The Nürburgring Classic is an annual birthday partycelebratingthe initial opening of the notorious German racetrack. The first year of this event was in 2017 – when celebrating the Rings 90th birthday. To be honest, I didn’t know about this event, and I was actually sure that I had been to all the classic events held at the Ring. The most famous must surely be the AvD Oldtimer Grand Prix in the first weekend of August. The missus and I had a mini vacation in Alsace, which proved the perfect opportunity to either visit Spa or the Nürburgring on the way back home. Quick research on the smartphone gave me the option between VW FUN Cup at Spa or Nürburgring Classic – seemed a no-brainer… However, we needed to be home the same day, so I only had a few hours at the track; better make them count then.
First a little practical info: Parking for one day was 8 Euro while the entry ticket was 16 Euro, though that dropped back down to 11 Euro with ADAC membership. Presale is 10 Euro. I usually use the main entrance to buy my tickets, simply because I can use Visa card there. You always want to save you “Bar Geld” – meaning cash – for the food stalls.
As we parked the car, I suddenly wondered whether we had arrived on the wrong date! – because there were only around a hundred cars parked in the lot closest to the entrance. In comparison, if you arrive at 11am for the AVD event, you will need your best hiking boots to walk the long distance back up the hill from the parking lot farthest away. I wasn’t sure what to expect…
Now that parking and tickets were sorted, we headed straight for the pit area. We passed through the tunnel and walked the short stretch uphill where we were greeted by the Richard Mille enclosed area boasting several new Mclarens, but that was not what I came for. Instead we continued toward the new pit garages. Entering the first garage we were treated to that famous Baby Mercedes, from the race won by Senna back in 1984 if I remember correctly. Surrounding it, the place was packed with race prepared race cars representing most of Europe; Aston Martin from the UK, Alfa Romeo from Italy and of course a lot of German cars – what a cool sight.
As this was a Friday, racing in earnest hadn’t started yet and the various teams were just making the most of training day. This meant everything was pretty relaxed in the paddock, leaving enough time and space to slowly wander through the Paddock/garages and suck up all the atmosphere, and unburnt high octane fuel.
It was close to midday, the first BBQ had been fired up, and my stomach made sure to tell me it was time for a CurryWurst. So we headed directly towards the small café near the fuelling point close to the old pit area. This is what I had been saving my cash for.
Having dealt with hunger, I headed for the picture-perfect old pit area. This area is located south of the track, so you walk through a tunnel which brings you under the track, and as I came back out into the sun, it felt like I had somehow timetravelled to a different decade – more precisely, prewar. This was a perfect site for all the prewar cars, tucked away in the old garages with several of the historic race cars having arrived on a matching race car hauler which would be parked nearby. It really doesn’t get much better.
Since I was somewhat pressed for time, I decided to stay in the paddock rather than venturing to the far end of the GP track as I would have usually done. Better to utilise my time in the paddock and just enjoy all the race cars preparing for their time on the track. Best of all though, standing between the pitlane and garage, I had a perfect view of a force-fed 1.4-litre Capri Zackspeed, Kremer Porsches and much more entering and exiting the pitlane.
So if you have read this far, you might be wondering how Nürburgring Classic differs from AvD Oldtimer GP? Well, first of all, it seems like everybody here was equal – maybe a bit difficult to explain, but all cars and their drivers were mad about and devoted to historic motorsport, and clearly just wanted to race their prized procession, no matter if it were an E-type or an Opel Kadett. None of the big manufacturers were here with their massive party tents and free t-shirts, no celebrities (that I know of) – instead, it was the cars which were the focus. This sense of simple, grassroot racing was perhaps further exaggerated by it being a training day. But no matter whether your heart beats for American muscle cars, exotic Alfa Romeos, Opel, VW Golf or prewar vintage racers, this Classic meeting had it all. Being a smaller event than the AvD, it just had less of it – but on the flipside it all seemed more accesible and was thus easier to enjoy. Best of all, it made you want more! The only thing I could think of as we departed the Nürburgring, was stripping all the interior from my car and welding in a full race cage instead. When you leave an event like this, and your mind is overflowing with ideas and dreams like that, it’s a clear sign that you’ve just been treated to a perfect day at the track.
If you are like me and dream of getting involved with classic motorsport, which is of course notorious for being expensive, you might want to check out GLP (Gleichmäßigkeitsprüfung). It’s basically you and your classic car on track, and your ability to be consistent and keep repeating the same lap time. Look it up…
Enjoy the pictures and hopefully they might motivate you to plan your weekends and get out there to enjoy some classic racing. Careful though- it’s highly addictive!