If you asked internet car enthusiasts to describe heaven, a good chunk of them would probably end up telling you about the Nurburgring Nordschleife. A nearly 13-mile track with 154 curves carved into Germany’s Eifel mountains, The Green Hell is one of the most fearsome, bewitching tracks on the face of the earth.
While a little bit of Nurburging track day footage from far back decades exists, things started heating up in the 1990s. If you were middle-class in the 1990s, you probably had a family camcorder, and if you were German and middle-class, your camcorder might’ve ended up at the Nurburgring during Touristenfahrten, the public days when anyone can drive around the track. So, let’s see what this camcorder operator captured.
Straight away, there’s a whole lot less carnage in this video than there is in one popular ’60s cut of Nordschleife public lapping. Shoutout to modern suspension and improved car and track safety for that. What’s more, instead of binning it like many popular Nurburgring fail compilations from the mobile phone era, these drivers find a way to stay out of the Armco. While it’s possible that drivers were better back then, cars were also a lot slower and it’s generally easier to keep the shiny side up when you have less momentum.
The driver of this Porsche 993 found themselves on the wrong side of adhesion, which given the fearsome reputation of 911s and the fact that this was a very quick car in 1995, could’ve ended badly. Instead, the driver has a slight off into the grass as they collect the slide, then they carry on their merry way. No harm, no foul, just the way we like to see it.
Of course, slower cars aren’t immune to wobbly moments either. Check out this tastefully-modified Beetle having a proper spin. Since it’s a Beetle, the spin isn’t a particularly high-speed one, so it doesn’t end up going pear-shaped.
Oh, and let’s not forget bikes. Our resident professional designer Adrian Clarke reckons that many of these motorcyclists could’ve made the corner with a bit more lean, and I agree. However, none of these offs result in high-siding or low-siding of bikes. Most just cut the corner and safely rejoin on the next straight.
In fact, the worst incident in this video is a Mazda 626 Coupe throwing a hubcap and de-beading a tire. The driver manages to limp it to the nearest recovery point, where it’s eventually rescued by a flatbed. There are far worse ways to end a track day, so chucking on a spare and going home sounds alright to me.
The variety of tin on display is incredible. A Ferrari 348, a Ford Sierra Sapphire, an Opel Calibra on a marvelous set of tri-spoke wheels, a bright yellow Alfa Romeo GTV, and the obligatory litany of Golfs. The GTV is particularly worth checking out because I thought for sure its loss of traction would end in a crash, yet it miraculously stays intact.
Maybe it’s the insane state of the collector car market, but something about this video makes me misty-eyed for the days when Mk1 Golfs were just used cars and Porsche 911s actually depreciated. Sure, nostalgia is a cheap party drug, but it’s fun to indulge in once in a while. Oh, and it’s wonderful to see people actually using their now old-school performance cars as intended on the Nurburgring. Track days are fun, you know?
(Photo credits: Frightened Fred)
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FWIW, there’s a longer vintage ‘Ring compilation I found years ago that’s a well over an hour’s worth of madness: https://www.thedrive.com/news/36695/enjoy-20-years-of-nrburgring-wipeouts-in-one-incredible-mega-compilation
Looks like it’s from the same YouTube poster, too. I love this stuff. Always fun to see what my favorite place on earth looked like back in the day.
This is a great vintage compilation, but for my money there is not much more entertaining than watching a bunch of Polish lunatics beat the living snot out of the 126p on rural roads.
Ah yes, the race of the whoopee cushions.
I loved driving the ‘ring. No matter what I was driving, it was fun. It was humbling to imagine the real pros hauling serious ass around it at impossible speeds. Talent and guts like you can’t believe.
Sweet memories, always worth a visit. Very popular to entertain visitors, visit the many accessible viewing areas and there are good restaurants nearby. Choose the terrace, because eventually every tracked car has to go by, lots of great soundtracks to enjoy during your meal.
Now if you like more insanity, look for videos on hill climb events, the most insane is the St. Ursanne, you’ll be flabbergasted by the speed readings on the panel at the side of the road.
At first glance I thought that VW station wagon was a Chevy Celebrity.
lol me too
Those tri-spokes stood out to me most of all.
BTW, the last ad is still screwing up the list of related stories.
After I saw the first set of thee spokes, I was desperately hoping to see someone running Ronal Teddy Bears.
Touristanfahrten? Doesnt that translate to English as Tourist farting? Sounds like an English village.
But really no rules for if you slide off the road stop, look, and listen before pulling out again?
I still laugh every time I see “fahrt” on signs, though. Every exit off the Autobahn is an “Ausfahrt.” Fahrt fahrt fahrt. Basically me after eating a pizza.
There is a handful of pretty cars doing fun things in that clip. Thanks for sharing it
I have been many times but since the YouTube era and the constant publicity the Nordschleife has it is often very crowded for Touiristenfahrten so that lineups are sometimes long. Avoid the weekends, or better still, do a dedicated track day when the track is closed except for participants.
There are some superb drivers and then there are some who are going to make mistakes; most of the accidents do not result in serious injuries. There is a new camera system being installed over the next two years that will allow 100% surveillance on the track which means that they can dispatch people to an accident much quicker than previously.
It is still the greatest track on earth.
I often get lost in Nurburgring super cuts and wavy boats inlet channel insanity, it makes for great background noise as work from home gets dull.
Blue Top Legend!
Could someone tell me what the yellow car on the thumbnail and in the first video is? i really want one now.
at first, I thought it was a Lambo jemera but no dice.
Looks like an Alfa Romeo GTV to me.
Lucky for you, I think these are still pretty attainable.
I think the GTI at 4:05 has a bent axle, but it’s amazing the lack of damage from these overall.
So many bikes cutting across the grass, and cars too, there must be a challenging transition there. It looks like every bike should have been able to make the turn, but it might be whatever they were coming out of that resulted in missing this turn.
If it’s the section I believe it is, you come in hot starting from a sweeping left uphill, then a long right, before a heavy braking zone just before you make the quick left/right transition where everyone is going off in the video. It doesn’t help that there is a small incline, making it hard to see where the hard left actually starts. If you’ve never driven the track before, you’re bound to go off there.
IIRC the section is called Adenauer Forst, here’s the coordinates 50.366440319734735, 6.931544813588078
Completely forgotton how great the Opel Calibra looked!
And NOBODY is going to call out the lifted CJ-7 just casually out on the track at 31 seconds in?!