F1 Car Returns to Nurburgring’s Famous Nordschleife

Yesterday, Germany s Nick Heidfeld accomplished a childhood dream, completing three laps of the famous Nordschleife in a modified BMW F1.06. A crowd of over forty-five thousand lined the 20.8 kilometre racetrack to watch a F1 car take part in an organised event at the circuit for the first time in 31 years.

“I’ll never forget today as long as I live”, said a jubilant Heidfeld. “This drive was simply incredible. I thought it would be great to drive on the Nordschleife before I started out. But it was even better than I had expected. This racing track is the best in the world.”

Heidfeld felt frustrated that he couldn t stay out on the circuit, which connects both the existing Nurburgring F1 track, with the old Nordschleife, a managed public road popular amongst track day drivers.

“I’d really like to have emptied the tank. It was a very special moment when I left the grand prix circuit in the direction of the Nordschleife. I was really shaken up at the Bergwerk section and on the Döttinger Höhe. I’ll never forget today as long as I live. Another particularly special experience has now joined the many fantastic childhood memories and racing successes.”

Speaking on the BMW event, Motorsport Director Mario Theissen said “we wanted to give fans a special treat. And I believe we have done this with the entire BMW motor sport programme. The BMW M3 GTR that Olaf Manthey presented today was welcomed like an old friend. The car is actually much too athletic for the museum. Naturally, the high point was Nick’s drive with the F1.06. We had implored him to be careful. The day paid homage to the fans and to this unique circuit in the world of racing. For once, the lap times were a secondary consideration.”

A BMW F1.06 was especially modified for the event due to the older circuit s bumpy and undulating surface. Front ride height was set to a massive four centimetres with eight at the rear, in addition, a short ratio box and unusually hard compound tyres were fitted. Above, Team Manager Beat Zehnder travelled in a helicopter, keeping the team in contact with the car through a specialised wireless link.

Despite the unusual setup, Heidfeld took the BMW to over 275 km/h on “Döttinger Höhe” and set a fastest lap of 8:34 minutes. A more representative time could have been set had the German had not to slow for photo calls and a camera car.

Earlier in the day Heidfeld took to the track in a Formula BMW, using the 140hp car to perform an inspection lap. The event was organised as part of the VLN endurance championship taking part at the circuit this weekend.

Test driver Sebastian Vettel also completed laps in a BMW M3 GTR, a car that has set many a record at the old circuit. A BMW 320si WTCC and BMW Z4 M Coupé also took part.

A video of the event can be found here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipJD9IOtCXQ