Things To Do Before You Die>> Drive The Nordschleife

While we were discussing the ‘Things To Do Before You Die' theme I mentioned that a hot lap on the Nordschleife was one of the things that should be high on everybody's list. It is something you just have to experience once in your life to truly understand how grueling this track is. I have been there several times in recent years and I have even driven the track myself twice.

The track is three hour drive from where I live so it is fairly close by. You enter the track at the ‘Touristenfahrt' center alongside the long straight. Once you enter the center you need to find a parking spot; and often that's easier said than done. If you can't find a spot in the above parking place then there is another one on the opposite side. But to be honest that one is also pretty much packed the entire day! So I always park my car at the unpaved section on the other side of the entrance.

Once you are settled and have parked your car you first need to take a look around and get yourself in the comfort zone. I'm always pumped because of the sights and sounds. So I always grab a bite to eat first and get one or two tickets for a hotlap.  

This sign is at the entrance of the circuit and tells you a little bit about the weather conditions. On this particular day it wasn't that good. If you are not familiar with the track at all and its your first time, then days like this probably aren't the best for a hot lap! 

The conditions didn't stop this gentleman from Switzerland in his Nissan GT-R. You need to buy a ticket at the ticket office on the right of the track entrance. After that you are all set to give it a go on the 20km-long track.

But beware, no matter how much you practiced on the Playstation or Xbox nothing can prepare you for the real deal. The track is unforgiving and has almost no run off. The scariest bends are those just after a crest. I always take my foot of the gas but the seasoned veterans will overtake you even in the blind corners.

But there is more you will need to be careful of. Even when you think you are the greatest driver in the world there's always things that can make or break your day at the track. Just think about what would happen if you go full throttle around a blind corner and suddenly you are confronted with this!

But those slower cars are an exception so most of the time you'll come across cars like these, and you can use common sense to overtake them in the right spot. 

The first time you enter the Karussell is, quite frankly, frightening. Do you take the outside line or the inside? The outside is a paved section while on the inside are concrete slabs. Your speed entering the Karussel is crucial; when you go too fast you will be pushed to the outer section but when you get it just right you will be treated with something I can't describe in words. You will have to experience this for yourself to truly appreciate this one of a kind corner.

When everything goes according to plan you can enjoy the track in your own car or you can rent one at the many rental companies dotted around the Nürburg village.

I suggest going with a group of friends rather than by yourself. That way you can enjoy the day there together and tell your stories about what you experienced while driving the track.

After around 12 minutes (less if you're really fast), you will return unscathed and ready for another go.

You might even get lucky and see a local celebrity like Sabine Schmitz driving around in a BMW. Although I have been told they ditched the M5 in favor for the M3 this year.

I hope I have fueled some of you to go there once in your lifetime. The Nordschleife is a track rich in history, and is known as one of the biggest tests of car and driver. I, for one, will definitely be back again this year. And I hope you guys will one day experience it from the behind the wheel as well!

- Jeroen Willemsen

Things To Do Before You Die



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its one of my dreams to do the nurburgring.....


that has been on my list for 10 years already and i only need 6 hours to get there from munich, only sucks that i'm not allowed to drive yet.


the Ring is the greatest piece of road in the world....and I saw my first F1 race at the nurburgring GP!! Unfortunately its in big danger of losing funding and shutting down!! we all need to help save the ring,.. check out


So true.i always try to go there two to three Times a is so addictive!Best lap a BRG Time of 8:46min


always wanted to go there, even if i could just sit in the passenger seat and fly around the track! i would LOVE to experience it


Great article Jeroen! I intend to make my pilgrimage in the next year or two, it's been a long time coming 8)


Last year i finally did it... coming back from Rally Deutschland, WRC Trier.

Weekends being the busiest! But what the heck...

Nordschleife a place to be seen and just to see all sort of (sports)cars.

Parking lot is packed!

Met up with a fellow dutchie also in a Renault Clio RS.

Bought a Touristefarhte Ringcard and queing in the waiting line.

Unbelieveable and addictive experience.

Gran Turismo 4 couldn't prepare me for the elevation, compression and remembering the corners.

Do it again this year!


This has been on my list for a long time. Any more info on the places to rent cars?I have found RSR Nurburg but honestly don't think I need a Porsche for my first time out.


