I’ve been meaning to bring this to your attention for a while now, not that it’s a major piece of news but it is certainly interesting for those of us who enjoy discovering new tracks.
The headline facts are this – German investors have decided to build an alternative facility to the Nürburgring Nordschliefe, because as demand has increased the existing facilities such as the Nürburgring cannot provide the required track time for automotive engineers, driver training services and manufacturer launch events.
So the grounds of a former British/NATO ammunition depot are the venue of an extraordinary new test and private driving facility with the atmosphere of an automobile country club. The terrain is approximately 84 hectares and is located in the undulating forest landscape in the heart of Germany, 30 kilometres east of Paderborn, near Bad Driburg, in the southern part of the Teutoburger Wald.
Modelled on the likes of the Ascari Resort in Spain, the entire circuit has been designed from scratch by Hermann Tilke, the industry’s most experienced circuit architect. He is best known for renowned F1 circuits such as Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Malaysia, Istanbul, Shanghai and has now turned his hand to creating a New Nürburgring, “The natural ‘Nordschleife flair’ with high safety standards will continue to enthuse every driver. With various ideal lines, the corners allow for approximately identical lap times, while nature itself dictates the unmistakable signature of the test track.”
Walter Röhrl, the legendary rally driver and Porsche development driver has been involved in the project from its conception, “A dream! Here, we have succeeded in returning to the origins of motoring. At Bilster Berg, the unmistakable lay-out of the track is recognisable right away: harmoniously and dynamically, it offers unique opportunities to the drivers and makes them feel the car again. This circuit can take on major natural tracks like the Nordschleife or Spa-Francorchamps.”
Hans-Jürgen von Glasenapp, former managing director of the Hockenheimring GmbH, contributes his entire experience in running a motoring circuit as the managing director.
“The seclusion, the atmosphere, the track – it will be the German Goodwood! The terrain is unbelievable: we will build a track to FIA standards that will meet all safety requirements, to prevent anything happening during tests, development, driving programmes or incentives.”
Bilster Berg Drive Resort is approximately 200 km from Düsseldorf, 150 km from Hannover and 270 km from Frankfurt. The nearest airport is at Paderborn some 35 km away.
Due to its prior military use, Bilster Berg doesn’t yet have a postal address but it’s nearby to Gräflicher Park Hotel & Spa in Bad Driburg.
Prices and availability
The circuit is on schedule to be open by July 2012 and it’s already getting booked up by car manufacturers, but Bilster Berg is also a resort for enthusiasts so they’re formulating several attractive packages that will differentiate it from the Nürburgring.
The company is currently inviting further investors to join the programme with the minimum sum of 100,000 Euros. One of the benefits being offered to shareholders is use of the facility during exclusive shareholder days with various cars and drivers (friends & family) using the facilities simultaneously. The planned circuit usage fee for shareholders is € 2,500 (incl. VAT) which buys approximately 80 days per year and is likely to be fixed for the first five full years of operation.
Garages can be rented in the resort which will provide for all-year-long storage, whilst maintenance support will also be available on-site by experienced motorsport partners (e.g. Heggemann, Raeder, Sautter), both for modern and historic vehicles.
For the time being, it’s not possible to visit the resort individually (unless you are a shareholder), so if like me you don’t have a spare 100,000 Euros kicking around, you’re most likely to experience the Bilster Berg when attending a manufacturer’s launch or driving event.