Nürburgring “saved” by Russian billionaire

Porsche at the 2013 Nurburgring 24 hour race

Viktor Kharitonin is a name you may not have heard of before. He’s a Russian business tycoon with connections to Roman Abramovich and has made his cash in pharmaceuticals, among other things.

According to recent reports Kharitonin has stepped in to save the Nürbrgring by buying a controlling stake in the Capricorn consortium which won the rights to the Ring earlier this year. The new owners are set to take control of the famous track on 1 January 2015.

Capricorn teamed up with German-based Getspeed to form the winning bid back in March, with Capricorn comitting to around two-thirds of the required cash. It’s understood Getspeed is still in the frame for its one-third share and that Kharitonin has taken over Capricorn’s component.

German media has reported that Kharitonin’s business NH Holding came to the rescue by covering two payments owed by Capricorn, one due earlier this month and one due in December.

If those payments weren’t made there was a very real risk that the Ring could cease it’s daily operations with near immediate effect. So, on the one hand it’s great that the Nordschleife is safe; at least for now.

But what of Kharitonin and the longer term future and security of the Ring?

Well known Save The Ring campaigner Mike Frison had this to say: “It’s the worst case come true. So many times the administrators and politicians kept saying that the Ring would be taken care of. That it would never fall into the hands of some Russian oligarch. Never trust a politician, QED. For me it’s so sad to be right again.”

Hopefully, Mike’s worst case scenario doesn’t hold true and we can all look forward to enjoying the Nürburgring for many years to come.

[Source: Pistonheads]

Be careful out there!

MINI TF crash, September 2014

Here’s a stark reminder of the dangers of driving your own car on the Nürburgring, especially when the track is wet. This MINI driver didn’t do anything particularly bad, from what we can tell anyway, but the consequences were severe.

Based on the description from the YouTube clip we understand the passenger was taken to hospital. We hope he/she makes a full and speedy recovery and that the financial damage for the driver/owner can be overcome without too much difficulty.

The Nordschleife can bite hard, treat it with respect.

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BMW Ring-Taxi in rookie Brünnchen fail

BMW Ring-Taxi crash, Nurburgring, August 2014

Looking at the image above there’s only one way this BMW Ring-Taxi ride is going to end. And it’s not pretty. To be fair BMW has experiences worse crashes at the Nürburgring with its famed Ring-Taxi, but this one stands out because it looks a bit like a rookie error.

The accident happened on the exit of Brünnchen; driver goes wide to the left of track on exit, gets some oversteer and then ends up shooting across the track and into the barrier on the right hand side. We’ve seen it time and time again. Unless there was some oil or fluids on the circuit you just wouldn’t expect one of BMW’s usually very adept drivers to make a mistake like that.

Thankfully, it appears as though nobody was seriously hurt in the incident. Although the driver’s pride and bank balance may have taken a blow.

Bridge to Gantry has asked the question: “What made the Ring-Taxi crash?”

[Thanks to Stu for the tip]

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Range Rover Sport SVR claims 8:14 lap time

Range Rover Sport SVR

8 minutes 14 seconds.

That’s how fast that Range Rover Sport SVR above was able to lap the 20.832km of the Nürburgring Nordschleife. That’s pretty quick for a truck. Actually, it’s pretty bloody quick for any vehicle.

According to the unofficial list for unofficial production car lap times the Sport SVR has split the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG (8:13) and the BMW 1 Series M Coupé (8:15) right down the middle. That’s some exalted company for a motoring monolith to be mixing with around the Ring.

Of course, the secret lies, in part, in the SVR suffix which indicates this super SUV has 404kW (550PS) to play with from its fearsome sounding 5.0 litre supercharged V8. That’s an extra 29kW (50PS) more than the regular Range Rover Sport.

The JLR Special Vehicle Operations boffins who found that extra power also beefed up the SVR’s suspension for flatter cornering. Although, importantly, “this has been achieved without compromising the vehicle’s class-leading all terrain capabilities or high levels of comfort”.

Although, as the video below reveals, presumably they’re not referring to the oh so comfy racing buckets and roll cage fitted to this particular “production SUV”. Still, a sub-8:30 SUV that sounds like a thunder storm, what’s not to like!

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Audi wins 2014 Nürburgring 24 Hour race

2014 Nurburgring 24 Hour race

The #4 Phoenix Racing Audi R8 LMS ultra (Haase/Mamerow/Rast/Winkelhock) has won the 2014 Nürburgring 24 Hour race. The car took the lead early on Sunday morning and held that lead for nine hours on its way to victory.

Sunny conditions and mild weather for the duration of the race helped the winners set a new race distance record, covering a total of 159 laps, beating the old mark by three laps.

In second place was the team defending last year’s win, the #1 Black Falcon Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 (Bleekemolen/Simonsen/Menzel/Arnold). The car finished on the lead lap but was three minutes behind the race winner.

Third place was taken out by the #22 Rowe Racing Mercedes (Zehe/Hohenadel/Bastian/Engel), which completed 157 laps, also breaking the old distance record. Indeed, the first six cars all did 157 laps or more.

The relative comfort of the win meant the late race excitement was provided by the #007 Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 and the #20 Schubert BMW Z4 GT3 who were dicing for fifth position during the closing stages. Only a few car lengths separated the pair until a slower car badly baulked the BMW late on the final lap thus ending a breathtaking scrap between the two.

McLaren set the early race pace with the #66 Dörr Motorsport 12C GT3 starting from pole position, alas it was unable to finish the race, completing only 48 laps.