The 1952 German GP

The Nürburgring

The Nürburgring is as epic is they come.  For those not familiar with the track, it is a true monster.  Now, the original track is known as the “North Loop.”  In 1952, the original track was 14.1 miles long.  That’s the distance you would travel if you warmed up, ran a half-marathon, and then did a few moments of cool down.  Well, that puts running the track well outside of my reach.

Nurburgring Vintage Topographical map

I just found this picture and am pretty excited about it.  I’m a big fan of this angle of maps–oh wow, I really am a massive nerd.  In any event, I think this map shows the absolute awesomeness of the track.  It’s an absolutely insane idea to look at these hills on a map, and decide that the biggest track in the world must be built.  The dark side, is it was fueled by nationalism, and I will leave it there.  Also, let us not forget that America has used the same economic principles: the hoover damn, for one.

So, as a national wonder, the Nürburgring makes sense.  As a racetrack, it is a fire breathing beast.  There is nothing this track wants more than to destroy your vehicle before you can complete a lap.  It’s “172 Kerves” are impossibly complex.  The ever changing pavement and similar terrain confuses the driver, making them question themselves at their most vulnerable moments of speed.  I wish there were more tracks like this.  But, there can be only one, Nürburgring.

It

took place on a sunny August 3, 1952.  Officially, it was the XV Groβer Preis van Deutschland.  Ascari took pole for Scuderia Ferrari with a respectable time of 9:56.0 around the ‘ring.  Here’s what I think is interesting, Farina qualified only 2.4 seconds behind and the third place qualifier was only 3 seconds off Ascari’s pole time.  This would be expected on an average track.  But, over 100+ corners, this kind of consistency suggests the top drivers were running inch perfect consistency around every corner.  For me, this is unfathomable, that before simulators, one could memorize this track.

The race itself, was pretty straight forward.  It was another “hey, look Ferrari’s awesome” type of race.  Ascari led the first 16 laps.  Eventually, he pitted, and his teammate Guiseppe Emilio “Nino” Farina, took the lead.  Ascari, ever the master, got in high gear.  He made up for the entire lengthy, old-timey pit stop in under two laps, catching and passing Farina with about a mile to the checkered-flag.

 

 

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