If you are visiting the Nurburgring and want to see how the professionals tackle the world’s toughest race track, then consider riding shotgun for a lap in a Nurburgring taxi.
The precision with which these drivers know the Nordschleife, and the ferociousness of the bumps and undulations of the Green Hell on your body when riding in a Ring Taxi will be a mindblowing (and probably stomach-churning) experience.
Sadly, gone are the days of the official BMW M5 Ring taxi. Now there’s a number of different companies licensed by the Nurburgring to offer passenger laps in various cars. Below I’ve listed each of these companies and their respective Nurburgring taxi lap costs in this article.
What happened to the BMW M5 ring taxi?
Three generations of the M5 were used as the official BMW Nurburgring taxi over the years. It started with the E39 M5, then moved on to the E60 M5 and then in 2012 the F10 M5 was introduced.
A taxi lap ticket could be bought for a couple of hundred Euros and for that you and two mates could get a lap with one of BMW’s highly trained professional drivers, the most famous and brilliant of those of course being the late great Sabine Schmitz.
For years, one of the highest honours amongst Nurburgring ‘gurus’ was to say that you’d kept up with, or perhaps even overtaken the Ring taxi when it was on a hot lap. But this was a pretty rare occurrence, especially if Sabine was driving.
Even though they would have weighed over 2000kg with 4 people on board, they would still get around the circuit in not much over 8 minutes. Usually this was whilst showboating, drifting the Nurburgring with massive amounts of opposite lock and tyre smoke billowing off the rear wheels.
Sabine shot to fame when she tried to take a standard Transit van around the Nurburgring in under 10 minutes for Top Gear in 2005. She retired from Ring Taxi duty in 2011, but the service carried on for a little longer. In the later years of the F10 M5 being in service, there were a number of fairly high-profile incidents where the Ring taxi was involved in an accident.
Luckily there were never any reports of Nurburgring taxi passengers being injured, but there was a sense amongst the Nurburgring community that it may only be a matter of time.
As this was an official BMW programme, and more a PR exercise than a money maker, the BMW bosses decided to pull the plug before something worse happened on track.
The official Nurburgring taxi for 2024
Just like last year, AMG are the official Nurburgring partner for taxi laps around the Nordschleife.
They offer co-pilot rides in an AMG GT-R PRO, affectionately known as the Beast of the Green Hell. The AMG boasts 575BHP and 0-60 in a little over 3.5 seconds. Driven by one of AMG’s pro Nurburgring drivers, this will be the fastest car on track 99.9% of the time. Unfortunately, unlike the M5s these are 2 seaters so only one passenger can go for a ride at a time.
Laps can be booked in advance through the Nurburgring website and will go ahead come rain or shine.
- AMG GT-R Pro – 295 Euros / lap
Unofficial Nurburgring taxi list 2024 with costs
Since the BMW ring taxi ended, other companies have been able to offer taxi laps around the Nurburgring. These are officially sanctioned by the Nurburgring as each of these companies has had to purchase a taxi license from the Ring management. Below I’ve listed each company, the cars they offer and the ring taxi cost. This cost will include the price of lap tickets.
On a busy day these taxis are usually parked up in the corner of the main Nurburgring entrance car park.
On a busy weekend day you can normally see the various Nurburgring taxis parked up in the far corner of the Nordschleife car park on the Nurburgring webcam.
Harry-Flatters street & race car taxis
Harry-Flatters offers two options for taxi laps in both road going and GT3 spec race Porsches on private track days, not tourist days. This means you’ll get a full, clean, flat-out lap without being held up by traffic or track closures. Both options come with 2 angle video footage of your lap for you to take away afterwards.
They also offer complete hotel and VIP hospitality packages to go with the taxi laps.
Use code !oversteer48 when booking a taxi lap with Harry-Flatters for a 5% discount
- Porsche 997 GT3 RS street car – 295 Euros / lap (280 with discount code above) – website link
The second option is a lap of the combined Nordschleife and Nurburgring GP F1 track, known as the NLS layout which totals 16 miles. This will be in a GT3 spec race car during an NLS race testing session, driven by a current pro racing driver and on track with over 100 other race cars all testing for the upcoming NLS race weekend.
This is a true once in a lifetime opportunity to be a passenger in what will feel like a full race event.
