Heading to the Nurburgring Nordschleife for some tourist laps? Fitted an obnoxiously loud exhaust to your car or bike? Well before you set off, make sure you’re aware of the Nurburgring noise limits that all vehicles have to be within. Even some standard supercars won’t meet them…
why are there noise limits at the Nurburgring?
The Nurburgring is the longest circuit in the world, and it encompasses a town and a number of small villages within its perimeter. It has been a feature of the Eifel mountains for almost 100 years, and a huge portion of the local population relies heavily on the tourism that it brings to the region. Most of the locals are fine with the sound of Mezger flat sixes, DSG downshift farts and BMW M straight sixes echoing through the hills from the circuit – it comes with the territory.
The generous opening hours of the circuit during the summer mean that tourist driving sessions start as early as 8am and finish as late as 7.30pm. And whilst most locals are fine with this, there is a maximum to what is acceptable.
Nurburgring residents and regulars are fully accustomed to seeing every imaginable breed of track car, supercar or classic car grace the roads in and around the ‘Ring. But what is not acceptable is when the drivers decide to use those roads – especially the ones through the towns and villages – as an extension of the Nordschleife. Hooning through the streets of Adenau with your fart cannon exhaust on your Seat Leon at 11.30pm after stuffing your face at Pinnochio’s pizzeria is a sure-fire way to annoy the neighbours. And this can often result in a noise complaint to ‘Ring management, even though it was on the street.
There has been a noise limit imposed by the circuit management for over a decade now. Noise complaints do happen, normally resulting in an increased push on noise testing in the ‘Ring carpark for a short period.
what are the Nurburgring noise limits?
The official Nurburgring Safety Rules and Driving Regulations list both static and drive-by noise limits for tourist driving:
– Static noise limit: Officially 95 db (usually ok up to 100 db)
– Drive-by noise limit: 130 db
Whilst the static noise limit is officially stated as 95 db, usually the Nurburgring staff will be lenient up to 100 db if you are nice, polite and promise to behave yourself.
The drive-by limit of 130db is usually stricter, with reports of people getting banned for only 1 or 2 db over this limit.
does every car have to be noise tested?
It is not mandatory to have a static noise test completed on your car before you head out on track. In fact, static noise testing is rarely done, and when it is it’s normally a random selection of cars that get tested. When this happens it’ll be just before you go through the barriers to head out on to track.
Usually the static noise meter will only come out if the Nurburgring has received a recent complaint from a local. Or if you’re one of the morons who insists on bouncing their car off its redline in the Nurburgring car park, then you can be pretty sure you’ll be singled out for a ‘random’ noise test and the marshals might not be quite so lenient on the 95 db limit.
Photo EMS Nordschleife TV via Youtube.
The drive-by noise limit is more strictly enforced. Sound meters are dotted around the circuit by the side of the track. The location of these isn’t shared publicly (for obvious reasons), but good money suggests there’s at least one at Flugplatz and one at Quiddelbacher Hohe.
If you break one of the drive-by meter limits, a marshal will stop you as you return to the car park to give you the bad news.
Nurburgring track day noise limits
Each track day at the ‘Ring will specify the noise limits, so you are aware at the time of booking. Normally they stick to the 130 db drive-by limit that is shared with the tourist driving sessions.
Occasionally you might see an unsilence trackday advertised at the ‘Ring with no noise limits, but this comes at a hefty premium.
what happens if you break the noise limits?
Exceeding either the static of drive-by limits will usually result in a one-day ban from the ‘Ring. Your license plate will be noted by the marshals and you’ll be stopped from entering the track until the start of the next day, when you can try going for another lap.
The same goes for track days, as happened to these guys in their loud GT-R.
can standard cars be banned for being too loud?
Yes they can. Regardless of whether or not your car’s standard, if you break a noise limit then you’ll liable for a single day ban.
This is exactly what happened to everyone’s favourite YouTuber Schmee when he took his standard Lamborghini Huracan STO for a couple of laps. Even in its quietest ‘STO’ mode, when he lined up for his second consecutive lap a marshal came and gave him the bad news: “Sorry, the car is too loud!”. The Lambo had registered 134 db on at least one of the drive-by meters next to the circuit, and he was not allowed out again that day.
Nurburgring exhaust garages / workshops
If you’ve been booted off for excessive noise and you want to salvage some laps from your ‘Ring trip, there are a number of generic workshops, tuning shops and exhaust shops nearby who it’s worth getting in touch with to see if they can help you out, or at least point you in the driection of someone who can.
The green Shelby GT500 Mustang pictured further up this page was banned from the ‘Ring for registering 134db on the drive-by. The huge up-turned exhaust silencers were manufactured and installed by F&F Motorsport, reducing the noise to 130db and allowing the owner to enjoy some more laps on the track.
- F&F Motorsport – Bespoke exhaust builder. Located over an hour away from the Ring near Cologne. Can manufacture and install bespoke silencers.
- Milltek Sport – Aftermarket exhaust dealer. If you’ve fitted a super loud home-brew exhaust to your car they might have stock of one of their aftermarket systems which could be quieter. Also might have standard mid-section silencers you could buy, but you’d have to go elsewhere to get it fitted as they are just a parts seller. Located in the Nurburgring industrial park.
- The Crown Performance – Tuning / upgrade shop & workshop, can source most parts for most cars and might be able to cobble something together to help you out. Located jut the other side of Adenau.
- RingToys Garage – Aftermarket parts seller and workshop services. Located in Kelberg.
- Ring Garage – Car servicing, repairs, tuning and a workshop. Located in Kelberg.
- ATOMIC Shop – Aftermarket parts seller and workshop services. Located in Kelberg.
- Manthey Racing / Raeder Motorsport – High end Porsche & BMW parts, tuning and Nurburgring setup. Located on the Nurburgring industrial park.
- Rent4Ring Service – Small but incredibly helpful and capable workshop behind R4R. Located just a few hundred metres from the ‘Ring entance in Nurburg.
- RT Motorsport – Car tuning, upgrades and a workshop. Located near Acht.
- 24/7 performance – Rollcage building, aftermarker parts seller, workshop. Located in Kelberg.
- Custom Racetec – Aftermarket parts supply, repair and service work, chassis tuning. Located in Kelberg.