The Golden Gate Bridge, the Eiffel Tower, and the Leaning Tower of Pisa are just some of the world’s most stunning manufacturing feats. Thousands of hours of hard work were driven into these magnificent constructions, and throughout history the world has been fascinated at those engineering geniuses who have created such masterpieces.
There are also loads of architecturally impressive assemblies in the sporting industry. For example, the Estádio do Maracanã in Rio, and the Beijing National Aquatics Centre. However, one cauldron of sporting and music greatness, which has existed for almost a century, is the Nürburgring.
Created and launched in less than two years, the Nordschleife, translated as the North Loop, was built in 1925, with its official opening which took place in 1927. Rudolf Caracciola, who went onto win a European Drivers’ Championship, the F1 equivalent prior to 1950, laid claim to the first ever motorcar race on the 22.8km circuit.
After Rudolf’s 1984 victory, a new GP layout was created. Racing greats such as Jackie Stewart, Nikki Lauda, and Stirling Moss all had proved their worth as they negotiated their Formula 1 vehicles around the circuit. Nowadays, the vast majority of records at Nurburg are dominated by German drivers, including the most successful Formula 1 driver of all time, Michael Schumacher.
The complex hosts an incredible capacity of 150,000 and the track itself features over 154 high-speed corners. The track is not one to be taken lightly, with more than 200 people having lost their lives here since its unveiling in 1927. It is a true pinnacle of German motoring and in 1947, it was Nürburgring which helped reignite a spark for automotive love in the nation.
The Bavarian Motor Works is a favourite to many when considering marks of class within the automotive industry. Based in Munich, BMW has connotations the world over of premium automotive engineering. Since their invention in 1913 and the launch of their first passenger vehicle, the Dixi, the manufacturers have been known globally as creators of luxury vehicles. Over the years, BMW has developed a plethora of iconic, and quite frankly, outstanding vehicles, from racing cars, to SUVs, and most recently electric alternatives.
Although, when one considers one of Germany’s greatest motor sporting circuits with one of the nation’s greatest automotive brands, was the relationship a positive step for both? Throughout time, the Nürburgring has played home to thousands of time trials, testing the genuine capabilities of vehicles, on, what 2014 Nürburgring 24 Hour winner, René Rast described as: “one of the most challenging tracks in the world.” In this article, we take a look at how BMW has performed throughout those trials, pinpointing some of the greatest vehicles that are flying the flag for Germany in their own backyard.
Production vehicles – road-legal
BMW M4 GTS
This BMW M4 GTS is known to be very rare, with less than 30 of them arriving in the UK when they were first made. However, it exists as BMW’s most powerful production vehicle ever established, delivering a top speed of 190mph. Innovation was at play when the manufacturers were at work on this car, with weight reduction a consistent consideration, helping the 493bhp engine achieve 0-60mph in under 3.8 seconds. Behind the wheel, the vehicle offers no shuttering movements that you might come to expect with a vehicle of such high-performance delivery. This helps the driver to achieve an optimum apex strike at every opportunity. At the ring, the GTS, negotiated by Christian Gebhardt, lapped in 7:37, considerably quicker than the Bugatti Veryon 16.4 and the Lamborghini Gallardo LP570-4 Superleggera.
The BMW M5 is known to be one of the companies most loved vehicles. Launched initially in 1985, the car has been through a series of revamps, to finally reach the eight-speed automatic transition that the current model sports, in alignment with its 4.4 litre engine. The saloon car is a hard-hitting, two tonne vehicle bursting at the seams with unrestricted power. Once again, Christian Gebhardt took the M5 around the West German circuit in 7:38:92 — a blistering pace for a saloon car.
BMW 1 Series M Coupé
Although other models of the M5 and M4 lapped the track faster than the BMW 1 Series, this hatchback, which is most closely recognisable to the Audi RS3, is fueled with compact power — 335bhp of it to be exact. The 450Nm of torque, was enough to see Horst von Saurma manipulate Nürburgring in 8:15 — more than a second quicker than Japanese Supercar, the Honda NSX.
Concept – Non-road legal vehicles
BMW M3 CSL Supercharged by Loaded
The M3 is a favourite amongst many automotive fanatics, and it wouldn’t be a complete list discussing the capacity of a BMW around the Nürburgring without including this model. The saloon style four-door which arrived on the scene in the mid-eighties has, for its lifetime, been adored by petrol heads throughout the globe. A 3.0 litre engine churning out 425bhp, capable of returning 0.60 in four seconds, is what the vehicle offers as standard. However, this vehicle, by Loaded, is by no means a standard car, explaining why it was capable of clocking a 7:22 with Richard Göransson at the helm back in 2007. The M3, which was predicted to be outputting more than 600bhp, was quicker round the North Loop than the Pagani Zonda — and its worth more than a million dollars.
It should not be surprising that one of the most important brands, not only in Germany, but in the world’s automotive industry, has performed with such excellence in the circuit steeped in Deutsch history.