There's light at the end of the tunnel. After years of indecision and months of secret dealings, things have been moving very quickly in the last few days. First came the promise that the track would be sold by the end of the quarter. Then came the doom-laden warnings that without a sale the Nurburgring might be closed. Call me cynical, but that sounded a little like they were getting the public warmed up and ready to meet some buyers.
And after the ADAC had been thrown of the mix for their low-ball offer, only Capricorn and HIG Capital remained as credible options. But who was on top? The German automotive parts supplier (who nobody could quite believe had got the money), or the cash-rich HIG group?
Then on Tuesday morning we got a glimpse of the future. Because last week no fewer than six new companies were incorporated, all under the name NRGH, and each one dedicated to just one aspect of the 'ring. One for the boulevard, one for the hotels, one for the GP track, one for the land, one for the Nordschleife and finally an overall 'holdings' company. Closer inspection of the documents revealed one name as running them all. Meyrick Cox.
A name the public only really know as the leading man and public face of the HIG bid. Reuters were all over it, and quickly dug up more details. But while our transatlantic cousins are currently busy screaming patriotic slogans and airbrushing bald eagles over the top of the Karussell, I managed to get in touch with the Englishman who's actually co-ordinating the bid. The man who could be running the Nurburgring before the month is over.
Firstly, and most importantly, he's keen to stress that there is no ink on paper as yet. The six firms he founded were all just "groundwork, should the bid succeed". Groundwork that cost 25,000 euros a pop, no less. So he can't be that unsure. And boy does this man have some plans for the 'ring. This is no divide-and-resell corporate buyout, this is buy, invest and rejuvenate.
All that Meyrcik has time for is a very informal conversation, but should his bid succeed then I'll bring you a word-for-word interview. Here are some of the highlights though, including 25 million euros to be invested in the Nordschleife and a business plan built around public access, racing and the automotive industry. He's also proposing full HD 1080p video coverage of the whole Nordschleife combined with a transponder/data-uplink for each car. Not only better to control the noise, but the system will spot stopped cars, crashes (speed changes to zero) and even fluid spills automatically using infrared cameras. F1-style warning lights to convey flag signals instantly and accurately and a totally new entrance to the Nordschleife and no more ticket barriers are also among the proposals.
Sounds too good to be true? For many people it is. The 'Save The Ring' crowd are calling it the 'worst case scenario', even though my idea of worst case scenario would be no buyers, the government pulling funding and weeds growing through a deserted, uneconomic to repair Nordschleife.
Yet, I have to admit to a lingering feeling of unease, even listening to Meyrick enthuse about those fantastic ideas above. Meyrick, it should be mentioned, is a man who has competed in no fewer than 18 24-hour races, who has been enjoying the Nordschleife in public sessions, track days and racing for the best part of two decades. He has a house here. He's a guy who takes time out from brokering massive industry-altering deals (Volvo to the Chinese, for example) to instruct the guys coming through the Mission Motorsport programme. You'll find him out on the Nordschleife in a Mk1 MX-5 and I'll be wheel to wheel with his OPC Astra racecar in the VLN season opener later this month...
But, when you're dealing with venture capitalists and investment groups, I think that sense of unease is only natural. Is that light at the end of the tunnel just another train coming at you head on? Only time will tell. At least now time is something that the Nurburgring has more of.