EPICness at the 1956 German Grand Prix

The Nürburgring Is EPIC.

Nearly every season that I cover the German GP in Nürburg, Germany, I am compelled to share my feelings about the ‘ring.  I must admit that I am a bit of a bromantic when it comes to this race track.  Here’s its recipe for greatness:

Start with an average race track, say twelve turns and about 3.5 miles long.  Now, multiply it by itself.  The exponential result would be a monster ribbon of circuit with closer to 144 turns and 14 miles.  Now, plop a small mountain and foothills underneath that ribbon of asphalt and concrete.  Let’s even put a modest castle in the middle of it.  The result is the Nurburgring.

To attack the track at race speed is to tempt fate’s fortunes.  The ‘Ring is a strange beast, indeed.  Such a track could not be built today.  That would require a certain amount of nationalism and state-sponsorship that is simply not possible in the modern political-economic climate.  Some might suggest this track is an anachronism.  But, can something that still presents a significant challenge to those who attack it, be irrelevant?  Perhaps, neither gladiators nor jousters are still around.  Conversely, it remains equally possible that this course has a soul all its own which will continue to captivate people from all walks of life.  At least, that is my hope.  Yet, I’m afraid that I will live to see the day this fantastic course closes its doors.  Although Grand Prix races have not taken place here in decades, it is not only raced by touring cars but also generally open to the public.  Please enjoy the following footage mashup from when F1 cars ruled the ‘ring:

1956 German Grand Prix:

A lot of the notations I read on this race started predictably.  Usually, it was something to the effect of, “Fangio an easy winner.”  I disagree.  Fangio did not just win the 1956 German GP, he absolutely crushed it.  In fact, he broke the 17 year old track record by a significant amount of time.  In any event, he led all 22 laps around the monstrous circuit.

On another note, the on-going verbal assaults between Enzo Ferrari and his driver Fangio had cooled…a little.  Fangio had received a concession giving him permission to have mechanics of his own choosing.  With that being said, here’s some old-timey footage: