23/05/19 10:45

What Is the Nürburgring?

The Nürburgring is a legendary race track located in the town of Nürburg, Germany. The track was established in the spring of 1927. The initial Nürburgring was longer and featured two configurations:

  • Nordschleife (North Loop) - 22.8 km
  • Südschleife (South Loop) - 7.7 km

During some races the Nordschleife and the Südschleife were connected to make up the 28.2 km-long Gesamtstrecke (Whole Course). The Gesamtstrecke was used for the last time in major motorsport events in 1929. From 1929, the German Grand Prix was held only on the Nordschleife. The Südschleife would continue to be used by bikes and minor races until 1973 when it was abandoned.

The Nürburgring stopped being used in 1939 due to World War II and racing only resumed in 1951.

Over the years, many drivers have lost their lives racing on the Nürburgring Nordschleife. No wonder Sir Jackie Stewart once called it "The Green Hell".

BMW Cars on the Nurburgring Race Track

 

The recent sad passing of Niki Lauda reminds us of one of motor racing's most famous crashes involving Niki at "The Ring" in 1976. This was a turning point for the Nürburgring. The irony was that drivers at the time, especially Niki Lauda had been very vocal about the safety of the circuit. It is narrow, there is no run off so the margin for error is slight. The track surface changes one lap to the next. One side can suddenly become wet within one lap. The tyre walls are minimal, and the guard rail is unforgiving. Oh yes, and one other thing – it is VERY fast.

As Justin Everitt recounts – "I did two 500kms races there a few years back in what was nicknamed the "Batmobile". It was fast, geared for 181 mph along the straight, but that's the easy bit… it is the rest of the circuit was the challenge and I always recall the charge downhill approaching Schwedenkrauz totally flat out and for a moment of flickering religiousness I would think "Oh God, if I am to have an accident anywhere on this circuit just don't let it be here…"

Car driving on the Nurburgring Race Track

 

Justin goes on to recount and say "How F1 cars ever raced there is incredible to think now. One of Lauda's concerns was the time it would take for emergency services to get to a particular point on a circuit. Lauda had been warning for some time that its fourteen miles of twisting track through the Eifel mountains stretched the emergency services too far and any driver who had a serious crash was therefore at a disproportionately high risk in an era that was already extremely dangerous."

The rest is history. The original Nürburgring Nordschleife never hosted a Formula 1 race again and the German Grand Prix was also moved to Hockenheim. In 1981 work began on a new racetrack. The new 4.5 km-long circuit that was built to meet the highest safety standards was opened in 1984 and named GP-Stracke (Grand Prix Course). At the same time, the Nordschleife was shortened to 20.8 km and improvements have been made to make the circuit safer for drivers.

Nowadays, the Nürburgring comprises the improved Nordschleife and the Grand Prix race track completed in 1984. The Nordschleife is still used by automobile manufacturers to test their pilot models and there are some race events on it also. The best thing, however, is that the track is also open to the public on many evenings and weekends.

Everything You Need to Know About the Nürburgring

Is the Nürburgring a Public Road?
Does My UK Vehicle Insurance Cover the Nürburgring?
How Much Does Nürburgring Track Day Insurance Cost?
How Much Does It Cost to Drive on the Nürburgring?
How Much Does It Cost If You Crash at the Nürburgring?
Why Is the Nürburgring Nordschleife So Dangerous?
Can Anyone Drive on the Nürburgring?
Where Can I Buy Nürburgring Track Day Insurance?

Is the Nürburgring a Public Road?

During Public Sessions (Public Driving, Touristenfahrten) the Nürburgring is described by German authorities as a one-way public toll-road which means German road traffic law applies. This means that drivers are allowed by law to drive as fast as they want as long as they are in full control of their vehicles. However, there are some speed restrictions in the start and finish areas of the circuit, which need to be obeyed by all drivers. Read more about the rules of the Nürburgring here.

Does My UK Vehicle Insurance Cover the Nürburgring?

UK vehicle insurance companies usually exclude the Nürburgring from their policies. Your vehicle insurance will not pay to repair your car/bike if you crash at the Ring unless you have a specific cover for Nürburgring. However, you should be careful since this could significantly affect your no claims bonus.

You should always read your insurance policy carefully and pay attention to details. Even though the Nürburgring may not be specifically excluded from your policy, you should not assume your UK car insurance has this covered. Some UK vehicle insurers exclude "de-restricted toll roads" while others exclude any road that is at any time used for racing. Furthermore, there are insurance providers out there who cover only "normal road driving" – it is quite difficult to convince anyone that lapping the Nürburgring qualifies as normal driving – it is far from being anything but a normal road.

Motorcycle on the Nurburgring Race Track

 

Third-party insurance (protection against the claims of another be this bodily injury or property – another car) is more complicated. Under current EU law UK insurers cannot legally escape their obligation to pay third-party claims since the Nürburgring is a public road during public sessions (Touristenfahrten). If your contract with your insurance company excludes the Nürburgring, they are likely to have to pay a third-party damage under EU law but technically they could seek reimbursement from you. If you have a UK motor policy and are planning on a public session only at Nürburgring, you must check with your insurance providers if the Ring is or is not covered.

Track days at Nürburgring are very different from public sessions when it comes to insurance. Depending on the organiser, track days at the Ring are run under either UK or German rules. Under UK rules you are not liable for any third-party damage (except damage to the circuit) since all drivers acknowledge the risks involved. Therefore, there is no third party cover that your regular UK motor insurer can or will provide and there is no EU law that compels them to do so either.

