Nürburgring, 16th August 2012. Before the six BMW DTM drivers take to the track for their first practice laps of the Nürburgring (DE), they experienced the “Green Hell” and the impressive landscape of the Eifel Mountains from an all-new perspective. Martin Tomczyk (DE), Joey Hand (US), Bruno Spengler (CA), Dirk Werner (DE), Andy Priaulx (GB) and Augusto Farfus (BR) visited the historic Nürburg Castle – the region’s spectacular trademark that sits on top of a hill above the circuit and symbolises the long history of the Nürburgring.
There’s only the ruins left of the Castle which was built in the 12th century. It is situated on a 678-metre high hill. At the foot of it, the BMW drivers first took a close look at what is left of the Castle chapel. A footpath that slowly wound up the hill led them to an imposing gate, and they entered the interior of the Castle which is protected by a thick stone wall.
“It’s the first time I’m standing right here in the Castle,” said Farfus, who won the Nürburgring 24 Hours back in 2010, driving a BMW M3 GT. “Until now I have only looked at it from down below at the track. Imagining how the people built this Castle 900 years ago without using any modern machinery is really impressive. You feel the history of the place. It’s this kind of history, with the Middle Ages and the castles, we don’t have in Brazil. That’s why I’m always excited when I come back to the Eifel region and see the Nürburg Castle again.”
The most striking feature of the Castle is its massive tower. Via a spiral staircase the BMW drivers climbed up to the parapet, enjoying a unique view over the mountains, the deep valleys and – of course – the Nürburgring with its paddock and the grandstands. The visit to the Castle for them was a nice change during the intense preparations for the sixth race of the DTM season.
“For me as an American, historic sites like this are fascinating,” commented Hand. “This is history you can touch, and when motorsport plays a role it is even more exciting. The view from above is simply fantastic. I took a lot of souvenir pics, because this visit to the Nürburg Castle is not an everyday affair.”
Priaulx also enjoyed the short trip on Thursday. “I always love coming back to the Eifel Mountains,” the 2005 winner of the 24-hour race in the BMW M3 GTR said. “I like the landscape a lot, and I had huge success here in the past. The Nürburgring has a great tradition in motorsport. The atmosphere is just unique. I am really looking forward to the weekend, which for BMW is a very special one. On the one hand we are again competing in DTM after so many years, while on the other we are celebrating a big birthday: 40 years of M. Even if have won at the Nürburgring already, it is something completely different to drive the BMW M3 DTM here. It is my aim to collect as many points as I can.”