How You Can Drive On Germany's Most Famous Racetrack


Photo: Wikimedia/Walter Koch

Although there are many great driving roads in the world, perhaps the most famous is the Nürburgring.Built and completed in 1927 around the medieval castle city of Nürburg, it lies about 75 miles northwest of Frankfurt and 50 miles south of Cologne. Easy day trip distance, which is exactly our focus.

Though the Nürburgring is used mainly by car companies for testing and sanctioned races, examples of the latter being DTM (German Touring Car) and Formula 1, it is open to the public…if you can handle it.

Nürburgring is widely regarded as the toughest and most demanding race track in the world due to its long length and sheer number of corners. Public access is typically on the weekends, and all road-legal vehicles can pay to drive on this historic road. Sports cars and motorcycles are the of course the most common sights, but even RVs and tour buses are allowed to have their turn.

Here’s the deal. The Nürburgring is a one-way toll road and German road laws still apply. During testing and racing events it is closed to the public, but there are plenty of accessible viewing areas all around the course.

The original and longest configuration of the road is called Gesamtstrecke (Whole Course), which is 17.5 miles (28.26 km) long. The most famous layout, however, is called Nordscheife (Northern Loop). It’s 14+ miles of road and corners have seen many famous racing drivers and about as many devastating crashes.

Since it is a toll road there is a charge for each vehicle. A single lap around Nordschleife is €26 ($35.50), four laps is €97 ($132.45), and nine laps is €202 ($275.83). You can also purchase an annual unlimited pass for €1,475 ($2014.11), if you live in the area or you just want to boast that you hold a Nürburgring annual pass (and who wouldn’t?).

If you’re Germany-bound and without wheels to take ’round the track, don’t worry. There are a few companies that rent cars for track use, so avoid renting at Avis and Hertz with the intention of driving one of their cars around the ‘Ring. The usual rental companies have been known to make you pay for the full damages inflicted if an accident occurs during your time at Nürburgring. All of the Ring-friendly rental companies can be found on a special site.

Need more info to make it happen? Head over to the Nürburgring’s official website and then save a spot for us. We totally call shotgun.

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