Nurburgring Foxhole – the Scariest Corner on the Ring?

Alex Gassman

by Alex Gassman

A massive 10-car crash at the Nurburgring

The Nurburgring Foxhole, or ‘Fuchsröhre’ as it is officially known in Germany, is one of the fastest and most challenging sections of track on the Nordschleife. 

Due to the incredible elevation change throughout this section, it can also be one of the most dangerous. Toto Wolff, current Mercedes F1 team Boss, found this out in 2009 when he had a near life-changing crash at this very spot.

In this article I’ll detail some of the most important things to look out for when tackling this part of the Nurburgring.

Contents

Why is it called the Foxhole?

When I first went to the Nurburgring I asked a few people why the Foxhole (or Fuchsröhre, as it is correctly called) was given that name. 

No one really knew, but the general consensus was that the drop down the hill in to the compression at the bottom of the Foxhole was so severe, it was basically a hole in the ground. And a foxhole in military terms is a hole in the ground used by troops as a shelter against enemy fire. So it kind of made sense.

Elke Sommer with a Porsche 914 at the Nurburgring Foxhole

However, it turns out we were wrong. The story goes that when this section of the Nurburgring was being built in 1925, a fox frightened by all the construction work hid in a drainpipe. The building work had to be halted until frightened Mr Fox could be lured away to safety. As such, officials decided to name this corner after him.

According to Misha in this video, it was originally due to be called Wimbacher Loch. Wimbach is the name of the nearest village to this section of the track, and Loch means hole. Frightened Mr Fox had other ideas, however.

See our article on all of the Nurburgring corner names for a full explanation of each bend name origin.

Google maps showing the location of Wimbach next to the Nordschleife

Which section of track is the Foxhole?

The Nurburgring Foxhole is more than just a single corner. It’s a section of track which, technically speaking, includes 6 separate corners. Unfortunately, unlike some other sections of track, there is no camping available trackside at the Foxhole during the Nurburgring 24 hour race.

The Foxhole at the Nurburgring starts after we have passed underneath the bridge at the exit of Aremberg. Once under the bridge, the track starts falling downhill steeply. This is the start of the Foxhole, as shown by the blue section on the map below. 

The Foxhole starts shortly before the 6km mark on the Nordschleife. The bottom of the Foxhole is pretty much exactly 6km around the lap.

As the circuit maps tend to flatten out some of the corners, let’s look at the Foxhole from the air instead. The image below taken from this Youtube video shows the entry to the Foxhole and how is it far from straight. There are kerbs on the left and right side of the tarmac in multiple places as the circuit bends left and right.

The Nordschleife Foxhole from above

The below screengrabs are taken from this official Nurburgring fly-over video. You can see the track bends left, right, left, right then left again as it hits the compression at the lowest point.

The Nurburgring foxhole from above
The Nurburgring foxhole from above
The Nurburgring foxhole from above

After the compression is a steep uphill with a blind left hand corner at the top, with a big kerb on the inside. That is the last past of the Nordschleife Fuchsröhre, as the next corner is the first right of Adenauer Forst.

The Nurburgring foxhole from above
The Nurburgring foxhole from above

How big is the compression at the bottom?

Look at this old elevation graph of the Nordschleife. Here the dip at the bottom of the Foxhole is shown at around the 4.5km mark. Today we know it’s pretty much bang on the 6km mark.

If we say the bottom of the compression at the Foxhole is at 450m eleveation, we can see that it is all steeply downhill from about 3km to this point. That’s a lot of downhill in not a lot of distance, so a big change for rapid speed increase.

How fast is the Foxhole?

Very fast. The steep downhill will accelerate you much faster than you’d imagine.

Here’s a picture of me in my old Clio 172 with just an aftermarket exhaust and air filter. I am flat out all the way from the exit of Aremberg down the Foxhole to this point just before the compression. 

My speedo is reading 140mph (225 kph). 140mph on a straight, flat bit of Autobahn near the Ring was a bit of a struggle in that car. But down the Foxhole it was no issue at all. Such is the speed boost from the downhill.

A Clio 172 in the Foxhole on the Nurburgring doing 140mph

This video from Misha’s channel shows a lap in the GT2 RS MR – the car that held the production car lap record at the Ring for a long time. The screengrab below shows them entering the compression at the bottom of the Foxhole at almost 270kph. That’s nearly 170mph. That is madness.

A Porsche 911 GT2 RS MR doing almost 270kph on the Nordschleife

Why is the Foxhole so scary - and so dangerous?

