Bad news regarding manufacturer-run lap times around the Nrburgring just emerged out of Germany. According to Bridge to Gantry, speed limits and other restrictions previously imposed for races now apply to both public track days and manufacturer pool test days -- effectively putting an end to official manufacturer Nurburgring lap timing. In light of a recent crash during a GT3-class race which resulted in the death of a spectator at the Nrburgring, increased speed limits were placed around certain faster areas of the 12.9-mile track. Until now, the speed limits were in place for official races, but not strictly enforced for track days and daily use.
This means, while automakers like Porsche, McLaren, and Ferrari were in the past able to set blistering laps around the Ring and record an official lap time for bragging rights, new speed limits on certain sections of the track make an accurate time impossible. Now, J.F Musial, one of the key figures behind an upcoming documentary on the Koenigsegg One:1 hypercar, revealed the authorities at the Nrburgring informed the team that the One:1 driver will have to adhere to the same speed limits that everyone else has to follow, even though Koenigsegg was ready to rent out the entire track to set a record time. Certain corners and sections of the circuit, like Tiergarten, where the One:1 could reach 186 mph, are now restricted to just 124 mph, effectively making official lap times with the speed limits in place worthless.
The speed limits are in place in areas where cars have the potential of becoming airborne, including 124-mph limits at the track's Flugplatz, Antoniusbuche, and Schwedenkreuz sections. In addition, there is a 155-mph limit on the main straight where other cars are entering and exiting.
With those restrictions in place, track officials have effectively hit pause on the race to post ever-faster Nrburgring lap times. Cars like the upcoming Ford GT, Acura NSX, and even the mighty Koenigsegg One:1 will remain without a Ring time to brag about for the foreseeable future.
via Bridge To Gantry
The words speedlimit and racetrack should never really come together. But since the tragic incident in VLN1, theyve become an unwelcome reality in all DMSB racing events on the Nordschleife.
We hoped that they would be a temporary fix, a band-aid over the wound caused by just one car having a freak accident. But with speedtraps and redflags on a trackday this week, it looks like now theyre here for everybody.
In the latest print issue of Sport Auto, Marcus Schurig wrote an excellent column on the issue, but also admitted that Sport Autos famous superlap laptimes are subject to the same (arguably ridiculous) rules.
What does that mean? Who will it affect? Lets find out
During the public hours, the Nordschleife has two entrances and exits in operation. The main one (Nordschleife Zufahrt) near Nrburg, and the second one at Breidscheid Bridge. As long as I can remember, the approaches to both exits have had a decreasing speed limit applied to them. Not only is this for safety, but its also just common sense. But Ive never seen them policed or enforced.
The signs for the new 200 and 250 speedlimits, which can be folded away in seconds, have been on display consistently during public hours for the last month, though there has been no obvious attempt to enforce them either.
BTG has contacted the Nrburgring for an official statement, but has yet to receive one.
(Even in my role as official RingTaxi.de driver, nobody has clarified the situation for me yet.)
The first event that I saw being briefed about the speedlimits was the GranTurismo Nrburgring trackday last month. Transponders were handed out, and participants sternly warned about the consequences of speeding.
But things were turned up a notch at Mondays Pistenclub event:
Just been told that for today all trackday participants are subject to the race track speed limits. Go too fast and youll be expelled from the day. Ive asked 3 times if they are pulling my leg apparently not.
And it got worse:
At roughly 11.30 there was a red flag. With the reason being a car had travelled at 280 ish on the straight. So they temporarily (I reckon 25mins) stopped all running. For everyone. After a few minutes the tannoy announced this had happened and shortly after we all set off again.
Industry testing at the Nrburgring also has its own speedlimits, specifically approaching the T13 pitlane, where cars can exit and enter the track through the pitlane, or sometimes (during hotlaps) just like you see below. I have a couple of friends who drive in i-pool, and though the secretive sessions are subject to a total secrecy contract, they did confirm that theyve been asked to stick to the limits for now.
What are these NEW speedlimits?
There are three new limits, introduced by the roundtable discussion with the DMSB. A 250kmh (155mph) limit from the Gantry to just after the Bridge, along the Dttinger Hhe.
Then from Hocheichen to Flugplatz its a 200kmh (125mph) limit increasing to 250kmh (155mph) from Flugplatz all the way to the crest at Schwedenkreuz.
Will this affect me on my next trackday or public day?
Almost certainly not. I think the most important question is; do you have more than about 400hp/1000kg or 500hp available? Because without that kind of power-to-weight ratio, the first 200kmh limit is totally unbreakable. The 250kmh downhill into SX (Schwedenkreuz) or at the end of DH (Dttinger Hhe) is easier, but still not possible without a very fast car. And it was only the DH section that was subject to a radar check on Mondays trackday.
Yes. A radar speed trap.
Radar guns? WTF? Will I be fined?
Everybody makes their own house rules in Germany. If you want to play in the house, you have to stick to them. For DMSB racing events there are both monetary fines and time penalities. On Mondays trackday the circuit owners (not the trackday operator) made the threat of a red flag stopping the session (which it did for over 25 minutes) and the promise that the next guy to break the limits would be ejected from the circuit.
Why is a rule aimed at flat-bottomed GT3 racing cars now being applied to everybody?
Simples. Because the track is now privately owned and operated, its being dragged out of the 20th century and into the 21st. Some might call it entering the real world, after being sheltered for so many decades under the umbrella of state ownership.
In black-and-white terms, that any layman could understand, a car crashed and killed an innocent spectator. If the Nrburgring didnt respond to this, would they still be in business next week? Would they still have their public liability insurance covered?
Any home-brew aero car, or indeed official GT3 racing car, can enter a trackday. So of course the same rules will apply to the trackdays as the racing day.
But, wait, what about all the other stupid stuff that makes the Ring so dangerous?
Erm, yeah. Best we dont list all of that stuff right now, or theyll probably try to fix that too.
My own 2 is that new speedlimits are fundamentally the wrong way to fix this problem. They satisfy the casual observer and the layman, but theyre a clumsy and ridiculous way to stop cars from killing spectators
which is the reason why theyve been introduced, remember?