Homage to the Nordschleife


As long as you’ve got wheels and a license, it’s open to you. Yes, you. But careful. You still have to play by the rules. For me, the car park at the Nordschliefe is as mad as the track. All petrolhead life is here, from the Vauxhall Corsas of boys who’ve just passed their tests to the Porsche 911GT3s of the bankers and brokers whose means eclipse their abilities. Get talking to the blokes with the ratty—looking old hot hatches and 3-series BMWs with the stripped-out cabins, bigger brakes and sticky tyres; these are the real ‘Ring-weapons, and some advice from their drivers on lines and entry speeds might keep you out of the Armco at €500 per metre. Best car park sight ever? Belgian guy strapping his toddler children into their child seats in the back of his Audi RS4 and putting their cycling helmets on, before donning full Nomex himself and taking them for their first lap of the Green Hell. Mad.

Germany’s first international-standard, permanent racing circuit opened on June 18th 1927 and had required a grant of 14.1 million Reichsmarks to build and a construction team of 2500 to squeeze in the course’s 174 punishing corners (84 right-handers and 88 left).

Since its opening, the Nordscheife has been open to anyone with a road-legal car or motorbike (with a noise limit of 95 dB) for “touristehnfahrten”. This takes place over a shortened 13-mile track. There are no general speed limits, though certain sections have restrictions to reduce noise and hazard. The track is heavily monitored by police helicopters to ensure that everyone has fun in moderation. In addition, any crashed vehicle is checked for stopwatches or other time keeping devices, which, if found, can render a drivers insurance void.

The beginning of the ‘ring’s history was full of the success stories of German car companies; of the 11 Grand Prix held, Mercedes had taken 6, Auto Union 4 and a single victory to Bugatti in 1929 (though, it would seem that this anomaly has been corrected in more recent times with the handing over of Bugatti to Volkswagon). The ultimate non-German win came in 1935 to Tazio Nuvolari and his three-year-old, 3.2 litre Alfa Romeo P3 infront of a crowd of 300 000 dismayed Germans, including Adolf Hitler. Mercedes and Auto Union had ploughed time and money into taking weight off of the bodywork off their vehicles in order to put in bigger engines. After a mixed race of biased pit stops and ballsy driving from Nuvolari, he found himself overtaking Manfred von Brauchitsch due to a burst tyre to take first position. Fortunately, Nuvolari was able to give the organisers a copy of the Italian anthem to play as he took his laurels; in their over confidence they had not thought to have any anthem other than Germany’s ready to play.

ALPINA B6 GT3 – 24H of Nürburgring from Clashproduction on Youtube.

Though the ring has been the scene of many an epic clash, the balls-out, hair racing character of a typical day at the Nordschleife can be summed up in this epic clash between a 911 GT3 and a Dodge Viper. Note the plethora of 3 series and hot hatches (as well a one pesky Lambo) that conspires against the Viper pilot to exploit the advantage of his straight line speed.

This is the essence of thrashing fun. Long live the Nurburgring!


8 Responses to “Homage to the Nordschleife”

  1. andyburton

    I'm a bit confused – does this mean Adrian Flux endorse and allow their customers to drive around the Nurburgring with full European insurance as per their comprehensive cover?

  2. Hi Andy,

    Most UK insurers are reluctant to offer comprehensive cover on the Ring,
    however we are able to recommend a couple of companies who offer very
    reasonable cover on a single day basis, and which, I believe, you can even
    buy on your way into the Nordschleife. The Flux quotes team have the details
    – you can call them on 0800 089 0050,


    2009/11/20 Disqus <>

  3. andyburton

    Hi David,

    Thank you for your reply. Can you confirm that these insurers offer 3rd party liability insurance, which is the biggest concern if you were to have an accident on the Nurburgring, rather than just first party cover for your own car?

    Also, can you comment on why your policies exclude any cover of the Nurburgring, even during the infamous touristenfahrten sessions when it is considered a public toll road by the local authorities?

    UK insurance policies have a legal requirement to provide the minimum cover required by law in other EU countries, or the minimum cover required by UK law if that is greater.

    Should this infact not mean that your car is covered for 3rd party liability as standard if driving round the Nurburgring during a touristenfahrten session?

    The Nurburgring really is pretty special though, anyone who is into their cars or motorsport needs to go, at least once in their lifetime.


