Situated in the Eifel hills in the south of Cologne, the Nürburgring was born nearly 90 years ago: its construction began in 1925 and the first Grand Prix took place in 1927. With 22 kilometers and 176 turns, it is one of the unique circuits in motorsports history, along with the 13km 24 Hours of Le Mans circuits, the 14km Spa-Francorchamps circuit and the 72 Sicilian road kilometers of Targa Florio. The Nürburgring (also called "Nordschleife") welcomed endurance for the first time in 1953 and became one of the meccas of the discipline as of 1956. The greatest drivers entered the record of the 1,000km of Nürburgring (Stirling Moss, Jack Brabham, John Surtees, Vic Elford, Jo Siffert, Ronnie Peterson, Rolf Stommelen among others…), as well as 12 winners of the 24 Hours of Le Mans: Dan Gurney, the duo Phil Hill-Olivier Gendebien, Ludovico Scarfiotti, Nino Vaccarella, Gérard Larrousse, Jacky Ickx, Klaus Ludwig, Jürgen Barth, Hans-Joachim Stück, Jochen Mass and Michele Alboreto.
As of 1984, a new 4.5km circuit welcomed both Formula 1 and endurance. Other 24 Hours winners won, like Derek Bell, Henri Pescarolo, Mauro Baldi, David Brabham, Allan McNish and Eric Helary. From 2004 to 2009, the Nürburgring figured on the Le Mans Endurance Series calendar (2004-2005) and the Le Mans Series (2006-2009). But the history of the 22km of the legendary Nordschleife continues with one of the biggest annual GT events: the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring. Distance recordman at the 24 Hours of Le Mans after his victory in 2010 and current Porsche 919 Hybrid driver, the German driver Timo Bernhard holds the record for victories with five wins, including four shared with the French driver Romain Dumas, who was also his teammate in La Sarthe four years ago.
After Silverstone, Spa-Francorchamps, Le Mans and Fuji (without forgetting the Circuit of the Americas, Bahreïn and Shanghai of course, pioneers in their respective countries), it is another circuit loaded with history that will join the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) calendar next year. As you wait for the fourth round of this future season on August 30, 2015, rediscover the legendary Nordschleife via on-board camera with Marc Lieb (LM P1 Porsche 919 Hybrid driver and four-time winner of the 24 Hours of Nürburgring) at the wheel of the 918 Spyder in 2012. Note the same colours as the 917 and 936 victorious in La Sarthe in 1971 (with Helmut Marko-Gijs van Lennep) and 1976 (still with van Lennep, along with Jacky Ickx this time), respectively.
Jean-Philippe Doret & Thierry Arman / ACO - Translation by Nikki Ehrhardt / ACO