Hockenheimring

One of Germany’s premiere racing venues and alternating host to the German Grand Prix, this historic track is located in the scenic Rhine valley in southwestern Germany. The Hockenheimring opened in 1932 as a motorcycle racetrack, where such famous motorcycle brands as DKW and NSU battled for supremacy. The early course was packed-dirt, suitable for the rather wild world of two-wheeled racing, but all of that changed in the mid-1930s when a new circuit debuted. Wider throughout and vaguely oval in shape, the track kept this form until 2001. By then, F1 officials asked for a redesigned course, and the result is shorter by 1.25 miles, removing the forest section straights in favor of more numerous tight turns. While many legendary areas of the track, like the long, flat-out curve known as the Parabolika, were left intact, the changes allow for more fans to view the improved overtaking. The resulting course is notorious for being unpredictable and relentless in its close action racing. As there is virtually no elevation change throughout the flat track, drivers must contend with five long, high-speed straights and several tight corners. Speeds of nearly 200 mph can be reached on the Parabolika before braking into the famed hairpin ("spitzkehre" in German), one of the most exciting passing spots on any circuit. A few turns later, drivers reach the modern and graceful Mercedes grandstands, which loom above a technical, sharp left-hander roughly halfway around the course—another good place for overtaking rivals. Rounding the final Elfkurve and Sudkurve turns through the immense grandstands, nearly every seat has a view of the final straight and the finish line.

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