  4. Under the EU rules on Insurance. An insurance group has to provide a minimum of 3rd party coverage on EU roads. Under German law the 'ring (on tourist days at least) is classed as a one way toll road. i.e. Its a regular road and as a result 3rd party insurance is required. The ring is not technically de-restricted. The section near Adeanu Bridge has a speed limit. I believe this is the way the operators prove to the German authorities it is not being used as a race track.

    Unlike EVERY other EU nation. It seems that 99.99% of UK insurers believe that they can “opt out” of thier EU wide Legal obligation to cover 3rd parties. They believe that by stating “not for use on a race track” that this exempts them. This is not the case legally. Especially as it would rule out driving the Isle Of Man TT circuit at a time when it was not being used for the races. Or more ridiculously driving parts of Monaco's F1 track.

    What would be ideal, would be if Insurance companies would agree to cover 3rd parties at the Nurburgring. I believe many enthusiasts would accept that crashing there would be at their loss. But if that same driver had an accident involving a serious injury the consequneces don't bear thinking about.

    However, I fear it's going to take a major accident by a UK driver, and an insurance company refusing to cover the costs. Followed by a test case in the courts to enforce that insurers provide the correct level of cover.

    Maybe Adrian Flux would like to comment below on their opinions and plans for the future.

  5. Hi Andy,

    I can't comment on the products offered by other companies, unfortunately,
    there are a couple of names that the quotes staff will be able to recommend
    to you if you give Adrian Flux a call.

    Adrian Flux is a broker, and as such, the exclusions will vary depending on
    which insurer you are with. Some policies exclude it (often using wording
    such as 'de-restricted toll roads') and others don't.

    All insurance policies are required by law to pay for Third Party losses
    caused by the insured party. This is enshrined in the Road Traffic Act, BUT,
    and this is a massive but, you cannot assume that means you are covered.
    Many policies (and I am talking generally) contain a clause saying something
    to the effect that “If XYZ insurer is obligated to meet a claim it would
    otherwise not pay, then XYZ insurance co may reclaim the settlement costs
    from the insured.” This clause covers the insurance company on a number of
    fronts, including where the insured party has obtained cover under false
    pretences. But some insurance companies are also applying this clause to
    claims from the 'Ring, and the Ombudsman has so far come down on their side.

    Taking all this into account, it is essential that you make sure you have
    adequate cover in place, and obtain day cover for your Touristenfahrten

    As I said, Adrian Flux can give you advice on this and recommend a couple of
    companies, depending on your situation, so please do ask our quotes team if
    you need to (and they all know a lot more about this than I do!)


    2009/11/21 Disqus <>

  6. Hi Sparrow,

    I hope my reply to Andy answers your points to some degree.

    I agree it is frustrating that there isn't a standard line from the insurers
    on this, and it can be hard to know where you stand, but the Nurburgring is
    an exceptional case by any measure.

    Obviously, the insurance companies decide their own policy wordings and how
    they choose to apply them. Some choose to exclude the Nordschleife, but
    others don't.

    As I mentioned, above, there have been cases where the insurance company has
    paid out on a third party claim and then attempted to recover their costs
    from their customer. Currently the Ombudsman has supported the insurers
    arguments, although this is still subject to appeal.

    I'm afraid we shall probably see court cases before long, but I am not as
    confident as you that a judgement would be in favour of the consumer.

    If you're planning to go to the 'Ring, give the Flux quotes line and discuss
    your situation – the last thing anyone wants is a major accident without
    adequate cover in place.


    2009/11/21 Disqus <>

  7. andyburton

    Thanks David.

    When i went across in April and July this year i was told on both occasions, after lengthy phone calls, that there was categorically no insurance company on the Adrian Flux books that would provide me with 3rd party insurance on the Nurburgring on even a temporary basis and regardless of cost – so i certainly hope things have changed

    Again, many thanks for your time to reply to these questions, and brilliant article =D

  8. Hi Andy,

    I don't deal with insurance matters on a day to day basis, so definitely
    speak to the quotes team if you want to get the lowdown on any of this.

    We know that a lot of customers are interested in this, and Flux do try to
    help, even if it means giving you details of another company, and if we hear
    about new services we do pass them on to customers who might benefit.

    2009/11/23 Disqus <>