Race director Walter Hornung and the organizers of the 24h race at the Nürburgring yesterday's Saturday clearly stated: Without speed limit no 24h race and no 24h qualifying race. The mood during the driver's briefing was appropriate. Race with speed limits? Where is there something like that?
The speed limit on the Nordschleife
But what can we actually judge from the outside? What are danger spots? When are you too fast in a racing car? And is it really the case that a race with a speed limit is no longer dangerous enough and that is a reason to withdraw from racing? I cannot conclusively judge that. But I can let someone have their say who can do this.
Dieter Weidenbrück was on the track yesterday as part of the RCN race and was one of the first to come into contact with the speed limit on the Nordschleife. He commented on his Facebook profile as follows:
Speed limits on the Nordschleife
I had the dubious honor of testing the new speed limits of the Nordschleife in the race car as one of the first riders in the RCN race today. Here is a summary to avoid speculation.
Which Slow Zones are there?
There are two zones. One starts shortly after Hocheichen and ends behind the Schwedenkreuzkuppe. The other covers the entire Döttinger height. Since the post numbers will not tell the least, I use here general descriptions for orientation.
In addition, the maximum speed in the pit lane is limited to 30 km / h.
How are the zones marked?
At the beginning of a zone there is a white flashlight with a limit sign. At the end of the zone there is a green flashlight with a cancellation sign, just like in traffic. An overlook of these Flashlights is completely excluded. However, there is a tendency to glare, which is especially unpleasant at night.
(I hope the signs will be dismantled after the race, because there should be no limit signs anywhere between 200 and 250 km / h…)
Viewing the zone 1
The zone starts just behind the Hocheichenkurve and limited to 200 km / h. No car of the RCN, the VLN or the 24h starter field reaches 200 km / h at this point. Therefore nobody has to slow down there. ALL cars are able to drive up to full height and continue to accelerate. Only in the rise to the airfield then reach the fast vehicles in different places the limit. Even then you do not have to slow down, it just does not accelerate further.
Behind the airfield, on the right side of the downhill section, there is a sign raising the limit to 250 km / h. The sign is a bit inconspicuous, I had to search until I found it, even though I knew there had to be one. This is not exactly a place to look for traffic signs. Maybe you should also install a flashlight there.
Behind the Schwedenkreuzkuppe ends the 250 km / h zone. This point is not optimal in my opinion, because you blown over the top and in the next moment looks in the very bright Flashlight. Since it would be better to move this point further direction Aremberg to reduce the risk of glare.
Viewing the zone 2
The second zone begins at Döttinger Höhe in the area of the Audi bridge and is limited to 250 km / h. Again, there is no car in the starting field that would already reach 250 km / h at this point, so there is no risk of braking here either. The zone ends shortly before Antoniusbrücke, from there is free travel again. As in Zone 1, the cars reach the 250 km / h somewhere in the zone and are then not allowed to accelerate further.
Contemplation pit lane
Quite simply, that's nonsense. I have tried it myself today, with my SP6-Z4 I reach in idle in first gear just above 30 km / h. I let the car idle, then I stand after a few meters, because the engine lacks the flywheel. The lowest speed I could drive was 39 km / h (confirmed by radar). A lot of other drivers had the same problem. I'm curious how the GT3 or Cup Porsche want to do it.
I understand the desire to reduce risks in the pit lane, but this is not a viable way, especially since the risks do not arise when driving in the pit lane, but when putting in the box.
I do not see any risks from rear-end collisions. We have a completely different situation here than with Code-60. All cars without exception pass through the respective beginning of the zone fully accelerating, because they drive just well below the speed allowed there.
Already mentioned, I have the risk of glare especially at night. There should be improved again.
Critically, I see the end of the zones. Both zones end in areas where full concentration on the track is required. If you arrive at the Antonius Bridge with 250 km / h, then you have to aim for the left-hand bend and the Tiergarten, plus the traffic. In this situation in racing then still to 20 m in front of the bridge to look at the speedometer, so you do not get too fast, is not without, especially then not when you are in a duel (is indeed a popular place there for something ).
Impact on the competition
In order to achieve fair comparability, each car must be constantly monitored for maximum speed in each zone in two zones. That's a lot of GPS data against which no objection is possible. As with Code-60, I see some distortion here, as no one is able to measure so accurately that, given the tight lap times of top cars, it could safely say that there is not an advantage or disadvantage in the slow zones came. So exactly the GPS eye is simply not in my opinion.
Meaningfulness for the RCN
Slow Zones in the RCN are nonsense, sorry. It starts with the fact that there are at most 10 cars that need to worry about the slow zones at all. Furthermore, hardly a car is equipped with GPS, so that monitoring only by radar is possible, which is reminiscent of the accuracy of Austrian hedgerow gendarmes. Third, a lot of cars do not have a speedometer (like I do today), so guessing is a bit hard. Fourth, we always have a number of newcomers in the starting field who stare in awe at the sight of such a flashlight (like the car in front of me, which promptly hit the brakes at the sight of the first flashlight). It only adds uncertainty to the event with such measures, which for many years has proven that there simply are not the risks that have introduced the new restrictions.
The implementation of the slow zones is good if you like speed limits on racetracks. The main concerns I had about the accident risks are settled for me. What's left, I wrote above. About the pit lane you should quickly think again or provide enough horses to pull the cars through the pit lane.
Still, I think the measures are excessive and too complicated:
1. It would have been completely sufficient in my opinion to block the critical audience areas. This would immediately eliminate the risk to visitors. If really a lowering of the speeds is desired, then one could have achieved this also by temporary barriers, which protrude only so far in the roadway, that the cars must change the line and thereby lose speed. In addition, a passing ban on the spot and ready. If necessary, you could have fixed the piles in the ground next to the racetrack.
2. All measures that go beyond the protection of the spectators serve to reduce the risk of accidents for the participants. It should be clearly stated here that the Nissan accident is definitely an extreme situation. The risks posed by cars that are too fast for the Nordschleife are not limited to the sections of the slow zones. In this respect, risks will continue to exist - especially with wings that are now steeper, for example in the Fuchsröhre or in the kettle. That makes the Slow Zones appear as pure actionism. If, which is unlikely to be avoided, there is another “big” take-off in the Pflanzgarten II area to Schwalbenschwanz during the 24-hour race, then the DMSB will be asked why there was no slow zone there. And wherever GT3 cars can crash at high speed.
In one sentence: In my opinion too much actionism, but well implemented.
Dieter Weidenbrück was kind enough to give us permission to publish his article here.