The saga of the financial debacle surrounding Germany’s storied Nürburgring circuit has been been going on for years. In 2010, it was made (very) public by ‘Ring Meister Sabine Schmitz, working on behalf of a group called “Save The Ring.”

While the group has been effective in raising awareness of the problem, that hasn't necessarily translated into needed economic aid or political support.

Now, according to a report in the Rhein Zeitung, time has run out and the Nürburgring is facing bankruptcy. A deal to request emergency funding from the European Commission has been denied on the grounds that it would constitute “illegal state aid.”  The next step, apparently, is to appoint a receiver for the holding company that had controlled the ‘Ring.

While the 2012 season is expected to go on as planned, no one knows what will happen beyond that. To pay creditors, the Rhein Zeitung alleges that the Nürburgring must be sold, either in whole or in part, as part of the liquidation process.

We can’t begin to speculate on the next steps, since the politics and complexity of the Nürburgring’s operations and financial difficulties are staggering.

Unless a benefactor is willing to step up to the plate, this much is all but certain: the days of nearly unrestricted access to one of the world’s great racetracks will soon be coming to an end.