Contemporary Formula 1 machinery returned to the Nurburgring Nordschleife for the first time in 31 years today, as Nick Heidfeld demonstrated his BMW Sauber F1.06 around the legendary 20.8km track.
The German was instructed to slow for photographic purposes several times on each of his three laps of the track, so his 8m34s lap time was not representative of a modern F1 car's potential on the circuit.
But apart from using harder tyres and an increased ride height, the F1.06 was in full race specification.
"This drive was simply incredible," said Heidfeld. "I thought it would be great to drive on the Nordschleife before I started out. But it was even better than I had expected.
"This racing track is the best in the world. I'd really like to have emptied the tank. It was a very special moment when I left the grand prix circuit in the direction of the Nordschleife."
Heidfeld achieved a top speed of 275 km/h on the long Dottinger Hohe straight.
"I was really shaken up at the Bergwerk section and on the Dottinger Hohe," he said.
"I'll never forget today as long as I live. Another particularly special experience has now joined the many fantastic childhood memories and racing successes."
Team boss Mario Theissen reiterated that the event had always been intended as a 'tribute' to the legendary track rather than an attempt to set a new lap record..
"We had implored him to be careful," said Theissen.
"The day was a homage to the fans and to this unique circuit in the world of racing. For once, the lap times were a secondary consideration."