The Karussell may be the most famous corner, but the Foxhole is the most scary. Here’s why, for me and many others, the Foxhole is so daunting.

The compression at the bottom, combined with the high speed at which you enter it, is very severe. So severe that the first time you drive through it, even if at a moderate speed, you will feel the G-forces on your head and neck.

As your speed builds those G-Forces will get stronger. They will try and do 2 things. Firstly, they will make your head want to be in your lap and your eyeballs to be in your feet. Secondly, they will have a massive impact on the way the car drives for a split second.

The G-forces at the bottom of the compression will compress your car’s suspension. A lot. They will make the steering go incredibly heavy and for a brief moment the car will feel like it doesn’t want to turn to the left. 

The armco on both sides of the track is only a few feet from the edge of the tarmac. Hitting that compression at speed and your car being reluctant to turn means that, for a brief moment, you are convinced that you will be in the barriers on the right. And if you don’t leave enough margin and start off too close to the right hand edge of the track, then you may well be.

A Honda Civic EG crashes at the Ring

If you don’t end up in the barriers on the right, you may end up in the opposite ones instead. You would not be the first to be caught out by the compression and end up on the right hand kerb and grass just after you’ve passed the dip. 

Your loaded-up right tyres will lose traction and might put you in to a spin, just as happened to this VW Golf driver and this Honda Civic driver from the image above, in two devastating and almost identical crashes.

This ‘Top-10 biggest Nurburgring crashes’ compilation video features 5 clips from the Foxhole. Ok, so it may have been the cameraman’s favourite spot but still… There’s a reason it always features.

The left-hander coming out of the Foxhole

The final corner is the left-hander after the compression at the top of the Foxhole. This is a very fast corner, completely blind as you approach it, with a big flat kerb on the inside that you can take. The apex of this corner is on the kerb, which itself is on a crest. This, combined with the speed, can seriously unsettle your car here.

Many YouTube videos show people getting it wrong here. So spend some time learning the track, learn the correct turn in points and how much speed you can carry before driving it for real.

Image below from TOP Nurburg YouTube channel.

The Foxhole in the rain

Throw some wet weather in to the mix and things get even more sketchy. At this part of the track, perhaps more than the rest, it feels like the trees are directly overhead. Their leaves and slippery deposits combined with rain can be lethal.

In really heavy rain there does also tend to be a small river than runs across the track on the way down the Foxhole. Watch out for this as aquaplaning is a real possibility.

The trees also leave the Foxhole in shade most of the time. Even if the rest of the track has dried out after a rain shower, the Foxhole may be one of the last places to dry up. So don’t let it catch you out, like it did with this driver who hit a wet patch at the bottom. He must be the luckiest guy going not to hit anything.

Nurburgring in the rain

Toto Wolff's MASSIVE Foxhole Nurburgring crash

The Nordschleife doesn’t care who you are. It has no mercy. Toto Wolff, Mercedes AMG F1 team boss found this out in 2009.

Before being an all round team-manager-bad-ass, he was a very fast driver himself. In 2009 he attempted to break the Nurburgring lap record which at the time was 6:58 for a full lap, held by Niki Lauda in an F1 car. Toto was in a Porsche 911 997 RSR, and on his final flying lap he tried to do the Foxhole flat out. The compression was so severe that it punctured his right rear tight, sending him in to a catastrophic spin and resulting accident.

Toto is lucky to be alive – the car was destroyed and he was unconscious for a while. Read a full interview with him about the experience here, or check out the video of the crash below.

Tips for driving the Foxhole

Let me leave you with a few top-tips for safely navigating the Foxhole at the Nurburgring:

  • You will gather speed much faster than you think down the hill. Go easy to start with and build up slowly
  • Be ready for the compression – leave space on the right hand side of the track
  • Be wary of the kerbs, especially those on the right hand side at the compression, even more so in the rain
  • In wet weather the trees can make this section extra slippery. Be wary of a river running across the track
  • After a rain shower, the shade from the trees can make this one of the last bits of track to dry
  • The kerb and crest at the apex of the final left hander can upset your car’s balance – be smooth with your driving inputs and don’t do anything abrupt

Other Nurburgring corners

Alex Gassman

I‘m Alex. I write F1 and motorsport travel guides based on my experience as racing driver and full-time motorsport nerd. I’ve traveled the world watching F1 and other racing series.

I started oversteer48 with the aim of helping other motorsport fans who are planning on watching some racing themselves.

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