New safety structures and resurfaced sections lead to lifted speed limits

Last year, during the VLN endurance race at the Nürburgring, a spectator was killed after the No. 23 Nissan GT-R GT3 went airborne at the Flugplatz portion of the track. This accident resulted in a speed limit being applied to the track for safety reason. Initially, the speed limits were only applied race cars, but it didn’t take long for the speed limits to be enforced against manufacturers too, ending all record lap attempts at the circuit.

As early as August of last year we learned that the speed limit would be removed for the 2016 season, but it wasn’t exactly a simple feat. To lift the speed limits, 1,500 feet worth of track has been completely resurfaced to remove bumps, new metallic fences have been installed, and a spectator-free zone has been implemented in the Schwedenkreuz section. The necessary work was completed, and the track was inspected by FIA and DMSB officials earlier this month.

The new safety measures passed with flying colors and track operator – Capricorn Nürburgring GmbH – has received new track licensing from the FIA and DMSB. The license from the FIA is a Grade 3 license and is good for three years while the BMSB license for national events is good for one year. The most important part, however, is that the track is now able to lift the speed limits on the track.

Manfred Strack, the Head of Event Management for the Nürburgring, said, “With these safety measures and the two new licenses we have created the prerequisites for an exciting racing season that will hopefully see no accidents, and we are glad that the speed limits are finally a thing of the past.”

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Why it matters

This is a huge deal for the infamous Green Hell. The implementation of speed limits took away from the overall appeal of the track and prevented manufacturers from attempting new lap records. Now that the limits have been lifted, this racing season should be exciting, and manufacturers can finally let loose on the track once again.

There is something invigorating about spectating at a track like the Nürburgring, but spectators in general also have a history of being stupid. I’ve always felt there are areas of the track that should be off limits, and with the new spectator-free zones, things will be a lot safer for everybody. It’s not often that something good comes from a tragic accident like the one on the track last year, but in this case, it did. I’m looking forward to an exciting racing season this year, and more importantly, a safer racing season.


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