Nordschleife masters at work

Over the 21km of the historic Nordschleife at the Nürburgring, blind corners and hills, steep gradients and frequently changing road surfaces demand everything from the driver. It’s exactly why the legendary Formula 1 driver, Jackie Stewart, called this merciless racetrack ‘The Green Hell’ – the ultimate motorsport challenge, for professional and enthusiastic amateur alike. Here, the participants of the Porsche Track Experience Master training courses drive at a high level, where they are given the time and professional guidance to learn how to take the ideal line and experience the intensity of the Nordschleife’s incredible stretch of curves. It makes them particularly well-informed on what are the Nürburgring’s greatest corners.

Here – and on its modern counterpart, the current Grand Prix circuit – everyday drivers become ambitious sports car drivers through the relentless succession of 87 corners. One thing’s for certain – everyone will find their perfect line with the help of the Porsche Track Experience instructors. With every corner mastered, you get ever closer to achieving a perfect flow around this circuit.

Driver in race helmet sat in car, looking into camera
Over two days, Porsche Track Experience Master drivers have plenty of time to test their limits

The heart-stopper: the Hatzenbach Passage

One of these ambitious drivers is Andreas. At 53, he has already experienced the legendary Nordschleife several times. For Andreas, when it comes to the Nürburgring’s greatest corners, it’s all about the Hatzenbach Passage, which he fell in love with during his very first experience of a Porsche Track Experience event in 2016. A fascinating ‘twister and turner’, he says of what is, in reality, a series of corners.

“The Green Hell’s topography challenges me every time. It’s fantastic,” says Andreas as he sits at the wheel of his lizard green 911 GT3 RS. When it’s his time to head out, first the Grand Prix course is calmly negotiated before he heads onto the Nordschleife itself. By the first corner, his heart is already hammering away in his chest. “If you reduce the pressure on your brake a little at the apex, the car becomes more stable,” says a voice crackling over his radio. Andreas devours his instructor’s feedback – he wants to hit the entry to the bend perfectly, taking the kerbs and lots of speed with him. But he’s not driving at his limit. Yet.

It took me at least 50 laps of the Nordschleife to get anywhere near knowing it
PeterPorsche Track Experience participant

The end of the braking phase is also the turn-in point for the first part of the double right-hand bend. After reaching the apex of the corner, Andreas progressively accelerates, keeping the steering wheel steady to balance the rear. This is the ninth time the Mainz native has taken part in a training session like this, but no track challenges him more than the Nordschleife, with those difficult corner combinations that make it such a benchmark in motorsport. Things are going to get exciting again going over the kerbs (known as ‘Rattersteine’), which briefly give Andreas a good shakedown before he turns into a left-hander. Here you can take your foot off the accelerator and breathe deeply for a moment, satisfied that you’ve just successfully negotiated one of the Nürburgring’s greatest corners.

Red Porsche 911 enters a left-hand corner at Nürburgring
With 21km of track ahead of you, drivers are rarely crowded out on the Nordschleife

Legendary driver. Legendary corner

“It took me at least 50 laps of the Nordschleife to get anywhere near knowing it,” says another driver, 40-year-old Peter. He has long since programmed the Nordschleife’s correct turning and braking points into his brain during hours of training. Newcomers need a lot of time to master the track and its centrifugal forces. Peter’s favourite corner is the Niki Lauda bend. A left-hand bend just before the pits, it’s one of the most famous spots on the circuit. “It’s not the corner that fascinates me,” he says, “but the braking point afterwards, with all its bumps.” 

An instructor in a helmet talks with a driver
You are in constant dialogue with your personal instructor on the Porsche Track Experience

Here, his Porsche 911 GT3 RS must be positioned correctly towards the pit area – and it’s important not to lose too much speed. Peter’s instructor tells him that it’s important to turn into the left-hand bend early and calmly. Look inwards and don’t let your car drift too far out to the right when you come out of the bend. Moments like this – driving the Nürburgring’s greatest corners over and over again, heading that little bit closer to perfection every time you do it – are among the most thrilling aspects of the Porsche Track Experience. On the Nordschleife you experience goosebump moments at every one of those 87 turns.

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