Nürburgring Speed Limits Lifted, Like God Intended
The famed German race track is back at full speed.
To paraphrase the legendary Lakota war chief Low Dog, today is a good day to drive. Because today, you can roll onto the Nürburgring Nordschleife and drive as fast as you damn well please. The famed German track has finally lifted the controversial speed limits implemented last year.
Instituted as part of the track's reaction to a March 28, 2015 accident that killed a spectator (you can see it here but be warned: it's not for the faint of heart), the speed limits had governed three sections of the 12.9-mile long track. On the length from Hocheichen to Schwedenkreuz, cars were restricted to 200 km/h (that's 124 mph in 'Murican speed) with the limit rising to 250 km/h (155 mph) further down that stretch. The Döttinger Höhe part of the track also received a 250 km/h speed cap. (This map from Bridge to Gantry offers a handy visual of the restricted zones.)
While ostensibly implemented for noble reasons, the speed limits stirred up a witch's brew of controversy, as restricting velocity for both race cars and consumer vehicles alike on the track seemed to largely defeat the purpose of, y'know, being on a track. Over the winter months, track operator Capricorn Nürburgring GmbH kicked off a comprehensive series of upgrades to make the course safer. Rough parts, including a half-klick each in theFlugplatz and Quiddelbacher Höhe sections, were repaved. Additional safety fencing was installed around the course, and a chunk of the Schwedenkreuz stretch has been closed off to spectators.
As a result of the safety changes, the FIA gave the Green Hell a clean bill of health shortly before Easter, awarding the track the Grade 3 license needed to run GT races. With that taken care of, the speed limits were officially yanked just in time for the start of the 40th season of the VLN Endurance Championship Nürburgring race series on April 2.
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