March 7, 2014

Americans buy the Nürburgring, eliminate all right turns.

Schwedenkreuz and the Karussel will stay but say good bye to  Flugplatz, Aremberg, Brünchen.... and if anyone crashes, they will sue.  The Americans are coming, the Americans are coming!

By now you have read many articles about the (likely) sale of Nürburgring, a.k.a. the debacle in the Eiffel,  to a US based private equity firm.   Sentiments runs the gamut from the predictably ridiculous, to the doom and gloom to the optimistic.

Setting aside 'Murica eagles over the Karusell, who's right:  the optimists or the pessimists?   Both actually.

Mike Frisson,  founder of Save the Ring, is the conscience of the die hard, grass roots ringers.    His view is that the Ring is essentially a national treasure that should be run as a non profit rather than be in private hands.   He sees costs going up and access more and more restricted to a wealthy elite.
Problem is,  the Germans (or at least some Germans) already messed up the 'Ring experience, it's already hideously expensive and, at least the last we were there, you had to pay to even take a piss.
The Germans are always happy to refer to other European nations as "mafiosos"  but the Mafia around the ring, from the politicians to the tow truck operators is quite well established, danke.

Dale Lomas represents the pragmatists.   Dale works with one of the car rental agencies at the Ring so he really has no choice but to think the best.   He points out this latest buyout attempt is being led by a true tracktard,  one who happens to have worked at Goldman-Sachs.   Meyrick Cox told Dale of big investment plans including cameras all around the track and GPS for every car,  it all sounds very exciting.
For sure it will not be the ring you know.

I was discussing with CG, who is in PE,  about how he would approach such a project.  Even without knowing the specifics of the financials of the Ring, the main formula for success from the investor side  would obviously  be to maximize profits and value.   He would develop branding and merchandizing,  make sure there is more efficiency in getting people out of the parking lot and onto the track during the Tourist days.  If you've been there  on a busy day you know what a mess that is.

The question of liability also came up.  If, as part of the deal.  the track stops being a public road then the liability burden on the owners would increase substantially.   Ways of lowering liability that might be looked at would be limiting, segregating or perhaps even eliminating bikers on public days.    I would guess the same might apply to those familiar sites on track: tour busses and overloaded station wagons carrying whole families,  who knows.

Another obvious way to limit liability would be to increase safety, signals would certainly be a good thing as a huge number of accidents are caused by people blindly coming onto either a spill of a crash, unsighted.

Whatever the result, things will certainly change at the Ring.  Shame because it will not the "wild west" adventure it once was but, you could argue, nobody could mess it up more than the Germans themselves have in the past decade.


  1. That was like the worst text anyone could possibly write about this issue. But, on the other side, I should expect that coming from a redneck, you guys can´t but imaging yourselves "saving" (aka invading) every country in this world just to set up your lousy principles, and to argue that every nation is messing up everything and just bloody americans can bring it to an end saving it, can you? What´s next? A rodeo inside the Ring? 3 Walmart stores at the parking lot? Machinegun rental for kids? Drilling for oil on every curve? McDonald´s drive through instead of the pit lane? shame...

  2. Well, for the record, I'm Italian and CG is Colombian. Then, with all due respect, it was not Americans who built the Nurburgdisney mall with the non working roller coaster, wasting hundreds of million if public funds and precipitating the current situation. Right ?

  3. Somebody drink your milkshake?

  4. Video footage of that bus cornering ??? Sooooo interested xD


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