The Nurburgring Nordschleife: A beginner's guide

Welcome to the Nurburgring. The fabled track where cars become legends, the brave become heroes and the stupid become a crash statistic

The Nurburgring Nordschleife: A beginner's guide

Dubbed 'The Green Hell' by Formula 1 driver Jackie Stewart, the Nurburgring is arguably the world's most notorious track - it has 12.9 miles of undulating asphalt and contains over 120 corners, each with its own complex signature.

What are the things you to need to know about driving at the Nurburgring?

Learn the track

Originally opened in 1927, it is a product of its time. Put simply, there isn't much space between you and the barrier. Doing some homework before going will help you no end.

YouTube is your friend. Study a few videos and get learning. A good simulator game is a helpful way to memorise the bends, but don't take its references as gospel. No simulation can truly show the steep changes in elevation that exist in the real world.

Take it easy

Your virgin lap of the Nurburgring should be tackled in the same way as a challenging country road. Enjoy it, drive at a pace you are comfortable with, but be sensible. You aren't going to set a lap record on day one. Nor should you try.

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If you forget which corner comes next, you'll crash. If you find yourself steaming into a bend too quickly, you'll crash. If you think that you know everything about the track because you have played Gran Turismo, guess what... You win a starring roll in a crash video montage. Play it safe.

You could be the world's most competent driver, but you don't know what is lurking around the next bend. Keep that in mind.

Have eyes in the back of your head

While managing the car and navigating the track, a host of faster machines driven by Nordschleife addicts and specialists will be looking to get past.

Use your mirrors to keep track of that eager Porsche 911 and afford it space when it is safe to do so. Move over to the right (you should only overtake on the left) and let it through.

Lapping the Nurburgring is a physical and mental battle. The sheer amount of concentration required is more than any other track and its intense changes of direction may exhaust newcomers. Do your lap, then come in to absorb the experience.

Don't try to keep up with the locals

No matter how potent your car, an experienced local in a tatty Volkswagen Golf will make mincemeat of you. This is because it takes years to properly learn this unique track and they have spent the time needed to soak up its complexities.

It's your first time at the Nurburgring. Don't let your defining memory be one of ploughing into the back of another car or understeering into a barrier.

Bring your credit card

It would be wise to bring a healthy credit card with you. Not just because it will cost you over £22 a lap, but in case you have a little accident.

If you have the misfortune of meeting a barrier you will need to pay £28 per metre to replace it. Doesn't sound too bad? That doesn't include removal of the old barrier, replacement posts, safety car or a recovery truck. Oh, and you will be charged £1,200 for every hour the track is shut while repairs take place.

Enjoy it

While much of the above serves as a warning to the uninitiated, don't forget to enjoy yourself.

The Nurburgring is a very special place. This automotive Mecca draws enthusiasts from all over the world. History is woven into the fabric of this place and its iconic landmarks will send a tingle down the spine of any enthusiast.

Its atmosphere is also something to be celebrated. All of the world's car nuts congregate in the car park for friendly chats and stories of their latest adventures. There is a sense of community with everyone willing to lend a hand if your car begins to misbehave.

In a world where you will soon have to wear a luminescent safety jacket every time you step outside, the Nurburgring is a very rare thing. Savour it.

This article originally appeared on Motor1.com

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