The best option for you is to purchase a separate track day insurance for the Nürburgring. The track day insurance MORIS.co.uk provides is for physical damage to your car or bike. However, we do not provide third-party insurance cover. Please read the Car Policy Wording or the Bike Policy Wording for further information on what our track day policies include.

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How Much Does Nürburgring Track Day Insurance Cost?

MORIS.co.uk is one of the UK insurers that provides Nürburgring track day insurance. Track day insurance cost varies depending on the market value of the car, age of the driver, additional drivers, and your excess.

In the table below you can see some example prices of Nürburgring track day insurance provided by MORIS.co.uk. This is just an estimate since the price of Nürburgring track day insurance will differ according to age, vehicle value, and excess.

The following example quotes are based on a 38-year-old male, living in London, with no track day accidents or road convictions in the last 5 years. Cover is for a single public day (Touristenfahrten) at Nürburgring Nordschleife. The MORIS.co.uk admin fee of 22.34 (incl. tax) is included in the total price.

NÜRBURGRING PUBLIC DAY INSURANCE PRICES 2019 – EXAMPLE QUOTES
Vehicle Year of Manufacture Market Value Excess Premium
(incl. tax)
Total Price
(incl. 12% tax)
BMW E39 M5 2001 £12,000 £1,080 £140.90 £163.24
Porsche 996 GT3 2005 £70,000 £5,000 £375.80 £398.14
Yamaha MT10 2017 £7,500-
£10,000
£1,000 £84.24 £106.58

If you choose to purchase insurance for multiple track days, MORIS.co.uk offers generous discount of up to 33%. MORIS.co.uk allows you to insure up to 10 track days at once.

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How Much Does It Cost to Drive on the Nürburgring?

The price for lapping the Nürburgring starts from as little as 25€. The following table shows the prices for public sessions at the Nürburgring for 2019.

NÜRBURGRING PUBLIC SESSIONS PRICES – 2019
Nordschleife price / One lap
Monday – Thursday
25€ / £22
Nordschleife price / One lap
Friday – Sunday
30€ / £26
Grand Prix Track price / 15 Min Stint 30€ / £26
Annual Card
Valid for both Nordschleife & GP Track
2200€ / £1900

Track days at Nürburgring can be quite expensive. The prices differ from event to event but just to give you an idea, here are some examples of track day prices at the Nürburgring.

NÜRBURGRING TRACK DAY PRICES – 2019
Track Day Organiser Track Day Price
Circuit Days / Full Day £529
DN Events / Full Day £599
Skylimit Events / Full Day £672

How Much Does It Cost If You Crash at the Nürburgring?

The price of crashing at the Nürburgring is very expensive. The list below shows all the potential costs associated to damaging and/or closing the Nürburgring.

COST OF CRASHING AT THE NÜRBURGRING – 2019
Base Fee for Attendance of Armco Truck 150€ / £130
Removing Damaged Armco 10€ / £9 per metre
(x2 or x3 or x4 for multiple-height sections)
Replacement Armco 31€ / £27 per metre
(x2 or x3 for double/triple height)
Removing Damaged Armco Posts 5.10€ / £5 each
Replacing Armco Posts 39€ / £34 each
Safety Car Attendance 82€ / £71 per 30 minutes
Circuit Closure From 1350€ / £1164 per hour
Recovery Truck From 600€ / £518

On top of the expenses related to damaging/closing the track, there is also the cost of repairing your car. That is why you should always purchase track day insurance when driving the Nürburgring. MORIS.co.uk provides accident damage cover for your car (whether your fault or not) while on a Nürburgring track day/public day. Nevertheless, we do not provide third-party insurance for Nürburgring.

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Why Is the Nürburgring Nordschleife So Dangerous?

The Nürburgring Nordschleife is a circuit built in 1927. By its very nature, the track doesn't allow the necessary modifications needed to bring it to modern safety standards. The Ring is an unforgiving place. It was deemed too dangerous for competitive motorsport due to its many corners, limited visibility, and little run-off area. Furthermore, the Nürburgring has an extremely steep elevation change. It rises from 320m above sea level up to 620m.

The Nürburgring is 20.8 km-long which makes it very hard to have marshals over the entire circuit. When considering the track's sheer length, driving here requires due diligence. Certain parts of the track are very dangerous. An example is the Flugplatz section of the circuit, where cars going airborne is not uncommon.

The track also features rapidly changing weather, variable surfaces, and a very long straight where top speeds can be reached. To make sure you fully understand the risks associated to driving on the Ring, we recommend you to read "A Warning" by Ben Lovejoy.

Can Anyone Drive on the Nürburgring?

Yes, everyone who is over 18 and has a valid driving licence can drive the Nürburgring on a public session (Touristenfahrten). Public sessions are available on both the Nürburgring Nordschleife and Nürburgring Grand Prix Track. Any road-legal vehicle can be seen lapping the circuit on a weekend.

If you want to drive the Nürburgring on a track day, you need to pre-register and pay an entry fee.

Where Can I Buy Nürburgring Track Day Insurance?

MORIS.co.uk provides Nürburgring Track Day Insurance. Our track day insurance policy is designed to cover your car in the event you have an accident on the circuit, or another participant causes damage to your car. Please note that we do not offer third-party damage.

Cars Under £40k
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Cars Over £40k & Multi Day
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