New rallycross track aside, the Nurburgring is officially finished for the reason. And with fast road and race cars barred until mid-March 2021, it’s time for the track to welcome some very different sorts of vehicles.
The first of these is an asphalt milling machine, which was busy ripping up the ageing surface at Döttinger Höhe last week. From there it’ll continue to Antoniusbuche, Tiergarten, Hohenrain and the recently named Sabine Schmitz Kurve. All of that plus the Hyundai N curve before the start-finish line of the Grand Prix circuit plus the connecting bits between the newer track and the older Nordschleife will be treated to fresh asphalt.
A total of 2.5 kilometres (1.55 miles) of the Nordschleife and the GP circuit will be resurfaced at a cost of €2.5 million (£2.1 million). All being well, work concludes towards the end of February 2022, ensuring both tracks are ready for next year’s motorsport and touristenfahrten seasons.
This isn’t a one-off - the track is constantly renewed at the Nurburgring at an average of a kilometre every year. Given that replacement rate and the sheer size of both circuits combined, each new section of track has to cope with 15 to 20 years of abuse via anything from have-a-go heroes in old hatchbacks to blisteringly fast GP3 racing cars.
The methods used for the Nordschleife and the GP loop are quite different. Owing to the age of the former, which first opened nearly 100 years ago, it’s necessary to excavate to a depth of over a metre. But on the latter, which is a more fresh-faced 37-years old, it’s possible to merely lop off the top two laters of asphalt before relaying. A special mixture helps keep grip levels the same across the two tracks even on the relaid bits.
Speaking about the work, Alexander Schnobel, who’s looked after resurfacing works for the last 20 years, said:
“The asphalt work on our race tracks is one of the most emotional parts of my job. We work here on behalf of the 95-year history of our racetrack. Preserving the characteristics of the track is always a top priority during the construction work. At the same time, we are producing a modern standard that meets today’s demands on our tracks.”