The Nordschleife

Test track to the world

Watch GT RACER’s The Marathon on the Nordschleife and get a behind-the-wheel view of this legendary track.

As motorsport fans know, the world-famous Nürburgring combines two tracks that can be turned into one. One track is the Grand Prix circuit, which is laid out for Formula 1 racing and all of the accompanying security measures, run-off areas, gravel pits, and generous track width. The other track is the Nordschleife, a narrow, super-long (thirteen miles), twisty circuit through the mountains with no run-off areas, wildly varied track surface, and huge elevation changes.

Photo: Shutterstock.

Despite its treachery – the source of its ominous nickname, “The Green Hell” – the Nordschleife has stood the test of time and, to this day, remains one of the premier test tracks for the automotive industry. For that reason it is no surprise particular touring car series still compete today on the Nordschleife. When such series also incorporate the Grand Prix part of the track, the circuit is an incomparable 15.2 miles per lap.

The annual highlight is the 24 Hours Nürburgring weekend. Inspired by the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the race is a grueling all-day, all-night competition event that demands the most inventive racing from both drivers and cars alike. As a carmaker, if you want to really test your new vehicle, what better way is there than to race it twenty-four hours nonstop through a considerable variety of terrain?

Photo: Shutterstock.

Aston Martin, for example, built its AMR Performance Center directly adjacent to the famous Ring, as “a testament to the marque’s racing prowess and commitment to tireless development for new and exciting products.” All new models have to conclude a 10,000 km test on the Ring to conclude their sign-off process.

And New York–based, hyper-car manufacturer Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus flies cars regularly over the pond to the Nordschleife to test them in competition, including the 24 Hours. This year Glickenhaus went on the podium, finishing first in their class and fourteenth overall.

Photo: Shutterstock.

Today many super carmakers use the Nordschleife to make headlines by trying to beat the lap record with their “streetcars” – to great marketing effect. For many years, the magic number was seven minutes; the so-called “sonic barrier” was broken in 2015 by the Lamborghini Aventador SuperVeloce LP750-4, which did a lap in 6:59.73 minutes. Since then, Porsche and Lamborghini have been going at it against each other with various models: 911 GT2 RS; 918 Spyder; 911 GT3 RS; the GT2 RS again against the Huracán Performante LP640 and the Aventador SVJ LP770 respectively. The streetcar lap record stands now at 6:44.97 minutes (Aventador). Jim Glickenhaus has proposed a “Road Cup” that would create an all-out brawl between hyper-car makers and could finally settle the question of who is officially producing the fastest car available for the road. Glickenhaus’s aim is a sub-6:30 minutes lap time.

Photo: Shutterstock.

To get a good view of the entire length of the track from behind the wheel, take a seat in one of our GT RACERs and watch The Marathon on the Nordschleife.