10 best… Nurburgring Nordschleife corners

Nick Heidfeld, BMW, Nurburgring Nordschleiefe, 2007When the modern Nurburgring was unveiled in the early ’80s everyone grumbled it wasn’t fit to share its name with the fearsome Nordschleife.

If today’s Nurburgring doesn’t have a corner worthy of the name – and I think that’s a little harsh – you can’t say the same of its big, bad brother.

Here are ten of the best corners on The Green Hell – and a video lap of the 1975 race.

Flugplatz
@1:56 on the video below

Which is ‘airfield’ in English because this is one of several points on the track where the cars take off. Approaching the corner over a bridge at Quiddelbacher Hohe the car flies through the air and touches down – hopefully – in time to brake for a quick double-apex right hander.

Schwedenkreuz / Aremberg
@2:15

Not far on from Flugplatz is another test of nerves. Schwedenkreuz is a long, flat-out left hander with a crest in the middle that doesn’t straighten out soon enough to make it easy to brake into the tight Aremberg right-hander.

Adenauer Forst
@2:38

Gran Turismo 4 fans will remember this from the licence tests. Around a quick, uphill left hander the driver must keept the car left and slow it down enough for the right-hander at the top. Spectators gather here because the margin for error is wafer thin.

Bergwerk
@3:55

The infamous corner that nearly claimed Niki Lauda’s life in 1976. Here the objective is to turn in as late as possible to carry as much speed out of the corner without running wide. This is critical because it is followed by a long flat-out section and those precious drops of momentum can cut whole seconds of a lap time.

Kesselchen
@4:18

Up in the forest, where the shade of trees stops the track from drying properly and makes every twist a lethal guessing game in the wet. Kesselchen is a quick left-hander that looks tame on paper – unless it shows you the rise on the entry, the kerb on the inside that’s been the starting point for many a high-speed wreck, and the tricky off-camber exit. Millimetre-perfect entry is vital.

Nick Heidfeld, BMW, Nurburgring Nordschleiefe, Karussell, 2007Karussell
@4:53

One of the famous landmarks – a long, deep hairpin, steeply cambered with a heavy concrete strip on the inside. The camber may be very helpful but the concrete can be slippery and the bends tightens in radius, meaning a driver that accelerates too soon will find himself spat into the waiting barriers.

Wippermann
@5:23

This sequence throws everything at the driver – multiple S-bends switching back on each other, conflicting cambers and, just when you think you’ve conquered it, a nasty bump on the exit. Top drivers enter with a sharp, confident stamp on the brakes, hug the kerb around the left-hander, and straighten up the car before the exit to avoid understeer. But it takes practice.

Pflantzgarten
@6:01

Could easily be named Flugplatz II as it has one of the biggest jumps on the track. The drop comes after a right-left squiggle but the driver must hit it straight-on to avoid crashing. The car may even need a touch of the brakes before take-off to settle it. After landing, brake for the fast double-apex right-hander of Pflantzgarten.

Galgenkopf
@6:46

The translated name Gallows Head tells you all you need to know about this bend. Drivers must carry maximum speed out of it onto the long straight – get it wrong and the barriers on the outside will punish you horribly.

Tiergarten
@7:17

At the other end of the straight there is no nice, wide Hermann Tilke hairpin with acres of concrete run-off – no. The track bends left gently with a dip in the middle, then twists sharply right. Picking a braking point is fearsomely difficult – especially in the rain when rivers pour across the track.

Take a look at this video of the first lap of the 1975 German Grand Prix to see a lap of the Nurburgring:

PS. Yes, I know I missed out Fuchsrohe and Brunnchen and plenty of others – there’s a lot more than just 10 great bends on the Nordschleife!

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6 comments on 10 best… Nurburgring Nordschleife corners

  1. That’s Depailler in the Tyrrell chasing Lauda (I checked) and the video makes it clear that he knew his business. The Ferrari is much quicker on the straights but Depailler hangs on and then reels him in through the twisty bits. Marvellous stuff!

    Your description of those ten corners illustrates only too clearly why F1 can never return to the Nordschleife…

  2. Dan M said on 19th July 2007, 23:19

    In todays machines, they never come across the line of the first lap that close together…… at 1/4 the lap length.

    Maybe its a good thing they don’t race there. Who would have to go pick the Spyker’s in the middle of no where? Ralph wouldn’t mind, he causes his accidents about 50 yards from the starting line.

  3. Wesley said on 19th July 2007, 23:24

    I only recently started watching F1 (2 years now) and I am in awe of the Nordschleife – It is very obvious that it is not a safe track for current F1.

    I went back and watched what Clive had mentioned and you are right-great stuff,I love to watch the older races when the battles were on the track instead of
    in the pit stops.

    Thanks for the video.

  4. Scootin159 said on 7th January 2008, 18:34

    Anybody else have a copy of this video? Link is broken.

  5. Scootin159 said on 7th January 2008, 18:34

    nevermind, figured it out.

  6. David said on 18th August 2008, 12:26

    Just saw this wonderful site. I’m crazy for F1 also, but my madness is from Italy (Ferrari and so on)…sorry guys!
    I cannot see the movies, is there any chance to get the links?

    Thanks

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