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The Nürburgring’s Karussell

With the European Grand Prix season upon us, few circuits command as much respect as the notorious Nürburgring. While the new Nürburgring circuit sits on the site of the original start-finish area and was built in 1982, the old Nordschleife still exists and was built between the two World Wars as a government project to help stimulate the distressed local economy of the Eifelland region. While the Nordschlife has been reduced to 12 miles and 100 turns to accommodate the new ring, between 1947 and 1980 it was 14.5 miles, if you do not include the Sudschleife section. The track was built as a permanent circuit along the lines of Monza in Italy but because of the mountain terrain was modeled after the famous Targa Florio in Sicily, a 44-mile circuit of public roads. While finished in 1926, the track underwent major upgrading in the ’70s while still a Grand Prix venue.

There are numerous challenging corners on the old ring, not to mention two jumps where airborne cars need careful placement on their takeoff launch to ensure a square landing. The landings are critical as you find yourself in a brake zone approaching the next corner! Throw in a 2-mile straight that meanders a bit like Road America’s run to Canada corner and you start to get the idea.

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