The Nrburgring



I'm your host Scott Benjamin and I am Kirk Garin. I'm super excited about this show this week because we've got a topic that's got a lot of meat to it and something that. I think that Is going to be just right for conversation between the two of us because we both have an interest in the sort of thing anyway in a little bit of track driving a little bit of Little Thrill seeking. I guess. Maybe we're both kind of Not Adrenalin Junkies. But we both like to Kinda chest limits of our vehicles kind of you know. Just get out there and have a little bit of fun on them. And I think this is something that a lot of people can relate to. Maybe not a lot of people have done this in the past. Of course. I think we're GONNA find very few of our listeners. Have actually done this but there are a couple of examples that that I'll tell you about in just a moment so let's just jump right into it and I'll tell our listeners. What we're GONNA be talking about today in. It was kind of a question that I had. And it's something that I I know. I voiced on my other show on car stuff in the past and and I think maybe answered it a little bit and we've even discussed this track and Ha- I'll get to all of this. You understand in just a moment but my question is about the nurburgring and the nurburgring has in the past. I don't know decade or maybe even twelve fifteen years seemed to be the place that manufacturers have taken their automobiles to test limits to see how fast they can lap the nurburgring and it was a specific part of the nurburgring. That they do. This in. There's it's it's a It's a certain loop that they tested on. We'll talk about it. What it is is. It's kind of like a a level playing field for all manufacturers to be able to go and say we can run this track at this speed in this amount of time in this car and it. That's where cars the best and if you think you can top it go do it. Yeah and it offers a bunch of different types of conditions as well through the surface of the course and the terrain and weather and all sorts of other obstacles that make it interesting and kind of like a something to brag about though absolutely. We're we'll talk about all of this because there's some really believe it or not. Even the weather is a fascinating topic on this track. So as the surface material because it changes over over time Over distance rather and maybe one of the coolest things about this is that you can go and drive on this track if you just have a few dollars in your pocket. It doesn't really cost that much money. It's officially a toll road and I know I'm probably not giving anything away by saying that right now and then there's some fascinating things that go along with this whole thing. Now here's a little bit of background and I. I want temper this with this thought. It was a car stuff episode on the Nurburgring and we went through a lot of history. We went through the details of how they modify the track. And you know like the different curves and all that stuff and and the The barriers and I. It's just a lot of information about the track itself. So there's a ton of history. There's a ton of material there about Grand Prix or about Grand Prix racing in about You know the switch over Formula One and all of that. It's all there So I don't Wanna I don't WANNA double up on too much of that and I know that's tough not to step on that so we're GONNA WE'RE GONNA have a little bit of overlap but not a whole lot now. There's a few things that I do. I do feel like we need to repeat. This is just because there's some really interesting things about this. Track that thinker important and one number one. Probably the most important thing that we need to know about this track is that it's insanely dangerous. Insanely dangerous. I mean it really is and it was designed a long time ago. I think the track was built in one thousand nine hundred eighty five and I. It's like it's a huge huge track. It's it's what Woke in its current Form I think that the overall lap if you the norge left's norge sleep that we're GonNa talk about which is the north loop Is about fourteen I. It's over fourteen. Miles right yeah okay. So one hundred fifty turns. Yeah Oh yeah. That's right that's right. Yeah that's another important point. This is this. Of course it goes through the mountains. I'd like to see with allocation changes. Of course that I think that I think that I read somewhere that the elevation changes over a thousand feet Between the start and finish of the of the tracks so really an interesting track. It's fascinating what did you say? One hundred and fifty some turns you Y. They had more. They tried to make it safer and And that's partly due to Jackie Stewart in fact. It's it's mostly due to Jackie Stewart and a lot of other f one drivers that got together and said we are actually where they're actually going to boycott this race if they didn't make some changes in this. This wasn't always the case because early on you know Formula One. It was a little bit different. Who is it was? It was faster but it wasn't quite as fast and it wasn't quite as dangerous as it was in the late nineteen sixties and they started adding some wings to the cars and add a little. More downforce You know where the car stuck to the track exactly so when they when they would over some of the more pronounced elevation quick elevation changes. Maybe the car would get lighter than it should have been or trying to figure out why the drivers were so afraid of this particular track. And that's all I could come up with Scott wasn't that the course changed course exactly. Yeah the car's got faster in. The cars changed more dependent on air flowing flowing around it in a certain way. Absolutely not cars aren't supposed to get too far off the caress service. Yeah exactly right. Cars DESIGNED TO BE ON THE TRACK SURFACE. And we've talked about this with you know the thrust S. S. C. And you know all the other cars that are going fast and essentially every card. We talked about so far on the fast track But cars are designed to stay low to stay kind of stuck to the ground. The faster you go the more downforce. They have to have in order to stay on the ground. And what happens is that there's some dramatic elevation changes and whether it's just a little rise or You know it's like you're coming over a crest and you can't see what's going on and on the other side of it In a drops right off at this point. The cars were going so fast that they were becoming airborne and part of the problem. Was that with the way that the downforce was Designed these cars I. It was meant to act like a reverse wing to push the car down so when you get air underneath the car it acts in the opposite way. It acts like it's GonNa WanNa lift off and we've seen that in recent years of course with lemond other tracks as well. It's not just it's not just the neubergring But but tracks were cars become airborne these road courses are really really dangerous for drivers that are going super super fast and Back then you know back in the delete sick making sixties Jackie Stewart was saying at the time and I think I've mentioned this and other podcasts. Even though the F. One podcast is that you know a lot of his friends. Were dying on this on this. Unease circuits on these Research in the nurburgring was especially dangerous. In fact One of the facts that came out of the last Cardiff episode. And I think it was. Something that Ben mentioned is that this is hard to believe in. I don't know where he dug this up but I but I do remember him saying that. F One drivers had a two thirds chance over five years of competition that they would be killed in competition in five years. Two thirds chance that sixty six percent chance that you would die in a race if you raise for five years or longer. Nfl competition at the time. And this is like during the late nineteen sixties early nineteen seventies. So Jackie Stewart had a very valid point. You know he said. You know I'm losing. I'm losing friends every weekend on these tracks. Safeties got improve in some way. Let's start with cars of course but let's move onto you know safety equipment and tracks and everything. So he wanted improvements everywhere the Nurburgring. They responded they changed a lot of the a lot of the track. You know they slowed down some of the corners and you know it made it a little bit safer in a lot of ways and there's a lot of ways they can design corners to make them a little bit better but overall still. The Nurburgring is just an inherently dangerous. Course for a lot of reasons and I I think you you already know a couple of reasons. Why Yeah Yeah. I think I know what you're trying to get. At the fact that the track is kind of laid right on top of these extremely rolling hills and in the middle of a forest It's a lot narrower than a lot of modern day race tracks are designed to be The surface is different. The weather conditions are different. And then just the general speed at which you're going Of course was designed at a time when cars didn't see speeds like they see now sure they were fast but they weren't quite as fast as now we're in the sixties and seventies and then even now. I mean they're they're incredibly fast and you know. I think I want to mention this right now. If that's all right I I wanted to take just a second to say that I think the last German Grand Prix that was run at the nurburgring. And that's very specific. We'll we'll talk about that in a second but the last one was run at the nurburgring was in two thousand thirteen and You know of course there were other journ Grand Prix is I mean. The latest one was in twenty eighteen. I believe right or was there one in twenty nineteen there might have been the German Green. Just had it okay. All right But but they kind of like skip around so it's not always run at Hockenheim ring or at the nurburgring. It's kind of a mix the two or sometimes it's just not even either one of those you know depending on whether they're gonna run something else

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