Schumacher to drive Mercedes F1 car on Nürburgring Nordschleife
In advance of this year’s 24 Hours of Nürburgring race, and as a “thank you” to German motorsports fans, Mercedes-Benz has arranged quite the driving demonstration at the legendary German track. Seven-time Formula One World Champion Michael Schumacher will pilot a the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 W02 – the team’s 2011 F1 car that carried the Silver Arrow name – around the Nordschleife. As far as we know, this will be the first time that an F1 car will have lapped the North Loop since Nick Heidfeld drove a BMW Sauber car around it in 2007.
This will be far from Schumacher’s first go with the Nürburgring: In 2011 he drove a classic Silver Arrow Stromlinie W196 (pictured above) for a demo lap around the Grand Prix track, and in 2007 he infamously punted a Ferrari prototype on the Nordschleife.
There’s no word from Mercedes as to how exactly Schumacher will drive for his ‘Ring run this time. Heidfeld’s lap was slowed massively by his car wearing hard, demonstration tires and for slow-downs to film the event. We have every expectation that Schumi will be subject to the same demands of safety and public relations.
Of course, having the all-time fastest lap of the Nürburgring Nordschleife in your CV is something that we’d guess might tempt the über-competitive driver, and he’ll certainly have the car to make that happen. Stefan Bellof holds the record for the fastest-ever lap of the ‘Ring in its current configuration and length, with a time of 6:25.91 in 1983, at the wheel of a Porsche 956. (Niki Luada has the record at the original length, with a lap of 6:58.6 in 1975, in a Ferrari 312T.) Pundits analyzed the fast bits of Heidfeld’s 2007 run, and figured his full-pace time, on admittedly unsticky tires, would have clocked in at around 6:12.
Again, we’re not suggesting that Schumacher will have the green light to drive at full speed, but it does sound as though the now one-year retired driver is amped for the opportunity. Said Schumacher, “Posting a lap in a modern Silver Arrow on the most beautiful and most testing circuit in the world, what a brilliant mix – it’s every motor racing driver’s dream!” We’ll keep our fingers crossed on May 19, and hope that the lap is a hot one.
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