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Touristenfahrt

Rollcages and bucket seats banned from the 'Ring?

Details

drivingregs
(PDF file to download from Nuerburgring.de here)

It sounds pretty crazy, but if you read the new AGBs released by the Nordschleife's new management that's exactly what it looks like. No rollcages and no buckets seats on the Nürburgring Nordschleife during touristenfahrten (or public driving).

words2Needless to say, this news (which first took form as this public facebook post) has set both the German and English Nürburgring forums on fire. So let's take a closer look at the details...

Bucket seats:
Note the use of the word "full". It's believed that the true meaning of this statement is aimed at 'wrap-around' seats with neck restraints, the type you'd see in top-end GT cars. These restrict head movement and totally prevent over-the-shoulder checks before you change lanes. REMEMBER the Nordschleife during public sessions is a normal road. You cannot drive it like a race, only looking forward. When traffic approaches you from behind you have to yield and move over to the right. It's not a race. You can't just keep looking forward and hope that nobody tries to overtake.

Steering wheels:
Pretty simple, this one. If your car is so modified that you can't ingress or egress without removing the wheel, it's probably missing the point of TF. Add in fears of accident from knock-off eBay momo-replicas and this rule has appeared. I know of at least one accident caused by a steering wheel coming off, and it's why Rent4Ring's Caterham R300 Superlight nurburgring rental car has the fixed Momo instead of the normal removable item.

 
HANS Devices:

If you're at the level of driving where you're worried about 150mph roll-overs then, once again, you're missing the point of public driving. You're on track with regular family cars, busses and motorcycles. If you're driving that fast, shouldn't you be worried about the kids in the back seat of the car you might hit? I'm exaggerating a little, but that's what public driving is about. I suspect the official line will be about visibility - you can't turn your head properly in a HANS and that's bad for visibility.

Rollcages:
Unpadded cages have never been allowed at the 'Ring in my recent memory. That why Schug sells out of 42mm pipe insulation every Spring. No sharp bits, no unpadded metal. Simple. But the rumour mill is adding another 'rule' to the list. No restrictive door bars. Actually, they're saying no door bars higher than the steering wheel. Seems odd, but here's what I think...

The powers-that-be don't want race cars practicing in public driving.
bmw race car crash nurburgring

One look at the Doctor Doctor incident above will tell you why they're afraid of that. As much as we love going fast, the Nürburgring Nordschleife in public driving is for everybody. Camper vans, family cars, motorcycles, SUVs and anything else that can manage the 50kmh minimum speed.

While throwing a race-prepped saloon car into the middle of that is maybe no worse than a well-driven supercar, sometimes it's not just the equipment that's incompatible with the public driving spirit. It's the race driver attitude that's the problem (overtaking both sides, not checking mirrors, limping leaking cars back to the 'pits' instead of stopping). But whilever the management shun away from briefings or meaningful safety messages, they'll try to control these situations with simple rules like those above.

And what if you break those rules? That'll be a €250 fine, apparently. Yes, those rules include drifting, wrong-side overtaking etc... etc... here's to an exciting and interesting 2013!

penalty

 Public driving is public driving. It's not cheap race practice. It's not even a trackday. It's the Nürburgring Nordschleife open to the public...

Comments   

 
#11 PhilBarker 2013-01-09 15:55
Greg - absolute nonsense

I have a clio cup car that I track in the UK - it has a roll cage and bucket seats for safety on those days.

So I'm not allowed to take my prized car and experience the nurbugring with it just because I want to be safe on my UK track days?

Idiocy. You can't assume everyone with a proper race car will treat the nurburgring like a race. People just need to have some common sense when arriving, not be penalised for having a safe car.
 
 
#12 Greg Amy 2013-01-09 16:05
Quoting PhilBarker:
So I'm not allowed to take my prized car and experience the nurbugring with it just because I want to be safe on my UK track days?


That is correct, Phil. These are Touristenfahrt days, not track days. If you want to track your track car then sign up for the track car days.

