Nürburgring For Sale: True Love Can Be Yours For Only $170 Million
Map of the Nürburgring. All photos from nuerburgring.de
Every automotive nut is familiar with the Nürburgring race circuit in Nürburg, Germany: 13 miles, more than 100 turns, and a 1,000 foot elevation change from its highest point to its lowest make the “Green Hell” the test track du jour for automakers looking to boost their sporting credibility. When manufacturers aren’t renting out the daunting road course, civilians can show up in whatever car they please, and for the reasonable sum of $33.50, race on what is arguably the most famous track in the world. Although the Nürburgring rakes in roughly $80 million per year, the track had racked up $500 million in debt and underwent a government-structured bankruptcy beginning last year. The upside to all of this is that the Nürburgring is now on the market, and the new owners don’t have to worry about all the old debt. Bidding opens this week, and the ‘Ring is expected to sell for about $170 million. The downside? Those public access days may disappear.
Running a race track is hugely expensive, as the German government found over the last few years when it owned the complex. Although the track receives funding from paid public track time, private races, manufacturer testing, and the Formula 1 German Grand Prix, the ill-received Ring Werk amusement park sucked up a large amount of money that wasn’t made up in sales. Unable to raise additional funding and being denied a public bailout by the European Commission, the track was forced to declare bankruptcy.
One of the stipulations of the sale requires public access to the ‘Ring, but it is unknown whether that will mean readily available track time as it does now, or simply allow people to watch events trackside. Public track time and small events are prohibitively expensive in their current state, and other automotive news sites speculate that they will be discontinued by the next buyer in the interest of maintaining a profit. The bidding is open until June 12, and the ‘Ring should have a new owner by the end of summer.