Nordschleife Spectating/Photography Guide
The Nurburgring Nordschleife is so vast that a completely exhaustive guide of where to watch would be no easy feat. Instead, what follows is a rundown of the best the circuit has to offer. In general, once out on the Nordschleife, viewing opportunities are better than anywhere in Europe. Despite the raising of catch fencing around a large portion of the track for the start of the 2008 season there are still many places to get a good vantage point above the cars. There are a number of designated spectator areas that cover the majority of the interesting parts of the circuit. During the 24 Hours event most o f the spectator areas double up as temporary camping grounds. Look for the icons at the start of each section that depict camping, spectating or both. Entry to all the spectator/camping grounds on foot will be permitted on production of an Event ticket. However, to gain access with a vehicle will require the purchase of a camping permit for every person in the vehicle. These can be purchased ‘on the gate’ and are priced according to the number of days you wish to stay.
It is worth considering that with a little endeavour it is in fact possible to walk/cycle between the various enclosures and indeed around the entire Nordschleife. The trails between the enclosures are not really meant for spectating so be prepared to move on if the marshals spot you lingering.
Nurburgring Grand Prix Circuit
When compared to the Nordschleife the GP circuit looks inevitably tame. The gradient changes and the overall track layout are indeed far less dramatic but there are still a couple of areas worth visiting. The pit straight at the start of the 24 Hours race has to be seen to be believed. The general public invade the grid and pitlane in their thousands much to the annoyance of some of the teams going through their final checks! Once the racing gets going the Castrol S, the first corner, is worth a look. It incorporates a heavy braking zone at the end of the long pit straight and it is not uncommon to see some bold moves under deceleration or a driver outbraking himself and taking a trip into the gravel. The latter is especially true after the end of an endurance race when the brakes may be close to giving up altogether!
At the end of the GP circuit the cars filter onto the Nurburgring Nordschleife. The first test is the tight left hander of T13. The corner is, perhaps surprisingly, the highest point on the circuit but at the turn in point the track begins a steady decline down to Hatzenbach. A fast right kink precedes the Hatzenbach complex, a series of sweeping bends that offer little in the way of overtaking. Traffic and ‘racing incidents’ are common here! Exiting the final Hatzenbach turn, the track follows a short incline up to the right-left of Hocheichen. The gradient falls away sharply through Hocheichen, underlining it as one of the more visually impressive corners on the circuit. The infield viewing enclosure follows the circuit all the way from T13 down to the exit of Hochechein. Favoured spots include the exit of the final Hatzenbach turn (unimpeded views of the four corner complex) and also the bottom of the hill at the exit of Hocheichen. The latter benefits from a scaffold tower that rises up above the catch fencing and 15 m further down the hill can be found a cut out in the fencing for the purpose of taking photographs. It provides a clear line of sight to the cars rolling off the Hocheichen turn. During the 24 Hours event the Hatzenbach campsite can be accessed by vehicle from a track that runs down to Hatzenbachstraße in Nürburg. The track can be found just up the hill from the BMW test centre. Well maintained tracks run throughout the campsite and follow the circuit down to the Quiddlebacher Hohe bridge and car park.
Flugplatz / Quiddelbacher Hohe
After Hoheichen, there follows a flat out section that takes the cars over the B257 at Quiddelbacher and then up to Flugplatz. Preceding the corner there is a pronounced crest (Quiddelbacher Hohe) where some cars get airborne! The Flugplatz curve itself is one of the fastest on the circuit. Spectating is permissible from an outfield enclosure located at the entry to the Flugplatz corner. There are good views back down the circuit to the crest. During the 24 Hours there is no camping at Flugplatz but a well maintained track runs from the corner all the way down to the B257, some 50 m west of the Quiddelbacher Hohe bridge. Access to the road is usually restricted so it will have to be traversed on foot or by bike. As an alternative, there is a footpath that begins behind a derelict building adjacent to the bridge and hugs the circuit all the way up to the enclosure at Flugplatz. The track can be followed beyond Flugplatz to the bridge at Aremberg. Passing Schedenkreuz