Road trips can be great fun regardless of whether you drive a typical family hatchback or a luxurious sports car. The sun shining down, rolling countryside passing by the window, music on the stereo and tarmac that you want to go on forever. Some of the best driving roads in Europe will truly take your breath away, you just have to get out and find them.
When you think about the best driving roads you might think about the south of France, the Italian Riviera or Route ’66 in the United States. What you might not think about are public roads that also double-up as racing circuits, like the Nurburgring in Germany.
Famous for its tight corners, fast straights and fearsome walls all the way around; this 13-mile circuit is one of the most popular track day venues in the whole of Europe – and it’s also a public toll road.
You don’t need to turn up to the Nurburgring in a sports car with performance brakes and suspension, flappy-paddle gearbox and hundreds of horses under the bonnet; you just need €24 and you can drive it in your family hatchback on non-track days.
What makes the Nurburgring one of the best driving roads in Europe?
The Nurburgring is located in the mountain town of Nurburg in the west of Germany just a stone’s throw from the famous castle, close to the borders with Luxembourg and Belgium, and 43-miles to the south of Cologne.
The Nordschleife, or Northern Loop, of the road is the main “public” section of the circuit and it provides a great opportunity for people to drive on the famous track. All the traffic on the Nordschleife drives in the same direction, making it much less treacherous for first-time visitors or those trying out the track ahead of an upcoming event.
British racing legend Sir Jackie Stewart once famously dubbed the Nurburgring “the green hell” due to its beautiful and picturesque country setting and the numerous sharp corners, concrete walls and cambers waiting to catch out even the most experienced of drivers.
Two of the most treacherous sections on the circuit are the world famous Caracciola Karussell, (which translates to “the Carousel”), that has spun some of the very best racers; and the Flugplatz (or “the Airport”), that was given its name after projecting numerous vehicles into the air at the end of a long straight that suddenly drops away.
The Northern Loop was first section of the Nurburgring to be opened back in the 1920s, and since then there have been three more parts specifically designed for track day and professional racing drivers.
The Nurburgring’s racing heritage
In 1984 the Nurburgring’s Grand Prix circuit was opened and used for the first time, with many racing enthusiasts calling it a mere shadow of the previous circuit arrangements that truly tested every aspect of a driver’s ability.
The Nurburgring is so popular among racers that a significant number of manufacturers book private time on the circuit to test their latest models.
The likes of Porsche and Mercedes Benz in particular, two huge German car manufacturers, put their cars through the vigorous tests of “the Ring” before releasing them onto the market, even using the best lap time as part of the sales brochure!
In addition to hosting the Formula One World Championship in the past and being both a public toll road and a track day circuit; the Nurburgring also plays host to its own 24-hour race that has attracted some of the biggest names in world motor racing.
Usually hosted in mid-May, the Nurburgring 24-Hour race has seen up to 700 drivers take part and 290,000 spectators in attendance watching everything from small family cars with a few modifications up to supercars designed with the sole purpose of taming the infamous circuit.
So if you’re up for a bit of a challenge on your quest to conquer on some of the best driving roads in Europe, make sure that you add the Nurburgring to your list – you won’t regret it.
For more on the best driving roads in Europe, come back to the Euro Car Parts blog soon where we’ll dissect another of the continent’s picturesque and car-loving roads.
You can also prepare your car for the challenges of the likes of the Nurburgring with our range of quality car parts for all makes and models that you can buy online or in-store.