F1 traveller’s guide: Nurburgring

It remains unconfirmed at the moment, but it is highly likely that the Nurburgring will be announced shortly as venue of the 2013 German Grand Prix.

The circuit has hosted the German race and the European Grand Prix over the years.

Located around 43 miles south of Cologne, the circuit is a much shorter version of the 14 mile Nordschleife track which had claimed so many lives in previous decades.

The modern facility may not be the legendary challenge of the 14 mile Nordschleife, but it has certainly delivered some memorable races over the years.

In 1999, Johnny Herbert snatched a magnificent win for the Stewart team. Six years later, Kimi Raikkonen was dealt a cruel blow after suffering a tyre failure at the beginning of the last lap while leading.

So what do fans planning a trip to the Nurburgring need to know?

After Briony Dixon’s excellent guide to the Hungaroring, in this third edition of my F1 traveller’s guide, Anthony French is back, following his valuable Monaco Grand Prix insight last week.

Here, he shares his experience from the 2007 European Grand Prix at the Nurburgring – a race which fans in the UK had the pleasure of listening to Murray Walker commentate on for BBC Radio 5 Live, while regular commentator David Croft was on paternity leave.

Travel

“I made my own way to the Nurburgring, staying at a local B&B roughly 5-6 miles from the circuit, which cost between 20 and 30 euros a night even at inflated Grand Prix weekend prices – very reasonable.

“I had travelled to Germany via P&O ferries from Hull to Rotterdam then onwards by car (allowing two days to get to the circuit in time).

“The B&B boasted several other fans all of whom made a similarly early start to get to the track on the Sunday morning.”

Getting to the circuit

“Surprisingly, the Nurburgring was an easy circuit to navigate where parking arrangements are concerned.

“It was simply a matter of finding the correct entry gate (most of which are located near the circuit’s main entrance) and driving straight into a convenient parking spot.

“Walking from the car was however a little more awkward and not for the elderly or infirm – pathways are little more than bumpy, with muddy tracks which are terrible after rain (which it did with vigour in 2007!).

Where to sit

“In 2007 I was sitting in stand T11 – opposite the Kumho Kurve and opening sequence of corners.

“Considering the traditionally uniform nature of racing at the new Nurburgring, prices were surprisingly high and on a par with ‘blue-riband’ races such as Monaco and Spa – 277 euros for a Sunday-only grandstand seat.

“The 2007 race did not disappoint however, and the T11 stand is an excellent place to sit for first-corner action and the sight of the cars plunging downhill at full chat later in the lap.

“Beware of the local weather though! The T11 stand is supposed to be a covered stand, but strong winds often drive the rain under the canopy and soak large sections of the crowd.

“Always wrap up warm and take waterproofs otherwise it could be a very miserable experience – local conditions can change in an instant.”

The facilities

“Toilet facilities were plentiful at the 2007 event, as were merchandise stalls and food outlets. As is the case with most F1 events, these were rather highly priced and worth avoiding if you value the contents of your wallet!

“A packed lunch of your own (or pre-bought food from the local supermarket) is probably a good idea and in no way discouraged by the circuit organisers. A random bag-search was in place in 2007 but I am unaware if the practice still continues.”

Top tips

“Be prepared for all kinds of weather.

“If possible, book into a covered stand.

“Remember your walking boots for the walk from car park to circuit.

“Taking food of your own is a good idea.”

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