Wet Nurburgring Lap Video Shows Why You Should Take it Easy in the Rain

When it rains on a sunny day at the Nurburgring, chaos ensues.

Bridge to Gantry / YouTube

The Nurburgring is big. Real big. The 12.9-mile Nordschleife is so big that the weather can be bright and sunny when you begin a lap, yet a torrential downpour elsewhere on the track—a hazard not normally encountered on a typical road course. As a result, drivers are often unprepared for a change in the weather during a lap, which requires them to change their driving style drastically to stay on the road. Of course, not everyone does.

A great example of this is this video from Bridge to Gantry. In the clip, the driver, Dale Lomas, takes a friend of a friend along for a ride in a BMW 125i. It's sunny and dry at the start, but eagle-eyed Lomas sees rain in the distance and precisely calculates where on the track they'll drive into it. Just as he predicts, the track gets wet at the Foxhole, and soon yellow flags start appearing. Soon they pass a group of motorcycles off the side of the track, followed by a Subaru that appears to be totaled, plus other cars as the lap goes on.

Lomas explains exactly what's going on to his passenger. When the rain begins, it brings all of the oil up to the surface, making the track extremely slippery. (This helps Lomas pilot the BMW through some mad drifts in between yellow flags.) The same thing happens on the street, particularly if it hasn't rained in a while. 

The sudden reduction in traction can catch out an inattentive driver, just as it caught these drivers on the Nurburgring who were undoubtedly paying more attention to their driving than the average street driver. Lomas' advice also applies to the street as well as the track—look up, and look as far ahead as you can. The sooner you know about hazards you are approaching, from rain to a crashed Subaru, the more time you have to react to them.