Oh this is definitely on the list! I always go too fast / wide at the karussel on GT5! But on the occasion I get it right... like a slingshot! I guess I should practice more before I go rent a car :) definitely be driving with caution when I get a shot.


Definitely with Jacob on this one. The Nurburgring for me is a must.


This track is indeed on the list of MUST DO BEFORE I DIE!!!!


I've done it… several times… and I'll do it again and again and again and again and again!!! MUUHAHAHAHA!!!


this has been on my list for a while. one of my favorite tracks.


Definitely one of the Things To Do Before I Die.


I had the good fortune of driving a few laps. Nothing like hitting Adenau Forest or GOING FLAT OUT ON Dottinger Hohe. Bucket list complete.


@ Luka: Time will come!


Im lucky since I am about an hour away from the track I can go pretty much any day of the week :)


I've driven there 1lap last year (got shut down due to rain and crashed Porsches everywhere), we went there with my dad's RX-8. It was really just as awesome as you would expect to drive on there, especially the differences in height. I live in the Netherlands, but it's only a 2,5 hour drive, so I'm definitely gonna go back, perhaps with my own car this time.


I went to the ring last year, and it is beyond words. But be sure to bring a lawn chair and a pack of beer, because it is great fun to watch as the cars roll by in the setting sun, and drinking brews with your friends.

PS: take a lot of water with you when you go for the real run. You will need it. And vending machine water costs 4€ for a small bottle. So if you want to cool your brakes and tires bring your own water.


I really love to drive there with the annual ticket (thanks god, I'm just 130km away from the Ring). But even if I'm driving about 8:20 Bridge to Gantry (without the Döttinger Höhe) with your Clio RS you get to know there's always someone faster. But never think you really KNOW that track. Then it will show you that you don't.

For rentals, google Rent4Ring, many Swifts that are amazingly fast for such small cars if you can handle track and car perfectly.


I was waiting for this to come up. Track is close for me, just 2 hours on the Autobahn.

Had a couple of passenger laps, one in a Gallardo, which was awesome just for the sound of the car.

This year i'm taking my own car on the Ring, should be good, but still scary!


The experience is awesome indeed, I can recommend to it to everone who likes to drive cars. The track is 20.8 km though (12.9 miles).


I've driven the Nordschleife many times now and it gets better and better every time.

I have to drive all the way from England but I usually visit at least once a year. When people ask me whats its like, the best way i can think of describing it is that it's much like sitting a maths exam at speed.

I'm always pretty much exhausted afterwards but after 52 laps spread over 4 years, I'll never stop going.


I have to go Nords at least once in my life. Shift 2's one have been pretty tough for me, even just with a controller and a PC. The elevation changes and the super elevated curves are very tough, even in the game.

The real deal is just gonna show me how hellish this track can be and i am looking forward to drive on it with maybe a Golf or something.

The brutal Huayra, Gallardo and so on, i'll just drive them in the game.


i should most definitely drive on this track before i die .. i really always wanted to go there . . hope i won't smash my MX3 up in there tho :D


Has been on my list for a long time, just need a decent car to take there,so as soon i have swapped my mb2 for a mb6/eg9, i think i'll take it there.


Going for my 3rd trip this year, ive done 10 laps so far would like do around 6 this year


When i read these comments i felt just 'wow'. I just live about 100 km away from the ring but i didn't know it is such a big thing for some of you guys. I feel somehow proude now :)


Nice photo's! I actually wanted to do this before I die. So I am kind of happy this has been added to the list of "THINGS TO DO BEFORE YOU DIE."


The only thing that's stopping me from going now is that I live about 5600 miles away from Germany, which kind of sucks for me....

A roundtrip ticket would cost me up to $3000. Then I have to rent a decent car because I don't want to rent a minivan.


i'm so proud to live near the nürburging :)


This is definitely on my list. This track is like no other!


I'm going in 6 weeks!!!!


Wow! Love the theme of "Must Do"! Your post and photos vividly share the experience of driving the Nordscheilfe. I am enlightened and now have this MUST DO on my bucket list! Thank you!


The month of May is drawing to a close, and that means that our "Things to Do Before You Die"