Finally, a bailout for something that is actually cool has been extended to an entity that really deserves it. Germany’s famous Nurburgring, the legendary and infamous racetrack, has been bailed out by the government of Rhineland-Palatinate, the state of Germany “the Ring” occupies.
Government loan saves the Nurburgring
Daytona? Child’s play. Indianapolis? That’s for losers that don’t know how to turn in a direction that is not left. Many gear heads insist on the supremacy of one stretch of road, perhaps above all others, the Nurburgring. Situated in the Eiffel mountains of western Germany, the track is one of the most intimidating tracks in the world, with numerous turns, twists, dips and straights that test the limits of car and driver.
However, the track is in financial trouble. The company that operates the track, according to AutoGuide, is struggling with debts of almost $500 million and is serious danger of insolvency. However, the government of Rhineland-Palatinate, the state that “the ‘Ring,” as it’s often called sits in, has extended a loan to help save it. The Nurburgring bailout, according to AutoBlog, has allocated funds of 254 million euros (about $312 million) to pay the track’s debts.
Green Hell languishing in the red
The loan doesn’t pay the track’s entire debt, as the loan is only to help service a loan of 330 million euros borrowed by the track’s operators. The Nurburgring has been languishing for some time. The holding company, Nurburgring GmbH, according to The Guardian, borrowed 235 million euros in 2009 for development around the Nurburgring, which included, according to AutoWeek, a shopping mall, an amusement park, shops and hotels to attract tourists.
Though controlled by a holding company, the Nurburgring is 90 percent state-owned.
Since development, the track has been floundering, financially, though due almost entirely to the surrounding tourist complex. The section of the complex devoted to driving, i.e. the Nurburgring itself and most specifically the Nordschleife, or “north loop,” consistently generates a profit through automakers testing and public track days.
Formula One boss may buy it
Bernie Ecclestone, the head of Formula One, has said that he would personally buy the Nurburgring if that’s what it took to save the famous track. He might be waiting for it to fall even further, which would be very shrewd business-wise. The German Grand Prix Formula One race currently alternates between a race circuit in Hockenheim and the Nubrugring’s sudschleife, or “south loop.”
The track is infamous for the danger posed to drivers who aren’t able to handle it. Dozens of people have lost their lives there in accidents, both amateurs and, until races ceased on the northern circuit, Formula One drivers. Sir Jackie Stewart, three-time Formula One world championship labeled the track the “Green Hell,” given the dense foilage that surrounds it. Car makers often conduct testing there, honing steering, brakes and suspension on the track.
The Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2012/jul/18/nurburgring-formula-one-venue-insolvency