What would have prevented yesterday's Nürburgring crash?

Illustration for article titled What would have prevented yesterday's Nürburgring crash?

Since yesterday's eight-car crash during a public day on the Nürburgring — known as touristenfahrten — more details have emerged about the cars involved and how the construction zone likely contributed to the multicar mishap.


To recap, police say the accident occurred as four cars on a hot lap bore down on a construction zone just after the 'ring's Bergwerk ("mine") section. One of those cars couldn't stop in time and collided with the car ahead of it, slid into the grass and then reentered the track, where he crashed into the other two vehicles. Three other cars approached from the rear and slowed, but an eighth car, the ring taxi, collided with one of the cars and wound up against the Armco at the left of the track.

The cars involved (not in order of the crash) were a Corvette Z06, a Porsche 911 (RSR clone?) an E36 BMW 3-Series, an E30 BMW 3-Series, two Vauxhall VXR220s, an E92 BMW M3 and the BMW M3 ring taxi.

A video taken earlier in the day shows a construction warning sign positioned at the end of the high-speed Bergwerk turn, just over a crest of a hill, followed by a coned-off, speed-restricted zone. A line of high-performance cars was already backing up.

As Nürburgring fan site Bridge to Gantry points out, the warning sign as positioned meant cars had to brake from more than 120 mph, over a crest, down to just 30 mph. With four cars entering the zone at those speeds at the same time, a crash was inevitable.

If the track work simply must have had to go on during a public day, during which the circuit's least-experienced drivers are in play, perhaps a less-abrupt slowdown would have been called for.

Illustration for article titled What would have prevented yesterday's Nürburgring crash?

Maybe some additional track marshalls waving orange flags, or just some static flares — placed earlier in the section might have kept drivers out of the throttle, increasing their chances of making that bottleneck unscathed. It seems simple, but apparently nothing's simple on the Green Hell. (For more deep background, check out Dale Lomas's article on Bridge to Gantry.)


Matt Brown

I blame Obama