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The Nürburgring Is Finally Getting Fixed

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Few religions entirely abstain from describing a higher, better condition after death. There’s the heaven of Islam or Christianity that meets believers in the afterlife. In the Dharmic faiths, it’s often a nirvana that frees one from constantly respawning in this early realm. I have my own beliefs about what happens next, but for now, I can say with some authority that heaven on this mortal plane looks a lot like the Nürburgring if you’re a car enthusiast. And they’re fixing it!

We’re going to talk about that, we’re also going to talk about Renault-Nissan, and I guess we’re going to talk about Russia.

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Fix The ‘Ring!


The Nürburgring is an anachronism. It’s a thing that should not exist. It’s a “public road” that’s really a race track and you can race anything there. They do automaker testing which means that, if you’re hanging out, you might see the next-gen 911 Hybrid fly-by followed by a Ford Transit van and a vintage Skoda. The place is bonkers. The Nürburgring 24 is also, in my humble opinion, the most fun of the big endurance races.


It’s also deeply sketch. There’s only so much you can do to make a “public road” with no speed limit, 154 turns, and cars of various capabilities with drivers of various experience levels safe. The video above is a compilation of crashes just from last year! There are tons of these videos and they range from amusing to scary and dangerous.

Perhaps it’s not obvious if you’ve never been there, but the track isn’t wide (it’s more than 20 km long, though) and there are a ton of blind corners, so one accident can become multiple incidents quickly. The great news is that the ‘Ring is finally getting an upgrade. As reported by Motor 1:

The Nurburgring is set to undergo a major digital upgrade. A total of €11 million (£9.7 million) is being invested by the Nurburgring operating company to improve vehicle safety and bring the track into the future.

The comprehensive upgrade will benefit all users of the track, including private drivers during tourist drive sessions, test drivers in the Industry Pool, and racing drivers during various events. The new infrastructure, set to be operational by 2025, will use camera technology and artificial intelligence to monitor the entire 13-mile (21-kilometre) race track.

I talked to racer, Nürburgring 24 class winner, Autopian superfriend, and sometimes track resident Robb Holland about the changes.

He called the upgrades “The most needed upgrade to the track.” Here’s what he said:

“It will make marshaling easier and more efficient, not only for the races like the [racing series] and 24-hour, but really for the tourist sessions. That was always my biggest fear running the tourist sessions: coming across an accident around a blind corner at full throttle, because I didn’t know it was there. And with the Nurburgring corners being so narrow, pretty much every accident blocks the track. Now, with a digital system, the number of big multi car crashes there should go down dramatically.”

Also, this allows me the opportunity to show the video he did where he hunts down and passes Ferraris and the like in a tuned Focus RS:



We’re always, like, one bus full of nuns crashing away from them shutting the place down to the public so I’m glad to see this happening.

Those Crazy Nissan-Renault Kids Are Gonna Be Ok, Maybe


Imagine you’re on a disabled spaceship that’s heading toward a black hole. You’re near the event horizon and you’re about to be pulled into a million pieces and probably die a horrible death. You’re also bleeding from a pretty serious gash on your arm. If you pass out, you’re not gonna make it to the one escape pod that’s left.


The good news is there’s a sentient boa constrictor also stuck on the ship. The problem for the boa constrictor is it can’t operate the escape pod because it doesn’t have arms and therefore it is doomed. (Editor’s note: I feel like The Morning Dump could’ve been published an hour ago without this stuff, but sure, go on, Matt. Tell us more about your magical space snake. –PG)

The boa constrictor makes an offer: She’ll wrap around your arm as a sort of makeshift tourniquet so you don’t die and you’ll pilot the escape pod to safety. This is a weird bargain. The snake’s basically going to have to sit on your bloody arm and you’re going to have to walk around with a snake on your arm for a bit. Still, beats dying. This is, in many ways, how the Nissan-Renault alliance started. Things were good for a while (I guess Carlos Ghosn is the escape pod in this scenario?), but something has to change.

I guess now is better than never. According to Reuters, the revised alliance will be announced on February 6th. They’re short on details, but Bloomberg has some more tidbits in their story:

The partners are set to work on five projects initially, people familiar with the situation said. One of them involves India, where the companies operate a plant in Chennai making small cars, engines and gearboxes, and another joint work on commercial vehicles, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans are not yet public.

