Aidan Millward tries to understand the ‘fatal’ attraction sim racers have with the daunting Nordschleife, a track that has been part of the simracing landscape since its release with the god-father of all sims – Grand Prix Legends by Papyrus/ Sierra back in 1998 – and has since appeared on all main sim titles.
In the pretext Aidan says: “It’s the track everyone wants in every sim: A laser scanned Nordschleife. Is it really the best track in the world or has over-saturation made it just another track? Or is it better in real life?”
A Myth is Born
No less a person than Rudolf Caracciola won the first car race on the new racetrack on 19 June 1927 in the compressor Mercedes. This marked the beginning of a very special relationship between the pilots and the originally 172 bends with such harmless names as Aremberg, Fuchsröhre or Kesselchen.
“Difficult to drive, easy to die” …
… was how world champion Jochen Rindt assessed the incomparable challenge, and racing driving legend Jackie Stewart unintentionally gave the Ring its current name when he called it the “Green Hell”.
The Green Hell Legend
Since its construction (1925 – 1927), the Nordschleife has enjoyed a reputation as a terrifying and merciless route through the Eifel forests. An English journalist who visited the Nordschleife during the opening race on 18 June 1927 even concluded: “that it seemed as if a reeling, drunken giant had been sent out to determine the route”.
The Formula 1 driver Sir John Young Jackie Stewart – after all a three-time world champion in 1969, 1971 and 1973 – was so impressed by the circuit that he gave it the name which it will probably never lose: Green Hell (Grüne Hölle).
Racing and winning on the Nordschleife has always been very special for racing drivers because the track is one of the most demanding in the world. Tricky corners, treacherous crests, steep inclines and gradients and constantly changing road surfaces demand great skill from the driver and put vehicles to a hard test.
The best-known event today is the ADAC TOTAL 24-hour race, which is held on both the Nordschleife and the Grand Prix circuit and which for four days transforms the entire circuit into a huge spectacle. Up to 800 amateurs and professionals in up to 200 cars take part in this race.