The Nürburgring, or “The Ring”, is a motor racing track situated in Germany. As a truly impressive Formula One circuit, the Nürburgring winds its way through the beautifully wooded hills of Germany’s Eifel plateau. Based around the town of Nürburg, the unique Nürburgring F1 circuit overlooks the remnants of a medieval castle, providing a challenging circuit in remarkable surroundings which attracts large crowds for every event.
The racing circuit of Nürburg was an idea formulated by Dr. Creutz in the 1920s. The original Ring, called Nordschleife, was opened in 1927 and is still used today. This circuit covered an impressive 14 miles or 22.5 km with 172 corners. Many drivers battled to remember the racing line of the complicated Nordschleife circuit. The Nürburgring was actually made up of two circuits, the Nordschleife and the Sudschleife which joined a the paddock with the pits and grandstand. The old Nürburgring was the site of many impressive races such as the time Jackie Stewart won a race in 1968 whilst his wrist was in plaster and the track was covered with fog. Unfortunately, the old track was plagued by safety issues. In 1976 F1 driver Niki Lauda suffered a bad accident in which he sustained severe burns. At the end of 1976 Nürburgring’s license as an F1 circuit was removed.
Over time the Nürburgring was revamped and the new circuit was opened in 1984 covering 4.556km with 14 turns. During the 1984 inaugural race it was decided that they would pit some of Formula One’s greatest drivers against each other in 20 equal Mercedes 190Es. The line-up of famous drivers included Niki Lauda, Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna, Phil Hill, Denny Hulme, Keke Rosberg, James Hunt, John Surtees and Carlos Reutemann. Senna took the lead, beating Lauda by a small margin.
The European Grand Prix was hosted at the Nürburgring F1 track in 1984 and 1985 but not after that due to financial problems. For some time the Nürburgring played no role in Grand Prix, but ran several other events during this time, both on a club and international level. Fans did not abandon the Ring though and turned out in large numbers on race days.
As Michael Schumacher burst onto the F1 scene, Formula One was brought back to the Nürburgring race circuit. The Ring hosted the European GP in 1995 and 1996 and then the new Luxemburg GP in 1997 and 1998. From 1999 through to 2006 it became the resident venue of the European Grand Prix. As of 2007 the Nürburgring Formula One circuit will host the German Grand Prix on alternating years with Hockenheim.
The F1 season has just drawn to a close and now it is time for all the other forms of racing to do likewise for the year. After a grueling year, Nicolas Prost has come on out top, becoming the 2009 F3000 Champion.
Since it was introduced to take over from F2 racing in 1985, F3000 racing has been an exciting and difficult avenue of racing that only the best of the best can hope to participate in as they work their way towards fulfilling dreams of racing in Formula One. F3000 racing is very similar to what one would encounter in F1 racing and it is a stepping stone for drivers heading to that aspect of auto racing. It is grueling, exacting and physically and mentally demanding. Crowds can enjoy all the thrills and spills of top-speed auto racing and drivers quickly gain a reputation for being really good or reliably reckless. Hence it is completely understandable that Nicolas Prost is ecstatic about being crowned the 2009 F3000 Champion.
It seems that the winner of the 2009 F3000 European Championship was decided on the tenth lap of the final race held at the Magione track. Nicolas Prost won the championship through points and through a lucky turn of events that saw his close rival, Adam Khan (TP Formula) being forced to leave the track and fall far behind in points. Though Adam Khan did try to recover his position when he later returned to the race, he never quite got it right. Prost was fortunate enough to have collected enough points during the course of the season to win the Championship season, despite only finishing seventh in the final race. The actual race was won by Fabrizio Crestani (GP Racing), who took the lead in the first few laps of the race and managed to hold his position for the majority of the race. He was followed by Romanini, Gonzales, Onidi, Gianmaria, Razia and Zapata e Khan in that order.
Commenting on his victory, Prost said: “I’m so happy for this title because I was very keen on winning it, not because I’m Nicolas Prost but because I like doing things at 100%.” Talking about his difficulty at keeping himself in the top seven, Prost remarked: “After the accident in Race 1, the car wasn’t completely ok even if the guys were great to repair it thus letting me start again. Unfortunately I had some vibrations. On this track it’s very difficult to overtake and so starting tenth it was impossible to win the race. I would have liked to win the title with a podium, but it’s fine anyway. I hope this title can help me in the future as I would like to do a test with a Ferrari F1.” Only time will tell if Prost will see his dream through, but for the meantime he can feel very proud of his new championship title.