Whether it’s your first time or you are a seasoned ‘Ring lapper, you need to understand the Nurburgring rules for tourist driving (touristenfahrten).
These will help keep you, your passengers and other drivers safe. They will also mean you stay on the right side of the Nurburgring management and the Polizei.
The rules listed in this article are applicable to tourist driving (touristenfahrten) only. If you are doing a track day, the rules for that event are listed specifically by the track day organiser. See our article on Nurburgring track days for more information.
why are there Nurburgring rules?
Tourist driving on the Nurburgring is dangerous. And it is a unique experience. You get to drive the world’s best circuit – the 13 mile long Nordschleife. But when you do so, the circuit is classed as a public road. The German road traffic regulations and German road vehicle registration regulations (StVO and StVZO respectively) apply. This means that it sits in a bit of a grey area between not being a track day and not being a normal road. The rules, therefore, exist to help clarify what you can and can’t do when tourist lapping.
is there a safety briefing?
Unlike a track day, before you head out on circuit during touristenfahrten there is no driver’s briefing, no safety presentation and no paperwork to sign. You simply purchase a lap ticket from one of the available locations. Once you’ve done that, you can head to the entrance and then out on to the track.
This is a pretty daunting prospect for newcomers or tourists who do not know what lies ahead on the Green Hell. So it is very important to familiarise yourself with these rules before you head on to the track. It is equally important to try and learn the circuit as much as possible before you start lapping, to help prepare yourself.
There are also this short animated video the Nurburgring released in 2019 that looks at some of the most important rules. Not very comprehensive, but if you do nothing other than watch this it will help.
where are the official Nurburgring rules?
Tucked away on the official website you can find the touristenfahrten Nurburgring rules. These come in two separate documents, which have some overlap, some duplication, and a few differences between the two. All in all not very easy to get a complete understanding.
The rules are also printed on a poster in the Nurburgring main entrance car park, and on the ticket office across the road. Both in one massive block of text.
So in the next section of this article we have distilled all of the important rules you need to know for tourist driving in one list.
Nurburgring rules for tourist driving
Below are the official Nurburgring rules from the online documentation linked to above. These are shown in bold text below. Next to those we have added our own comments based on our experience of over a decade of Nurburgring visits, and any additional info we have gleaned from the circuit in 2022.
Carry your driving license and vehicle registration in the vehicle with you at all times.
Carry proof of insurance if you are not from Germany. 99% of UK car insurance policies explicitly exclude the Nurburgring, but UK cars are still allowed on to the track. This is a whole separate subject – read our article on tourist driving insurance. You must understand that as a UK driver you are NOT COVERED for 3rd party liability on the Ring, and the financial risk this brings is huge.
Season ticket holders must have valid ID on them. Only if spot-checked by the marshals will you be asked to produce your ID, as season tickets can only be used by the person who purchased them and not shared amongst drivers.
You can only enter the circuit with a valid lap ticket. Read our article on lap ticket purchasing and prices for info on how and where to buy individual tickets and season passes.
Must be able to exceed a minimum speed of 60km/h. There’s a lot of long uphill sections that sap speed. So no 50cc mopeds, for example.
Gross vehicle weight must be less than 2.8t.
No quad bikes, trikes, karts, formula vehicles or formula-like vehicles.
Must not exceed a drive-by noise limit of 130db, or static noise limit of 95db. Usually the static limit is ok up to 100db. Read our separate article on the Nurburgring noise limits for a full explanation of how likely you are to be tested, how lenient the testing may be, what happens if you fail and more.
Full bucket seats are not allowed, for either the driver or passenger. This means the bucket seats with the side head restraints (wings) only, as they severely obstruct your vision. Bucket seats without the head restraints are ok. If you have head restraint bucket seats, expect to not be allowed on track.
Modified / non-standard removable steering wheels are not allowed. If your car comes with a removable steering wheel as standard it is ok (like an Ariel, for example). Only if you have added an Alibaba special removable wheel to your car might the marshals not be happy. But it is unlikely it would be spotted anyway so long as you don’t go waving the wheel above your head in the queue at the entrance barriers.
