It’s incredible how far safety measures have come since the daredevil era of the sixties and seventies. As seen here, this harrowing onboard ride through the tree-lined Nordschliefe shows how much danger drivers of yesteryear had to contend with. Compared to today’s circuits, the vintage Nordschliefe looks unimaginably dangerous. Without runoff areas, barricades or sandtraps, the smallest error could spell a fatal disaster. Without question, the men who raced in that era deserved every penny they earned.
The reality of the matter is that back then, drivers had to be slightly daredevil to race. With narrow, crossply tires and miles of suspension travel, the cars required a very delicate touch and had to be caressed around the track to get the most out of them. Furthermore, without carbon fiber monocoques and fire suppression systems, spearing off the track into a wall often meant fire or a career-ending crash.
Nonetheless, the drivers seemed to be unfazed by the danger looming around most of the corners at the unforgiving
“Green Hell,” as the Nurburgring was affectionately known by. Dropping their tires across the dips and gutters, sliding sideways over crests and leaving the braking very late, these two drivers appear fearless. Set to upbeat music that engages the viewer, this video almost seems like a joyride down a country lane — but in reality, there is little lighthearted about this drive.
Flirting with the limit around the Nordschliefe must take a certain joie de vivre, but the drivers are intently focused on the task at hand — and they have to be. Racing in that era was almost a different sport altogether, but for better or worse, things have changed dramatically since then.