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Nurburg, Rhineland-Palatinate

The old ‘Ring is the greatest road racing circuit in the world. With 14 miles and 176 corners, the Nordschleife is a never-ending succession of evocative turns and changing gradient. After the start, which is dominated by a castle overlooking Nurburg village, the cars race out into the mountains, to Flugplatz, Adenau Bridge, Karussel, Wippermann, Pflanzgarten, Tiergarten and so on. The Nurburgring’s organisers tried to keep it up to date over the years – resurfacing the track in 1957 and completely rebuilding large parts of it in 1970. But after Niki Lauda’s near fatal accident at Bergwerk in 1976, the CSI ruled that the circuit was no longer safe for Formula 1. Instead, government investment helped build a modern Grand Prix track at the old start/finish area. The result was an uninspiring "designed-by-computer" venue that suffers in comparison with the original. The old pits were replaced with a new complex, and a modern hotel now overlooks the startline. The circuit length was increased in 2002 by the introduction of a new infield loop after Turn 1. Thankfully for enthusiasts, the old circuit is still used for the annual Nurburgring 24 Hours.