Since its construction, the Nürburgring Nordschleife has enjoyed a reputation as a terrifying and merciless route through the Eifel forests. An English journalist who visited the Nordschleife during the opening race on 18 June 1927 even concluded “that it seemed as if a reeling, drunken giant had been sent out to determine the route”. The Formula 1 pilot Sir John Young Jackie Stewart – after all a three-time world champion in 1969, 1971 and 1973 – was so impressed by the circuit that he gave it the name which it will probably never lose: Green Hell.
Racing and winning on the Nordschleife has always been very special for racing drivers, because the track is one of the most demanding in the world. Tricky corners, treacherous crests, steep inclines and gradients an d constantly changing road surfaces demand great skill from the driver and put vehicles to a hard test.
In only two years, engineers drew up a 23.8 km circuit, which could be used in different versions, including the then 22.8 km long Nordschleife track.The Eifel Race for motorbikes on 18 June 1927 was the first race ever to take place on the new track. Just one day later, Rudolf Caracciola was the first driver to win a motorcar race at the Nürburgring, the Eifel Race.
In 1934, legend has it that the Mercedes team spent the night before the race scraping off the coat of paint from its W25 race car in order to comply with the newly introduced weight limit of 750 kg. The following day saw the factory team around driver Manfred Brauchitsch bring home an undisputed victory with the silvery Mercedes, marking the birth of the Silver Arrows.
While the second world war put a temporary end to racing in 1940, the Nürburgring was reopened in 1947. Few years later, it hosted the first race of newly established Formula 1 series. The Grand Prix of Germany took its place in the Formula 1 race calendar – the beginning of a genuine motorsport madness in Germany.
But at the end of the 1976 season, Formula 1 left the Nürburgring, due to safety concerns, even though the Nordschleife underwent substantial modifications. In 1984, the Nürburgring Grand Prix track officially opened, thus making the Formula 1 return to the German track.
In 1998, the Nürburgring was finally certified in accordance with EMAS regulation. For many years, it was the only race track in the world to have been awarded EMAS environmental certification.
After several modernizations and expansion, the Nürburgring has become a modern leisure and adventure destination, with numerous attractions revolving around two of the most fascinating race tracks in the world.
Today, despite the presence of many circuits, the Nordschleife loop is still a reference for speed tests.