you, don't go.
Seeing as most of the major incidents (i.e. cars flying into the air) have been during races, does that include the racers who are either paid to race there (or paying for a seat) competing in a championship?
Yes, if you're a racing driver who thinks the Nordschleife is too dangerous to race, it's probably a good idea to not go.

Isn't that why Formula 1 doesn't race there anymore?

Snoggledog

6,296 posts

161 months

Tuesday 18th August 2015
quotequote all
Debaser said:
Keeping spectators out of harm's way is a good idea, but changing the track itself to make it safer is insane.

If it's too dangerous for you, don't go.
How do you know it's too dangerous until you've been to find out how dangerous it is?

Like any form of motorsport there's a risk involved. Knocking a few inches off a few bumps is hardly the end of the world. There's still another 13.9 miles of track left for you to enjoy smile

Batfink

1,014 posts

202 months

Tuesday 18th August 2015
quotequote all
Two things: Normal road cars are getting faster and
A couple of bumps does not make a good racetrack.

No-one will miss those bumps in reality.
The corner is a known crash spot so I think its a great idea that spectator safety is being considered and improvements are to be made to make it suited for modern vehicles.

Wh00sher

1,238 posts

162 months

Tuesday 18th August 2015
quotequote all
Debaser said:
I completely disagree. Why does the track need to be made safer?
Because cars are getting faster than before ?

I know cars have always got `air` at Flugplatz, heck, that`s why it got the name ! But generally, cars are getting faster and faster, with more Aero than ever aren`t they ?. When an Aero car get`s air, it can lose that downforce resulting in a much bigger incident.

I`m not a fan of the changes either, but the circuit has been changing for years anyway, this is just a bit higher profile.