So much for hope.
The NÃ¼rburgring is for sale. Everything. The failed NÃ¼roDisney complex, the Grand Prix track and, worst of all, the famed Nordschleife circuit. Full private ownership, with no government involvement, is imminent.
And the locals are worried.
Dale Lomas from Bridge To Gantry has complemented the sterling work done by Mike Frison by bringing some English language coverage of the goings on:
Jens Lieser, the state-appointed liquidator, has gone on record to say that the whole thing is for sale, not just the concrete jungle of arena, museum and impotent rollercoaster. A potential buyer could walk away from the table with the F1-spec Grand Prix circuit and the humongous money-maker that is the 20.8km Nordschleife. Maybe it will be sold in pieces, maybe it will be sold in one chunk. Not only is this some prime real estate, but it’s practically the centre of the automotive universe.
On the positive side perhaps an understanding benefactor is out there ready snap up the NÃ¼rburgring for the bargain basement â‚¬125 million asking price. Remember, over â‚¬400 million of taxpayer’s money has been wasted on the ‘Ring over the last few years. Apparently there are 5â€“10 interested buyers.
What would the possible future of public days be under total private ownership? Mike Frison had this to say in an interview with Bridge To Gantry:
Touristenfahrten are public traffic under normal German traffic rules, you see the blue “KraftfahrstraÃŸe” sign, when you enter the road (road, not track). This is the reason, why there is no speed limit (KraftfahrstraÃŸe has no speed restriction, like German Autobahn, when there is more than one lane and wide Nordschleife road qualifies for double lane.)
This is all fine, when operated by the Government, because this is what they do: operate roads. Once turned into private property, things become tricky. Richter/Lindner have been able to keep status-quo for the two years of their operation, but there is no guarantee.
Money is just one factor, but risk / liability and the possibility to operate a public road are others. Right now you are able to involve traffic police, like on every other public road. But what happens, when owned and operated by a private company? For nothing else than profit reasons? Nobody can tell.
A successful investor needs to take all these factors into consideration and will favour the easier route. On top they don’t have the social responsibility Governments have, which is to attract tourists, secure jobs and operate sports venues.
Public days are the lifeblood of the local community, the hotels, the car rental businesses. They are right to be concerned over what the future may bring. We can only cross our fingers that some good news and a bright future is waiting around the next blind corner.
Tonight (Australian time) Mike Frison, from Save the Ring, will be leading a protest from NÃ¼rburg to Mainz, the state capital of Rhineland-Palatinate, where NÃ¼rburg is located. The banner they will form under is “Stop the sale of the NÃ¼rburgring!” Over 550 people have confirmed their attendance, we wish them well and hope their voices are heard.