The future of Germany’s iconic Nurburgring race track has apparently gone from cloudy at best to very sunny.
According to MotorAuthority.com, the track has been sold to German automotive manufacturer Capricorn, thus saving the legendary 16-turn, 5.148 kilometer/3.199 mile from potentially going out of business or even being scrapped and having its massive land area developed.
Track officials had declared the facility insolvent in 2012, but it continued to operate and host major events including Formula One’s German Grand Prix.
Capricorn is no stranger to the facility, according to Spiegel Online, with approximately 100 of its 350 total employees working in a factory on the grounds to produce pistons, camshafts, crankshafts and a variety of other engine parts.
Now that it owns the track, Capricorn is expected to further expand its production footprint, including a new technology center being planned.
Nicknamed “Green Hell” by F1 great Jackie Stewart, Nurburgring’s sale must still be approved by European Union regulators, but that would appear to be a mere formality, given the track had few other suitors to rescue it from its nearly two-year-old insolvency.
F1 president Bernie Ecclestone had made an offer for the track in mid-January, but Capricorn’s offer was reportedly significantly larger.
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Two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso enjoyed his first outing with United Autosports, with whom he will contest the 2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona, in their Ligier JS P217 LMP2 chassis.
The McLaren Formula 1 driver completed the test at Motorland Aragon in Spain alongside co-driver Phil Hanson, who will be a teammate with Alonso at next year’s 24-hour Daytona enduro. Filipe Albuquerque, a former GT class winner at the Rolex 24, was also on hand to help Alonso and the team ahead of Alonso’s first run in an LMP2 car, which comes only a couple days after he made his LMP1 testing debut with Toyota. Albuquerque races with Mustang Sampling Racing in IMSA, but will return to United’s European Le Mans Series program for all but one race in 2018.
“I had a great first test with United Autosports. Obviously, we are on a really tight schedule between now and Daytona, but it was nice to jump in the car for the first time,” said Alonso, who will rejoin the team at the official Roar Before the 24 test on January 5-7.
Alonso added, “There’s quite a few switches and things to study so it was important to do this initial shakedown before Daytona, so I could fully learn about the car. I’m happy with everything – the car felt great and the team were fantastic. The atmosphere here is wonderful, like a big family, so today has been amazing. I cannot wait for Daytona.”
Team owner Zak Brown, who also serves as executive director of McLaren Technology Group and helps lead the McLaren Formula 1 effort, shared Alonso’s enthusiasm and was not surprised he was able to acclimate himself relatively quickly.
“Fernando’s first test with United Autosports went awesome as expected. He is a world champion and it is a pleasure to have him in our car,” he said of Alonso’s debut with the team.
Alonso is currently schedule to contest the Rolex 24 with the aforementioned Hanson and McLaren test driver Lando Norris.