It's not "idiocy", Phil, it's common sense. I don't know you, and I'm quite certain you have skills that exceed those around you. But if you go out there on Touristenfahrt days in a track car with a track-car-attit ude, then you are not "safer", you are the problem. If you're not going out there with a track-car-attit ude, then there is no need to for additional safety equipment. And if you believe there is a need for that add'l safety equipment, then you therefore believe it is unsafe for others to be out there without that equipment, thus you morally must work to cancel the Touristenfahrt days entirely, making the track only available to those on track car days and above, with minimum-require d safety equipment.

Can't have it both ways.

GA
 
 
#13 PhilBarker 2013-01-09 16:16
But for me it's a holiday, with friends. And I drive the 'ring with respect to others and understanding that it's just a toll road.

I don't go around 1" from everyones bumper like I would on a track day.

Yet they have decided that because my car is a well specced track car - I am more dangerous than a 17 year old in a skyline with no track experience at all. It's a very very strange decision to make.

I understand there is no need for track equipment when taking it easy, but I can hardly un-weld my roll cage and fit the standard interior back in every time I go on holiday can I?
 
 
#14 Greg Amy 2013-01-09 16:29
Quoting PhilBarker:
Yet they have decided that because my car is a well specced track car - I am more dangerous than a 17 year old in a skyline with no track experience at all. It's a very very strange decision to make.

Not really. The problem is that the bored guys at the toll gates have no way to distinguish you, in a spec'd track, from a 17-year-old in a spec'd track car. They're generalizing.

It's human nature - illustrated through numerous studies and backed up by my own observation experience in track cars as an instructor*, and as a racer - that when someone gets add'l safety equipment they tend to take more chances. Granted, same thing seems to happen when they're in higher-perf cars, too.

Unless the track is willing to create "grades" of licenses, where someone needs to demonstrate their experience in order to be allowed a higher level of "safety" equipment on tourist days, the guys watching the tollgates have to generalize as they do now with video recorders and timing equipment. Cages, steering wheels, and such have been added to that "watch list" because those guys TEND to get into bad situations more often.

It's unfortunate that it's come down to this, Phil, but it's inevitable. To this day I'm still shocked that we can still do it at all (can't in the USA; you want track time, gotta run track days)...I suspect that unless the level of over-driving is tampered down some, these opportunities may go away soon.

GA

* These days I refuse to instruct novices in higher-performa nce cars, such as turbo Porsches, Ferraris, and Nissan GTR. Something about putting on a helmet and getting on a track makes people go nutcase...
 
 
#15 CanisLupus 2013-01-11 23:19
Quoting PhilBarker:
But for me it's a holiday, with friends. And I drive the 'ring with respect to others and understanding that it's just a toll road.

I don't go around 1" from everyones bumper like I would on a track day.

Yet they have decided that because my car is a well specced track car - I am more dangerous than a 17 year old in a skyline with no track experience at all. It's a very very strange decision to make.

I understand there is no need for track equipment when taking it easy, but I can hardly un-weld my roll cage and fit the standard interior back in every time I go on holiday can I?


Roll Cages ARE Allowed! It's overly restrictive Door Protection bars that are banned! Same thing with bucket seats they ARE allowed! It's just the full buckets which restrict visibility that are NOT allowed and HANS Systems.

It seems that many people still don't understand that the Tourist rides are Officially on a public road so german laws apply. Letting cars with Full buckets, Helmet wearing drivers, HANS Systems and other Race equipment drive on the track was just a favor of the Nurburgring Officials. On every other road in germany you would have been sanctioned by the german police with such equipment...
If you want to race get on a Track Day on the Nordschleife otherwise you have to accept that it's just a Public Toll road and that "full" Race Cars were just tolerated. ;)
 
 
#16 Varsity 2013-01-13 13:10
Sorry, I must have just been blinded by the attention grabbing headline here.

Of course they are not banned, but common sense says that anything thats OTT should be.

The season is here so lets enjoy it.

Cheers
 
 
#17 doug5431 2013-01-19 16:15
does anyone know the correct detail about the roll cage door bars, as i am just having my cage fitted to e36 m3 ready for ring trips this year -

the door bars must not be higher than the steering wheel - does this mean the bottom of the wheel or the middle etc?

Can anyone clarify - its quite important comment and i dont want to be stopped upon arrival.

thanks, Doug
 
   

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