The self produced and published NÃ¼rburgring Nordschleife: An Enthusiastâ€™s Bend Guide contains over 60 pages of information about the â€˜Green Hellâ€™. The guide starts with a brief history of the track, which was an unexpected but very welcome introduction. The track guide itself features speeds, braking points and driving line based on a fictional lap at the wheel of a 1992 AMG Mercedes 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II touring car. Author, Joseph Twaronite, explains in the publication, â€œit is by no means meant to serve as a beginnerâ€™s guide to the â€˜ring as track conditions as well as car power, performance and handling will greatly vary.â€
The guide is presented in two parts, both using satellite imagery which gives an honest representation of the Nordschleife layout. First off is a summary of speeds and times which lists the corner names of the track with an English translation and description, as seen on Ben Lovejoyâ€™s NÃ¼rburgring website. While the listing on Benâ€™s website is a fantastic resource (especially with the German language audio), having the text beneath imagery of the track itself adds a new dimension.
This is followed by a detailed bend guide which uses a series of graphics and icons to show the driving line used, entry speeds, braking points and so on. Also indicated is the fall and rise of the track. The copy of the publication I am reviewing is the 2nd Edition (8 January 2008) which was produced in part due to some criticism of the original driving lines used in the 1st Edition. Accessed on 23 January 2008, a review of the 1st Edition on Ben Lovejoyâ€™s site read, â€œThe biggest drawback of the book, however, is that it does not show the Ideal-line. This is the line which you would normally want to use for tourist driving, as it is the fastest, smoothest and safest one. What is shown instead appears to be the fighting line, the one used in races to make it difficult for other drivers to overtake you. This is a very different line, and definitely not the recommended one for non-competitive drivingâ€¦â€. To be honest, having done just six laps of the track, I am in no position to judge on the merits of the line suggested, suffice to say, the original critique has been taken on board by the author and amendments were made in this edition.
At first, understanding and reading the graphics is a bit confusing, but once familiar with them you can begin to read the guide with better flow. Given the earlier note on the lines, speeds and times being based on a fictional lap behind the wheel of a purpose built race car it is easy to question the overall relevance of the information presented. However, this publication is, afterall, intended as a guide only and if you keep that in mind then this book can serve as a pleasing reference. Of course, the value of the detailed information will vary depending on the readerâ€™s knowledge and experience at the NÃ¼rburgring Nordschleife.
The guide is available from the internet based publishing website Lulu. The quality of reproduction is moderate, but I found it to be perfectly acceptable for this purpose. (Note: my photos of the document used in this review are not necessarily indicative of the quality of reproduction. Generally speaking, the quality is better than shown in these pics.) There are three sizes available and one of the sizes can be supplied with a hard cover, although I understand this option may take an extra week or so for delivery. I ordered the smaller size, which is A5 (148x210mm) and I found this format to be just right. Although, the text is on the smaller side, which was no problem for me, but if you have difficulty reading smaller sized text I would recommend one of the larger formats. It took just under three weeks from order to delivery in Australia for my copy to arrive. This was a bit longer than I had hoped, but not a major concern. The packaging from Lulu was very secure and there was little chance of the document being damaged in transit.
This book, while having some limitations, will take a welcome place on my bookshelf and if you have a keen interest in all things NÃ¼rburgring then I would expect you will get something useful from this book. There is also a poster available for purchase that includes an aerial image of the complete Nordschleife circuit.