“The Nurburgring hits further financial trouble”
According localised German news site, Die Rhein-Zeitung, the latest bid to save the world famous Nurburgring Nordschleife from bankruptsy may have collapsed.
For the past several years, the land containing the famed circuit has been mired in debt following an ill-thought out plan by investors, ‘Nurburgring Automotive GmbH’ (NAG), to turn part of the land into a leisure park.
This including building a hotel, shopping mall, event arena, kart track and – believe it or not – a roller coaster. Unfortunately many of the features have remained vacant, while the roller coaster was soon closed following safety concerns.
The operation has left the Nurburgring hugely in debt to the state of Rhineland Palatinate, with some €330 million owed to the state bank and an additional €83 million having come from share holders. Since the beginning of the fallout in 2009, allegations of fraud have also been levelled at members of NAG and the local government.
A study for the state by UK-based accountancy firm Ernst & Young valued the complex at “only” €126 million.
Attempts to save the ‘Ring have so far proved fruitless and yesterday, the Nurburgring took another hit when a plea to the EU Brussels for a regional bailout grant of €13 million was discarded. An additional plea for a suspension of interest payments on the debt was also refused.
In recent months, the local government appear either unwilling or unable to maintain the debt and with control no longer in their hands, administration proceedings will decide the next step for the Nurburgring.
One of the world’s oldest and most prestigious circuits, the Nurburgring has played host to some of the greatest races in motor racing history since its inauguration in 1927.
Nick-named “The Green Hell” by Sir Jackie Stewart, the Nurburgring’s original layout proved not only to be tough animal, but also a dangerous one that nearly claimed the life of Niki Lauda during the 1976 German Grand Prix.
The German Grand Prix still visits the current Nurburgring layout every two years, with the next Formula 1 race during in 2013; however it is unclear how the latest events will affect operations beyond the end of this season.
This news comes of days after German manufacturer Audi broke the lap record for an electric car at the circuit. The Audi R8 e-tron, driven by Markus Winkelhock, lapped the mammoth track in 8:09.099 minutes, backed up by an output of 280 kW.
It compares to a record 7:11.57 minutes for a production car with a combustion engine, achieved by Gumpert Apollo Sport, powered by a 700PS Audi V8 petrol engine. Production for the Audi R8 e-tron begins later this year.