Despite its significant links with the auto industry and the world of motorsports, the Nürburgring race track is in severe financial distress, with news coming overnight that its private operator has filed for bankruptcy. The track itself is owned by the German government, with the private operator, Nürburgring GmbH, responsible for the day-to-day running.

The bankruptcy announcement was made during a press conference in the German city of Mainz, attended by Nürburgring GmbH's senior management and state governor for the Rhineland-Palatinate area Kurt Beck.

The grim news comes just a day after we reported that a bailout proposal had been blocked by the European Commission on the grounds that it would constitute illegal state aid. 

Though the Nürburgring is busy throughout the year, a costly attempt to expand the site with a new entertainment center and roller coaster, which has proven unpopular with tourists, has seen the debt levels of the track’s operator soar.

Nürburgring GmbH owes around 400 million euros (approximately $490 million) to a Rhineland-Palatinate bank, which it reportedly was unable to service.

The operations for the rest of the year are expected to go on as planned, though no one knows what will happen beyond that. In a statement, Nürburgring GmbH said the jobs and salaries of its employees were safe for now and that it was seeking new investors or even a potential buyer for the business.