Beyond its crazy 13-plus-mile layout, what makes the Nürburgring Nordschleife unique are its touristenfahrten (TF) sessions. During these "tourist rides" anyone with a driver's license can turn up in an appropriate road car, pay €30-35, and run a lap of the legendary circuit. Previously, TF was open to all sorts of different vehicles, so it was possible to see Porsche GT3s on track with tiny old city cars. Now, the Ring mandates that any vehicle participating must be able to do at least 130 km/h, or a little under 81 mph.
For pretty much all new cars, this isn't an issue. Hell, the national speed limit in nearby France is 130 km/h, and at least half of the cars you see on the autoroutes are doing more than that. For some classics, however, it could be an issue. What's also interesting is that Ring officials are looking at a car's original registered top speed, or in other words, its top speed when it rolled off the production line. That means if you put a hotter motor in an older classic that originally had a top speed of less than 80 mph, you might not be able to run it, even if it now can exceed 80 mph.
This new rule seems to reflect both the increasing popularity of TF, and the increasing speeds of today's road cars. When even the entry-level hot hatches you often see in TF sessions can do 140 mph, sharing the track with cars that can barely make it up the hill between Bergwerk and Klosertal could be dangerous. That said, TF sessions aren't meant to be full on, flat-out track days.
All of this comes as the Nürburgring faces a reckoning over safety during TF sessions. Beyond this, track officials are installing a new, AI-driven safety system that can trigger warning lights across the 13.94 miles of the Eifel Mountains circuit.
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