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Replica of iconic Nurburgring racetrack proposed for Las Vegas

By

March 13, 2012

Nurburgring is as ominous as the clouds in the background (Photo: VnGrijl)

Nurburgring is as ominous as the clouds in the background (Photo: VnGrijl)

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Germany's Nurburgring is possibly the most famous racetrack in the entire world. Not only does it host racing competitions, but it also provides the ultimate testing grounds for new cars and prototypes - manufacturers from around the world travel to Germany to test their cars. Speedway Motorsports wants to make some of those journeys a little shorter, by building an exact replica of Nurburgring just outside of Las Vegas.

The United States has plenty of racetracks of its own - in fact, Speedway operates eight of them - but it doesn't have anything the caliber of Nurburgring, largely considered one of the most difficult racetracks in the world thanks to about 16 miles (26 km) of twisting, hilly terrain. Unlike the enclosed stadium tracks in the US, Nurburgring is integrated into its rolling, wooded surroundings and even has a 12th century castle located inside its perimeter. So, it's like quintessential European countryside bottled up into one of the world's most demanding pieces of asphalt - it's no wonder it is famous the world over.

A map of the Nordschleife, the larger of two tracks at Nurburgring

Speedway may not be able to duplicate the history or ambiance of the original racetrack, but it does plan to duplicate the turns and features of the track itself. Its track would be an exact replica of the original, located on 8,000 acres (3237.5 hectares) of land about 10 miles (16 km) from its existing Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The company doesn't have any plans to hold racing events at the proposed track - that's kind of what Las Vegas Speedway does - but the track would take on the role of a test bed for manufacturers and car owners, providing a much closer destination for US-based entities.

In a recent interview with Sirius XM Sports, Speedway CEO Bruton Smith said that he's already been in talks with Nevada's governor, the Bureau of Land Management and several German contacts, who are presumably connected to or knowledgeable about the original track. If the project gets the go-ahead, Smith and company plan to work closely with German engineers, using photographs, aerial topography and other resources to replicate every curve and hill to a T.

Las Vegas seems like the perfect destination for a faux 'Ring. The city already has a history of both motorsports and the cloning of iconic European destinations like the Eiffel Tower and Colosseum. The greater state of Nevada has more public land than any other state except Alaska, so it's not like there's a lack of space.

While the dry, hot Nevada desert may contrast the Eifel Mountains where the original Nurburgring is located, it could work well for auto manufacturers. Manufacturers could conceivably use the track for hot-weather testing as well as performance testing. Smith even believes that German manufacturers like Audi and Mercedes-Benz would come overseas to use the track, because a Vegas location would allow for year-round testing, whereas the actual Nurburgring experiences cold, snowy winters.

Source: Autoguide, Sirius XM

About the Author
C.C. Weiss Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work.   All articles by C.C. Weiss
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11 Comments

I guess it's a natural follow on. American cars, from the late '60s to early '70s went to crap. In the mid '90s, once American manufacturers started cooperating with European manufacturers, American cars became better built and more visually appealing. Now, instead of building our own test track in the vein of Nurburgring, we are going to duplicate it turn for turn and hill for hill. I am all for having something similar to the 'Ring in the U.S. (even to the point of holding races and allowing the general population to test their abilities on it) but at the very least, have the decency to make it our own.

Besides, a big part of what makes the 'Ring unique is its local environment (temperature and other weather variables). Duplicating the 'Ring in the American desert will not give the same results as the actual 'Ring.

Rt1583
13th March, 2012 @ 08:38 pm PDT

re; Rt1583

The contrast in performance between the two tracks would make quantifying the effect of heat on the car easier.

Slowburn
14th March, 2012 @ 02:28 am PDT

What!? Replicating something for novelty factor is one thing but this is absurd. Why not extract the best qualities of the Nurburgring and incorporate them into a better track? Although any design more complex than a circle is a big leap for American circuit racing.

jonoxn
14th March, 2012 @ 03:05 am PDT

So perhaps someday americans will get to see a real car races (F1) instead of this silly

NASCAR races

wiarus2000
14th March, 2012 @ 08:30 am PDT

Replicating the terrain/turns/etc is one thing. There may be a challenge replicating cool humid air. And if the overall elevation is higher, lap times will fall.

Bruce H. Anderson
14th March, 2012 @ 09:54 am PDT

Hopefully they will get a clue from the Pocono track and use solar for power. Having a bank of electric car battery chargers using solar PV would also allow the testing of electric cars and bikes. Funny thing, Nevada has an over abundance of sunshine but, use very little in comparison. Yet they have the highest unemployment in the nation.

electric38
14th March, 2012 @ 02:24 pm PDT

Obviously duplicating the history and the aura of the original 'Ring is out of the question. In the question is the price. Have they figured out how much this is going to cost?..and how it is going to be paid for? Will there be open track days? That would most likely be a boon for local repair shops, MedEvacs, EMTs and hospitals.

The reason the 'Ring fell out of favor with the racing world is that the place is too dang dangerous. Changing elevations (100's of feet), blind corners, off-camber turns will catch the driver driving over his head. Plus difficult to access crash scenes..Nah, this ain't gonna happen.

ChgoSTrider
14th March, 2012 @ 03:23 pm PDT

re; ChgoSTrider

Do you really consider a change in elevation a danger? The blind corners can have warning flags if there is a obstruction, and if the driver can't deal with off-camber turns he shouldn't be racing. Building in good access to the likely crash sights wouldn't even cost that much.

Slowburn
15th March, 2012 @ 04:47 am PDT

re; electric38

that is a very good reason for not wanting expensive electricity.

Slowburn
15th March, 2012 @ 09:32 am PDT

I'd love to have a nurburgring in America but why not take the best of the nurburgring and incorporate it into a new racetrack in the shape of America, like the northern part of the track(Washington to Minnesota) could be a 1-3 mile straight allowing for getting cars to top speed etc etc and within the the main track( shape of USA) there could be multiple smaller tracks like a gokart track etc etc and there could be roads to allow for ambulances or toe trucks in case there's a crash.

Brad Howard
25th May, 2012 @ 02:20 am PDT

I'm with those who say that should it be built, then build a better/different track than the Nordschleife, perhaps incorporating parts of same d'-)

Jetwax
29th April, 2013 @ 03:50 am PDT
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