The Green Hell – a rite of passage

August 29, 2014
Jemma Chalcroft

The ‘Ring, Green Hell, the Nordschleife, Nirvana; whatever you want to call it, the Nurburgring is one of the world’s most iconic roads.

I’ve recently returned from my first trip to The ‘Ring and all I can say is: I completely understand.

For decades, the place has been motorsport mecca, a place where car geeks sit in fold-up chairs, in anoraks, filming hour upon hour of cars zooming by in the hope of catching some footage which will make the next YouTube sensation.

Or it’s populated by families on summer touring vacations that just happen to find themselves passing by (purely by chance, Dad insists) and think ‘Sure, why not take the Volvo estate round for one quick blast?’ – complete with kids and dog in the back…

But there is more to the Nordschleife than boy racers, speeding motorhomes and rich kids in GT3s; it’s a place of huge importance to pretty much all car manufacturers. As far as most sportscar makers are concerned, you haven’t built a credible performance model until it’s been proven on The ‘Ring.

In fact the likes of BMW, Aston Martin and Hyundai have all invested in bespoke test facilities there.

At Performance Communications, we don’t just PR existing products. For some of our automotive clients like Caterham Cars, we are there from the very beginning; before the car has even been drawn on a piece of paper. We know from our experience of bringing some of the world’s most thrilling sportscars to market that a car must have credibility in Europe before the rest of the world, including the increasingly important and targeted territories like China and the ASEAN region, will take it seriously.

And how do you gain that credibility? You make The ‘Ring a crucial part of the development process, it becomes a milestone in the car’s infancy – you take your prototype to the cruellest, scariest, road in Europe.

A colleague described the Nurburgring to me before I left for my trip as ‘the eeriest, spookiest, most brutal place on earth.’ I have to agree, it is. But I completely get why it should be a rite of passage for any serious, authentic sportscar that wants to prove its worth to the world.


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