The desire to agree on fresh common projects as part of the three-way pact, also including junior partner Mitsubishi Motors, signals the companies see a joint future for the alliance that had to be pieced together again after 2018’s arrest of former leader Carlos Ghosn.

Right! Mitsubishi is… uh… a talking droid that shows up in the middle of space they let hitchhike for a while, I guess?

Ukraine’s Getting Tanks, Russia’s Getting Lada Niva Vans

Lada Niva Legend


It’s no hot take to say the illegal invasion of Ukraine by Russia is bad and the Russian state is basically a death cult propping up one increasingly paranoid and careless tyrant who is slowly killing off countless men, women and children for no good reason. But hey, check out these Niva Legends!

With the exodus of carmakers hitting Russia at a time when it’s difficult to import parts due to being a global pariah, the company has been forced to rebuild Soviet-era trucks. Now they’re turning those into vans, at least according to Carscoops.

The most important modification on the LCVs is the stronger frame which allows for greater cargo-carrying capabilities. Lada engineers applied similar reinforcements to those found in Niva-based fire trucks and rescue vehicles. Thus, the load capacity of the commercial vehicles is now ranging between 640 kg (1,411 pounds) and 800 kg (1,764 pounds), representing an increase of up to 185 kg (407 pounds) compared to the previous versions.

I’m not going to lie. These things look awesome. Hopefully, this war ends soon so these don’t just end up carrying the bodies of dead mobilized soldiers back to their grieving families in Buryatia.

Tata Stopped Porsche From Calling The 911 Dakar The 911 Safari

DakarIndia’s Tata Motors is why the 911 Dakar is called the 911 Dakar and not the 911 Safari, at least according to this report from Edmunds:

Porsche first began development in 2012 for the previous-generation 911. At that time, Krickelberg explained, the plan was to call it the 911 Safari, a name that carries its own history. Safari-style vehicles refer to sports cars with beefed up tires, suspension and armor to handle the rigors of off-roading. The company developed a working prototype called the 911 Vision Safari to tease a production model.

But there was a problem. The rights to the name Safari, at least when referring to automobiles, belongs to Tata Motors — parent company of Jaguar and Land Rover, among other marques. The Indian automaker has been building its Safari midsize SUV for select global markets since 1998. And it was not about to lend Porsche a helping hand.

“We talked to them,” Krickelberg said. “But they didn’t give us permission for that. That was Option A. And then we switched to Dakar.”

Dakar is a great name. I have no problems with it. Safari is probably better, but it’s fine. This is deeply amusing to me, though.


The Whatever

Have you ever been to the ‘Ring? Was it awesome? Tell me about it. If you’ve never been, what’s your dream car to drive there?

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1 year ago

Never knew I would be amused so much by a comparison between automotive CEO’s adventures and space snakes. Fantastic piece of writing there.

Went the first time to the Ring in ’20, alas in a company car so couldn’t go onto the track. But the atmosphere surrounding it was incredible.

1 year ago

It sound like BS on the Dakar story. Porsche could have claimed the trademark was invalid could have talked to GM about the Pontiac Safari wagon or Citroen about the Safari wagon and nicely told the Tata lawyers to pound tea.

As for Dakar there’s all kinds of stuff named that, it’s almost as used as Furrari.

1 year ago

“Mitsubishi is… uh… a talking droid…”

i wonder if they dig snakes, do you have their number?

1 year ago

From the video: A Trans Am?! Really?

Ronan McGrath
Ronan McGrath
1 year ago

I have been to the Ring many times with a variety of cars. I have no problem with electronic marshalling but I would hate to see the track widened till it is neutered. You go there with your eyes open and there is some danger for sure, but it is a unique experience. Tourist days on weekends are madness, and the web has made the place too popular. There are also dedicated track days when you have a lot more space. I crashed there many years ago and am aware of the danger but would hate to change it.

The great bonus is that the Ring is very close to Spa, a much faster track which has full electronic monitoring. On track days there are fewer accidents but because of the much higher speeds they are often worse. Well worth as visit. I never miss it when I go to the Nürburgring.

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