Whether you’ve been to the ‘Ring in person, or played it on your PC, or seen pictures or videos of it, you cannot have missed the fact that most of the track is covered in graffiti. What is the graffiti on the Ring, and why is it there? In this article we look at some of the best and worst examples of Nurburgring graffiti, and answer some common questions about it.
Why is there writing all over the Nürburgring?
Of the thousands of race circuits all over the world, why is it that the legendary Nurburgring Nordschleife is the only one with graffiti on it? Well with a legendary circuit comes legendary fans.
Photo Alok Palen via Speedhunters.com
Hundreds of thousands of people each year descend on the Nurburgring to watch some racing or take to the circuit themselves in a tourist driving session. Experiencing the best race circuit in the world leaves such an impression on so many that some of them decide they need to leave their mark, to prove they have been there and conquered the Ring.
Unfortunately, however, the Nordschleife graffiti started not as badges of honour, but as memorials. Sadly it has not been uncommon for drivers (or riders) to die on the track, such are the dangers of the Nurburgring.
In the earlier days of tourist driving, tributes were painted on the circuit at the scene of accidents which cost people their lives. Today these serve as a reminder of friends and family members lost to the Nordschleife, like the graffiti below at Bergwerk corner.
What is the graffiti on the nürburgring?
Sadly graffiti tributes still exist dotted around the circuit. Some are older and now worn away, others are newer. Some may be for people who died on the Ring, others may just be for people who have passed away away from the track but may have been huge Nurburgring fanatics. In these cases it feels like a fitting way to remember them.
Aside from those, there is everything and anything painted on the circuit. In numerous places you will see fans who have pledged their allegiance to a certain car manufacturer, such as this big BMW logo on the way out of Wipperman. It looks to be a perfect circle, good work.
Car club names, website addresses, Instagram handles, country flags, Ring trip dates, lap times, hashtags, logos, murals, business names, car rental companies, people announcing their unconditional love for their partner – you name it, chances are there’s some Nurburgring graffiti somewhere that says it.
One of our favourite bits around the Nurburgring Carousel here is the arrow on the outside, right at the entry to the corner. Next to the arrow it reads ‘Fur Weicheier’ (for wimps) – challenging us all to take the quicker but sketchy inside concrete banking instead. This one made it in to the Gran Turismo version of the Ring too.
And the graffiti is certainly not confined to the tarmac. ‘Zu Schnell’ pointing out that one driver definitely went ‘Too Fast’ over Breidscheid Bridge and left their mark on the outside wall in another way.
I can’t make any of this graffiti out, but the stuff on the fence certainly adds a welcome splash of colour to the otherwise wall of grey that lines the circuit at Breidscheid.
Oh and let’s not forget about those who decide to graffiti something slightly ruder on the Ring, normally something very complimentary about a friend. Usually we have the Brits to thank for these, and usually these ones don’t make the Gran Turismo version.
Rumour has it that the infamous ‘Darren’, subject of the below image, was supposed to go on a Ring trip with friends but pulled out. The graffiti was done in a bid to lure Darren to the Nurburgring to remove it. He never came, and it’s still there. Immortal, for the wrong reasons (until someone paints over it).
Or perhaps someone is just so fond of a particular Youtuber that they feel the burning desire to leave them a compliment so big that it can be read from a helicopter.
When does the Nurburgring graffiti happen?
When night falls, then the Banksy impersonators come out to play. The circuit is 13 miles long and has a number of towns and villages within its perimeter, so access to each metre of the circuit cannot be prevented and it’s impossible to stop people walking on it.
Usually this will be in the summer months when the circuit is open for tourist driving, the evenings are warmer and more Bitburger is consumed.
Additionally, the fans camping around the circuit during the Nurburgring 24 hours are some of the most passionate in the world. In the lead up to the race when the track is quieter there is always likely to be some additional paint laid down.
And there’s this image from the Nurburgring 24h in 2019. Porsche lined up every one of their cars competing in the race for a photoshoot beforehand. You can bet that no one involved in the shoot knew good enough English to understand why that may have not been the best place to park the cars. This has to be one the best automotive marketing fails ever!
Is the Nurburgring graffiti dangerous?
Depending how and exactly where the circuit is graffiti’d, it can be very dangerous.
If you were to use some gloss paint, applied with a roller for maximum tarmac coverage, and paint a huge filled-in section directly on the racing line, then you are a muppet. This is very dangerous. Especially if you do this at 2am and the circuit is due to be open for tourist driving at 8am the next morning.
The gloss paint will be incredibly treacherous in the dry, and lethal in the rain. Plus, doing it on the racing line means it will wear away quickly and your silly hashtag will not be immortal.
Photo Sam Preston via Twitter.
The Nurburgring staff will drive the circuit each day before it is open. If they spot any of these badly thought out pieces of ‘art’ on the track then opening will be delayed and the pressure washers will be brought out and the paint removed. Not so smart now ‘eh Mr Cock-and-Balls?
If there is some Nurburgring graffiti that is small, well off the racing line, and has maybe even has some anti-slip additive added to the paint then it’s unlikely to be dangerous. Sometimes chalk is safer to use than gloss paint.
Is the Nurburgring graffiti allowed?
Painting the Ring is frowned upon, but it is also accepted that is happens and it’s almost impossible to police it. So it seems to be allowed to continue as long as it is done right. But don’t forget you are painting on private property which you have trespassed on in the first place, so if someone wanted to come after you, they probably could.
In the previous section we saw how not to do it. If you simply have to leave your mark then use some common sense. If you don’t, and you leave something huge and dangerous, then you might even get called out by the Nurburgring directly. Don’t be the guy who caused a delay to the opening of the circuit because of your silly massive slogan.