The new Nürburgring was completed in 1984 and called GP-Strecke. It was built to meet the highest safety standards, but was considered in character a mere shadow of its older sibling. Some fans, who had to sit much further away from the track, called it Eifelring, Ersatzring, Green Party Ring or similar, believing it did not deserve to be called Nürburgring.
To celebrate its opening, an exhibition race was held, on May 12th, featuring an array of notable drivers. Driving identical Mercedes 190E 2.3-16, the line-up was Jack Brabham, Phil Hill, Dennis Hulme, James Hunt, Jacques Laffite, Niki Lauda, Carlos Reutemann, Keke Rosberg, Jody Scheckter, Manfred Schurti, Ayrton Senna and John Watson. Senna won ahead of Lauda, Reutemann, Rosberg, Watson, Hulme and Jody Scheckter.
Besides other major international events, it has seen the brief return of Formula One to the 'Ring, as the 1984 European Grand Prix was held at the track, followed by the 1985 German Grand Prix; the only time thus far that the "new" Nürburgring has hosted its country's race. As F1 did not stay, other events were the highlights at new the Ring, 1000km Nürburgring, DTM, motorcycles, and rather new type of events, like Truck Racing, Vintage car racing at the AvD "Oldtimer Grand Prix", and even the "Rock am Ring" concerts.
Following the success and first world championship of Michael Schumacher, a second German F1 race was held at the Ring between 1995 and 2006, called the European Grand Prix or, in 1997 and 1998, the Luxembourg Grand Prix.
For 2002, the track was changed, by replacing the former "Castrol-chicane" at the end of the start/finish straight by a sharp righthander (nicknamed "Haug-Hook"), in order to create an overtaking opportunity. Also, a slow Omega-shaped section was inserted, on the site of the former kart track. This extended the GP track from 4500m to 5200m, while at the same time, the Hockenheimring was shortened from 6800m to 4500m.
In recent years, both the Ring and the Hockenheimring events have been losing money due to high and rising license fees charged by Bernie Ecclestone and low attendance due to high ticket prices; starting with the 2007 Formula 1 season, Hockenheim and Nürburgring will alternate for hosting of the German GP.
The Ring has, however, kept its association with the tragic. Despite the high standards, a few single-seater drivers were paralysed or killed in freak accidents. In F1, Ralf Schumacher hit his brother in 1997, which may have cost Michael the championship. In 1999, in changing conditions, Johnny Herbert managed to score the only win for the team of former Ringmeister Jackie Stewart. One of the highlights of the 2005 season was Kimi Räikkönen's spectacular exit, while in the last lap of the race, when his suspension gave way after being rattled lap after lap by a flat-spotted tyre that was not changed due to the short lived one set of tyres rule.
tpix says... (new circuit: GP Strecke)