Anyone Want to Build a Nürburgring?

When Gustav Eichler sat down at his drafting table at the Eichler Architekturbüro to consider the best method for replicating the spirit of the Targa Florio track in the Eifel mountains he might have hoped, but couldn’t have known, that we’d continue to celebrate his work all these decades later.

When these men took to their shovels in 1925, they couldn’t have known the impact their work would have 85 years later. Today we bemoan the lack of spirit and beauty and challenge in contemporary racetrack design. Eichler didn’t have to consider television angles, or jumbotron placement, or semi trailers, or spectator views, or access roads. He didn’t have to consider run-off areas or medical access either. Perhaps we’re just using the wrong inspirations. When you set out to please sanctioning bodies and television producers and spectators, rather than replicating the country roads that have always truly made the best racing courses, the compromise already creates a ceiling on what can be achieved.

Seeing these photographs of men with hand shovels and pick-axes carving the world’s most celebrated racing course out of the mountains and forests surrounding the village of Nürburg almost makes the fantasy of gathering some friends, renting a bulldozer, and replicating their efforts seem possible. Just look at these people. The only heavy construction machinery I see is the steam roller—one that would probably be considered small today.

Was this the first race on the 'ring?

What do you say? Anyone have a large parcel of land—preferably forested, preferably in the low mountains—that they want to donate to the cause? Who’s got a pick-axe and some time on their hands?

5 responses to “Anyone Want to Build a Nürburgring?”

  1. Dilip Kumar says:

    Great to see these pics. The ‘Ring has been the greatest motor race circuit of all time – absolutely no doubt.
    I’d love to see more pics of the ‘Ring.
    I’d love, also, to see the spirit of Nurburgring in modern race circuits.

  2. DougD says:

    Mosport is about as close as I’ve seen. 20 years ago it was almost unchanged from it’s early ’60s form. Since then the character has dripped away a bit but it’s still hilly and treed

  3. Richard Ingham(Ratchet) says:

    Thanks for the pics & story
    Would love some day to see the Ring first hand
    The 20s were a time when many a great construction project was mostly done with human labor

  4. mike says:

    ¿Have you read the book “kings of the Nurburgring” by Chris Nixon?

    the first chapter is about how they build the nurburgring, lots of photos included.

    The book it’s pretty expensive, 200-300€ but it’s easy to find it in pdf on the internet.

  5. […] medi­a­tion on what makes the Nur­bur­gring spe­cial. It’s his­tory and it’s cre­ation in an era when rac­ing was about rac­ing and not prod­uct place­ment. […]

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