It’ll be a while before any semblance of normality resumes thanks to the C word, but a bunch of Nurburgring touristenfahrten compilation videos popping up in my YouTube subscription list this morning was a nice step forward.
Yep, the Nordschleife enjoyed its first weekend of tourist laps in about a month and a half, with public access to the 12.9-mile track reopened on 30 April. Anyone wishing to tackle the ‘Ring must abide by new rules for the foreseeable, however.
Tickets can only be bought online, and a maximum of two people - who need to have arrived together - are allowed in a car. Customers are being advised to stay in the car at all times, but if for any reason they need to get out (only possible in a designated area), a minimum distance of two metres from others needs to be maintained. Face masks are also mandatory for anyone not in a vehicle.
Car parking areas normally open to Touristenfahrten participants are all closed - instead, anyone needing to stop before or after a lap must go to the Grand Prix circuit paddock. It’s not possible to immediately take a second go - you go in for your lap, and you come straight back out again - and the Adenauer Breidscheid gate has been closed. Nurburgring vlogger Misha Charoudin also noted in his first lap video that there seemed to be a larger police presence than normal.
Hotels in the area are still all closed. “Nürburgring therefore requests that you refrain from traveling further and only come to the Nürburgring if a tourist trip is actually carried out and you can then go home,” circuit management has said.
Despite public laps only just restarting at the ‘Ring, the track hasn’t been dormant. Industry pool - as you’ve probably gathered from fresh spy shots of the 992 Porsche 911 GT3 and other prototypes - has been ongoing, avoiding a slippery ‘green’ track being opened for the first tourist punters.
Racing, however, is out of the question for a little while. The famous N24 endurance race has been postponed until September, although there is currently some yet-to-be cancelled events in the calendar for June. Given the sheer scale of the facility and this tentative reopening to the public, the ‘Ring probably has more chance of giving the motorsport world its first real-world event amidst the backdrop of Covid-19 than anywhere else.