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.
@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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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