Porsche at the 2011 Nurburgring 24 Hours
Not only is the Nürburgring Nordschleife one of the most famous racing circuits in the world (and a mecca for driving enthusiasts), but the track is beloved by automakers for sports car development and testing. Simply put, no other track in the world can generate that much data per lap.
While a sale of the facility seemed inevitable, most fans tried to block a future without club races and “tourist drives” from their minds. Now comes word from Autoweek that the track is indeed for sale, in the hands of a state-appointed liquidator.
If that’s the bad news, here’s the good news: as Autocar reports, there are requirements behind the sale. First and foremost, the buyer must agree to maintain access to the general public, though it doesn’t necessarily mandate tourist drives. It’s possible, if not entirely likely, that access could be restricted to spectators.
The intent of the requirements is to prohibit potential (wealthy) buyers from turning the ‘Ring into their own private playground or high-dollar motorsport country club. While club sport events reportedly don’t generate much income, tourist drives do, so any potential owner would be foolish to end this tradition.
We’d expect automakers to have a say in the matter as well, since virtually all major brands do a serious amount of development work at the Nürburgring. Losing access to the track would present a significant obstacle to future sports car development and testing.
The track’s asking price (reportedly including hotels and the ill-conceived amusement park) is said to be in the neighborhood of $152 million, meaning that any potential buyer will soon seek ways to maximize their return on investment. Even in a best-case scenario, where the track remains as unrestricted as it is today, expect to see prices for all events go up.