Nordschleife

Race around the Nordschleife

Photo: Martin Datzinger

Martin Stucky has devoted himself to the Nordschleife, one of the craziest racing circuits. Here, the Swiss instructor reveals some of his tips

The Nürburgring Nordschleife is a former Grand Prix circuit in the mountains of Germany nicknamed “the Green Hell.” Stucky, a driving coach for Scuderia S7, has sped through the 13-mile loop at least 25,000 times in his career and taught thousands of novices how to master the 73 corners of this roller-coaster of a course.
 
“Do you really want this?” he asks his pupils on the first day. “The Nordschleife is a drug. Anyone who goes out there with us now will never get it out of their system.” 

Of course they all want it, otherwise they wouldn’t have paid $3,000 for a two-day intensive training course, which doesn’t include the car. “It’s cheaper than bodywork damage, anyway,” says one eagerly renewed student driver as he hops into his 740 hp Ferrari F12.

On the first day, the driving experts at Scuderia S7 divide the track into six sections to make it more manageable. Small groups of student cars follow the instructor’s car through each two-mile section. They do this over and over again until they’ve got the line right. 

Nordschleife

© Martin Datzinger

This is hard, precise brain work. If you don’t think far enough ahead or you’re even a little bit careless, you’re going to have problems a couple of corners in front of you. But if you follow the pro’s instructions as he guides you over the radio, then even those nasty sections—the ones where your eyes nearly pop out and your brain fights the decision to keep your foot to the floor—will pass without a hitch.

“The less you steer, the more smoothly you’ll go about your business,” explains Friedhelm Mihm, another Scuderia S7 instructor. “That means you’ll be more relaxed, secure and move quicker round the track. You have to think ahead and connect points with the greatest curve possible. That obviously applies here at the Nordschleife, but it applies when you’re driving in regular traffic, too.”
 
Mihm’s advice is tested on day two, when it’s time for the newly trained drivers to apply what they’ve learned in practice and drive the entire length of the track solo. On the track’s most legendary sections­, some of the drivers in more powerful cars come up short against the Opel Corsa OPC, a German mini car that generates just 207 hp. As is so often the case, all that brawn is of no use if the mind is weak—or you weren’t paying enough attention the day before. 

By the end, everyone is hooked, just as Stucky predicted. As soon as the drivers finish the loop, they’re already booking their next trip to Hell. 

Nordschleife

Devoted to Hell: Once they’ve had a taste of Nordschleife’s thrills, many drivers come back for more.

© Martin Datzinger

THE INSIDER

Expect the unexpected. The Nordschleife is notorious for its rapidly changing weather over the course of its 13 miles. you could get perfect blue skies, thick fog or light rain.

let’s go: What you need to do to prepare for Hell

Read more
04 2016 The Red Bulletin

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