HANS devices are not allowed for the driver. For the passengers it’s not so clear – you may get away with it, you may not. The driver is not allowed a HANS due to the restricted head movement limiting their vision.
Helmets are not required. Read our full article on the helmet and HANS device rules for more info.
Unpadded cages are not allowed. This one is common sense – make sure you cage is padded anywhere in the vicinity of driver and passenger’s heads. Helmets are not required, but with a cage fitted you may want to wear one.
Additional spoilers / wings that protrude outside of the car’s width and have sharp edges are not allowed. This one is a bit of a grey area, but it is there to minimise the risk of injury / damage to others in an incident, in the car park, or if it falls off. The car’s width relates to how wide your car is, NOT including the wing mirrors. Rounded corners and soft edges are your friend here.
No export (transit) plates (red numbers), temporary plates (03/04 numbers) vintage car transferable plates (07 numbers)
Front license plates are required on cars. If you drive an American registered car without a front plate, read our separate article on the Nurburgring license plate rules for a better understanding of what is required.
No snow chains.
No spiked tyres.
No slick tyres. Your tyres must be road legal. Semi-slick trackday tyres are allowed as long as they are road legal.
Motorbike rider specific rules
Motorbikes must have their lights on at all times.
Motorbike riders need full protective clothing.
Driving / Riding
- Overtaking must only be done on the left. This is one of the most important Nurburgring rules to keep you safe. Read why in our article on public driving at the Ring. This also means that if you are being overtaken, you must stick to the right of the track.
Observe the speed limit. Most of the Nordschleife has no speed limit. There is one section of the track that has a speed limit – Breidscheid Bridge. Read why this speed limit exists and why it is important to observe it. This also means you must observe the 50km/h speed limit in construction, incident and yellow-flag zones.
The Nurburgring is classed a one way street . Driving must occur in a clockwise direction only.
Turning around / reversing is banned at all times.
No drifting. Read our separate article on the Nurburgring drifting rules for a full explanation and what you might be able to get away with.
No commercial taxi rides. This means you cannot setup a gazebo in the corner of the car park and charge people for passenger laps. But of course, you are allowed to take others out as passengers for free, as many people do.
No stopping on track – on the tarmac, grass, gravel, anywhere. If you have a technical defect or incident you are exempt from this rule (read more on this in the final section).
Only enter and leave by the designed entrance locations setup for this purpose.
No entry to the circuit when red lights are on and the track is closed.
No racing or top speed runs. If you want to do that, head to the nearest Autobahn instead.
Filming and Lap Timing
Filming, videoing and photography is not allowed. This one is not really correct – everyone these days has on-board cameras, there is no issue with filming your laps. Read our separate article on the filming and camera rules for more info on allowable camera mounts, posting on Youtube etc.
No lap timing, including Bridge to Gantry (BTG) lap times. Lap timing happens a lot, we know that, but it is not allowed and it is dangerous. Having a lap timer in your face glowing red at your slow split times is the best way to overdrive, even if you’re only comparing yourself to Sabine Schmitz’ Transit Van lap record in 2005. It inevitably makes you push harder than you should. If you have a massive lap timer on your dash or on your phone screen when heading on to track, you may well be spotted and banned for the day.
Mechanical Issues on Track / Crashing / Roadworks
If your vehicle is leaking any kind of fluid, you must pull off the track and stop the vehicle immediately. Drivers and passengers must get behind guardrail, and if possible and safe to do so you should warn oncoming traffic however possible but safely. Probably the most important of the Nurburgring rules. Fluid spills are one of the most dangerous occurrences on the Ring. You MUST stop your car off the track as soon as you are aware of an issue.
Costs of towing / removal are borne by the driver. If you have a mechanical issue and cannot continue your lap, all costs of car recovery are your responsibility.
Any and all damage to track / other people and their property is your own financial liability. Again read our article on tourist driving insurance to see just how scary these bills can be.
In the event of any incident – an accident or a fluid leak – call the emergency number immediately. 0800 0302 112
You must be able and prepared to stop at any time in your field of vision when yellow flags / lights are on.
50km/h maximum speed in yellow flag / danger zones / construction zones and absolutely no overtaking. Also put your hazard lights on to warn following drivers.