F1 junkies head for the Green Hell

2011-07-16 15:04

If there’s one place in the world every petrolhead out there wants to drive before they die, it’s a place in western Germany surrounded by lush green trees better known as the Green Hell, or simply the Ring.

The name Nürburgring simply means the Nürburg circuit. Known as the most dangerous and exhilarating track in the world, it is the ultimate testing ground for skills behind the wheel.

Probably the best thing about it is that it’s open to the public, meaning anyone can take a spin at any time.

Formula 1 champs will gather next weekend to race in the German F1 at the Nürburgring track.

It’s probably the most well-known track in the world. It’s been included in video games such as Gran Turismo, and car manufacturers use it as a ”proving ground” for supercars.

The Ring is made up of two racetracks, the first being the Nordschleife (northern loop) which was built in 1925 and opened in 1927 as the “First Hilly Racing and Test Track”.

The Grand Prix circuit is the second track and was opened in 1984.

The two tracks can be driven together and make up 26km, making it the longest racetrack in the world with a total of 40 left-hand bends, 50 right-hand bends and a 300m height difference throughout the track.

Three-time world Formula 1 champion Sir John Young “Jackie” Stewart was so impressed by the circuit that he named it the Green Hell, and the name stuck.

The Nordschleife was classified as unsafe for Formula 1 in the 80s, especially after Niki Lauda’s accident in 1976.

To attract Formula 1 back, the 4.5km Grand Prix circuit was built between 1981 and 1984, and was extended in 2001 by the “Mercedes Arena” section to its present length of 5.148km.

Here is a breakdown of the Grand Prix circuit:
Pit lane: Race teams are based here during the event so drivers can refuel, change tyres or have repairs done.

Start/finish straight: Laps begin and end here. It is also the highest point on the circuit at 627.75 metres above sea level.

Yokohama-S: This is a combination of bends used for the Zurich 24-hour race. Cars are usually seen braking from high speeds before entering this section.

Mercedes-Arena: Probably the trickiest part of the Grand Prix circuit. One has to find the ideal line here.

Circuit 2: This is where the circuits differ. If Circuit 2 is in use, the vehicles turn right through the short connecting section. If the complete Grand Prix circuit is in use they continue straight ahead.

Circuit 3/Müllenbach loop: The hairpin bend in the Müllenbach loop is the lowest point on the circuit.

It can either be used as part of the Grand Prix circuit or as a circuit on its own.

The short connecting section for the circuit is also called “Little Monaco” on account of the narrow route between the crash barriers.

Schumacher-S: This section was given its name in 2007 after Germany’s record world champion Michael Schumacher. It is a quick combination of left-right bends.

Warsteiner bend: Known as the starting point for the fastest section of the Grand Prix circuit. Drivers try to find the optimum line heading into the top-speed passage.

Advan arch: The top-speed right-hand bend is the fastest bend on the circuit. Drivers reach their top speed shortly after this.

NGK chicane:
The chicane can be used in two different ways: the narrow, more angular layout or the wider, more flowing “motorcycle variation”.

T 13: This bend is the last one before crossing the start/finish line. Drivers who want to make a stop in the pits can turn off in front of the bend.

If the combination of both circuits is used, the racing cars turn left here onto the 20.8km-long Nordschleife.

– additional information www.nuerburgring.de 

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