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Track History

Up to 1927, There was actually no permanent racing circuit in Germany

In 1907 the first race in germany was the Kaisrepreis. This came about after a Mercedes won a race and Germany was obliged to hold a return race for the Gordon Bennet Trophy.

This led to the idea of some manufacturer proving grounds being implemented, though these ideas did not ome to fruition due to the start of the First World War.

Nothing really took a hold until around 1921 when the ideas where agin surfacing to have a facility within Germany. This was not actually in the nurburgring area but in the eastern city of Berlin and in the stutgart area. Much like Le Mans and Spa it utilised public roads.

In 1925 Dr Otto Creuz conceived the idea of a permanent track within Germany. This would be the countries first dedicated race circuit/test track.
With help from various agencies. Motor clubs and the Mayor of Cologne the conception and funding was appropriated. within that year the first foundations of the track were laid.

Like Le Mans and Spa the track was vast in its proportions, totalling some 17 miles of circuit the concept was to have two sections for the track and that is where the Sudschliefe and Nordschliefe were born. The Sudschliefe was built to about 4.8 miles in length and the rest of the the track was what would become the Nordschliefe and came in at 14.2 miles.

The circuit was constructed by different contractors in four stages, The first finished in 1926 this being the Nordschleife. The year after this the rest was completed this being the Sudschleife and Steilstrecke.The Construction costs totalled some 15 million Marks

The circuit included a full setup of Grandstands, Paddock, and various other facilities making it an impressive construction.

The first race at the track was held in 1927, and just after this hosted its first ever Grand Prix.

During the second world war the track was in the hands of the German miltary. During this time the track was inevitabley damage by the war with major damage to the track and the facilities. It wasnt used again until it reopened in 1948, with racing starting again a year later. It did not host any Grand Prix again until the start of the 1950's.
By the 1960's though it was becoming apparent of the dangerous nature of the track and that with the ever increasing speeds of the cars somethig would need to be done as to the safety of drivers.

In the 1970's the track underwent major chnages to add these said safety features with installation of barriers and the track being chnaged to iron out some of the bumpier sections.

The final Grand Prix held at the Nordschlife track was in 1976 which will forever be in the motorsport history books for the events that took place there when Niki Lauda suffered a near fatal crash. Sportscar racing continued on the full circuit even though Formula 1 had stopped using it. the final race on the OLD nordschliefe was in 1982, before major construction work started to alter the track and facilities.

The new Grand Prix circuit was open in May 1984 after just two years work to build it. The endurance races and the 24 hour continued to to use the full circuit. By 2000 a new complex had been built in the form of new pits and better facilities. This was to enable better use by the 24 hour race teams which does get a vast number of entries for it.

2002 saw the changes made to incorprate the Merecdes Arena and the further chnage smade to revise the track were completed the following year


 

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