- Porsche GT3 race car on Nordschleife + F1 track – 505 Euros / lap (480 with discount code above) – website link
Hyundai N Taxi
Hyundai have a big presence at the Nurburgring, especially their N performance brand. In 2021 they released the N Taxi experience – passenger rides in a Hyundai i30 N around the Nurburgring.
Whilst on paper the standard i30 N isn’t the most exciting Nurburgring taxi available, the reality is that these are some of the most exciting passenger rides available. Everyone who’s done it is blown away. You get to ride shotgun alongside one of Hyundai’s Nurburgring specialist development or race drivers. Plus, the price point is much more competitive than all other options.
You can book a slot and purchase taxi laps in advance through the Hyundai website.
- Hyundai i30N – 99 Euros / lap for 1 passenger (129 Euros for 2 / 139 Euros for 3)
RingTaxi have been established since the early days of other companies being able to offer taxi laps, and their cars are a familiar sight during tourist driving sessions. You can book a slot and purchase taxi laps in advance through the RingTaxi website.
- BMW M5 CS – 349 Euros / Lap (1-3 passengers split this cost)
- Porsche 911 GT3 RS (992) – 349 Euros / lap
- Porsche 911 Turbo (992) – 369 Euros / lap
- Mercedes AMG GT Black Series – 469 Euros / lap
- Mercedes AMG GTR – 369 Euros / lap
GetSpeed Race Taxi
Getspeed are a well established company who have been offering Nurburgring taxi laps in Porsches for years. They are also offering passenger rides in an Audi RS eTron GT. Booking requests can be made via the GetSpeed website.
- Porsche 911 GT3 RS (991) – 349 Euros / Lap
- BMW G80 M3 Competition – 349 Euros / Lap (for up to 3 passengers)
Apex Nurburg are not currently offering any pre-bookable taxi laps for 2024. There might be various days where you can find one of their cars in the corner of the car park offering rides, but nothing more than that.
Why are ring taxi laps so expensive?
Whilst we might all initially think these companies are committing daylight robbery with the Nurburgring taxi prices, but the costs of buying, owning and running a Ring taxi will be much higher than you think.
Wear and tear on any of the above cars around the most demanding circuit in the world will be incredibly high, especially with the additional weight of multiple passengers.
So how much does a Nurburgring taxi cost to run? Robert Mitchell gives a great breakdown of the expenses behind the Apex Nurburg BMW F80 M3 in the video above. To summarise, here are just a few of the costs he highlights from wear and tear on the Schirmer M3, which is running non-standard brakes:
- Front brake pads last 60 laps and cost 400 euros a set. Cost = 6 Euros a lap
- Front brake disks last 80 laps and cost 1500 euros a set. Cost = 17 Euros a lap
- Rear brake pads last 120 laps, rear brake discs last 400 laps. Cost = 7 Euros a lap.
- Rear driveshafts last 350 laps and cost 3000 euros for pair. Cost = 7 Euros a lap
- Rear wheel hubs and bearings last 175 laps and cost 1000 Euros for a pair. Cost= 4 Euros a lap
- A set of 4 tyres lasts 80 laps and costs 1000 euros. Cost = 13 Euros / lap
- Engine oil and filter change every 120 laps. Cost = 2 Euros a lap
- Gearbox and differntial oil and filter change every 170 laps. Cost = 4 Euros a lap
- Brake fluid changed and bled regularly. Cost = 1 Euro / lap
- Fuel. Cost = 15 Euros a lap
So that’s 76 Euros per lap in running costs alone. Then factor in miscellaneous repairs and fixed costs such as the taxi license and mechanic and driver salaries which cost over 120k Euros a year, and Apex Nurburg have to do around 900 laps per year in the M3 to make any money.
Do I need a helmet for a Ring taxi ride?
Whilst the Nurburgring helmet rules state that helmets are not mandatory during tourist driving, each Ring taxi company may have their own specific rules on this. You can check with them before hand in case you want to bring your own helmet, but they will all have spare helmets available for use by the passengers if required.
Can I just passenger in my friend's car?
Yes. Of course, you don’t have to pay hundreds of Euros to be a passenger around the Nurburgring. You can hop in the passenger seat in any of your friends cars and go for a lap at no extra cost. A Nurburgring taxi offers you the chance to experience incredible performance cars driven by Ring specialists to their limits, which will undoubtedly be an unforgettable experience.
Going for a passenger lap with your mate in his Mum’s ‘borrowed’ Golf GTi who has done 28 laps of the Ring on Gran Turismo may also be unforgettable, but probably for the wrong reasons…