Wondering whether to do a Nurburgring track day rather than Touristenfahrten? Not sure who to book with? Want clarification on the insurance situation?
Find all the information you need within this article.
Are you a seasoned veteran of Touristenfahrten (TF) at the Nordschleife who’s done more laps than your bank account cares to remember, but are finally fed up of the growing queues to get through the turnstiles? Do you want quality track time at the best circuit in the world but can’t stomach another plate of currywurst whilst waiting for the track to reopen after yet another closure?
Or perhaps you read our article on tourist driving insurance and have wisely realised that the risks from both a financial liability and safety perspective of TF are just too high to warrant.
Whatever your reasoning, choosing a Nurburgring track day over TF is a smart and increasingly popular decision that will allow you to enjoy the best 13 miles of tarmac on the planet and sleep a little easier, especially with more companies offering insurance for Nurburgring trackdays (but not on a fully third-party basis, read more below…)
nurburgring 2023 trackday list
Nurburgring 2023 trackday list download
PDF with all dates and prices for the 2023 Nurburgring track days. Includes direct links to booking pages, details of the format of each day and information on each trackday organiser’s policy on third-party liability.
nurburgring track day or touristenfahrten – what’s the difference?
Why choose a trackday day at the Nordschleife over normal TF lapping? Here’s a number of reasons:
- Quality track time. Trackdays at the Ring are mainly attended by drivers with experience of either trackdaying or the Nurburgring itself. Touristenfahrten on the other hand can be driven by anyone with a driving licence and a road legal car, meaning you can get literal tourists doing a lap with their whole family in the car, with no idea where the circuit goes or what the etiquette on track is. More experienced drivers means less chances of crashes and less chance of the track being closed on a track day.
- You can use the full Dottinger Hohe straight. During TF, you enter the track towards the end of this straight and a slalom of cones is placed across the full width of the tarmac to slow down the cars that have just joined. On a track day, these cones are gone and you enter the track like a normal race circuit. Meaning the full 2km straight can be attacked flat-out.
- On a trackday you can do consecutive laps. Without the cones and with the full straight in use, you can do lap-after-lap without having to go in to the pits or through the barriers again. Just make sure your car (and your passenger) are up to it.
- No queues. Ok, so with the exception of the start of the day and after the lunch break, queuing to get out on circuit during a track day at the Ring is unlikely assuming track closures are kept low. On a trackday the barrier remains up, allowing cars to flow much more easily on and off the circuit. We’ve all seen how bad the queues can get during TF; waits of an hour or more are not unheard of, with gridlock on the surrounding roads, and sometime relying on the webcams to give us a live snapshot of the traffic.
- The cost per lap can work out cheaper. Just about. Take this Nurburgring track day with Circuit Days, a cost of £599 or 670 Euros. To buy a lap ticket for Touristenfahrten on a weekend is 35 Euros, meaning 20 laps or more during the trackday would bring the per-lap cost down to less than the 35 Euros of a TF lap. 20 laps in one trackday would be good going, but with no closures and some consecutive lapping then it is feasible. See Nurburgring ticket prices here.
- Massively reduced financial liability. If you have read our post on Nurburgring insurance for tourist driving, you will have seen how scary the potential costs can get if it goes wrong whilst you’re on track. Pick the right trackday and you do not have the same worry. Read more about this below.
- Helmets are mandatory. The Ring’s helmet rules state helments are not required for tourist driving. But a track day here is like any other, so helmets are required.
- Slicks may be allowed. Some track day providers, but not all, allow non-road legal track cars and slick tyres. Read the details of what each provider allows before booking.
what’s the financial risk?
British track day providers
So you’ve read our post on the horrifying third party financial liability faced by all UK drivers taking their car for TF at the Ring, and are now put off Touristenfahrten altogether. Well the good news is that the same level of risk does not exist on British run trackdays at the Ring.
On a Nurburgring track day run by a British track day organiser such as Circuit Days or Destination Nurburgring, usual track day rules apply. Every driver is liable for their own vehicle, so if you crash your car, you need to foot the bill for the damage caused to it. This also means that if you sustain damage due to someone else’s accident (or go off on their spilt fluid) then you are still liable for damage to your own car; you cannot shift the financial burden to the driver of the other car.
Destination Nurburgring make this explicitly clear on their website by stating “it is prohibited to make a claim against another participant”. So if the worst were to happen and you crashed in to someone else where it was obviously your fault, the other guy is prohibited from making an insurance claim against you.
Without this unlimited liability for third party damages, your financial risk is hugely reduced. This fact alone is why more and more drivers are choosing a track day at the Ring over TF, and why you should seriously consider it too.
There is one exception to this. On a track day at the Ring you are still responsible for barrier repair costs. These costs can be anything from a few hundred Euros to around 12k Euros in the very worst case. Whilst that would still make for a pretty miserable day out, it’s certainly not life changing, unlike the the 7-figure bills for multi-car crashes during TF.
European Track Day Providers
The story is not quite the same for some European (mainly German) companies offering track days at the Ring. Often, German Ring track days will be classed as driver training events, allowing the German drivers to insure their cars for third party damages. Read the small print of the waiver you need to sign, and you may see that the track day organiser states third party insurance is required to attend the day. Whether this is enforced or not by the track day organisers is not clear, but what’s more important is what this means for risk to your wallet?
Requiring third party insurance would imply that drivers can claim off other drivers, just like during Touristenfahrten, in the event of an accident. This opens you up once again to almost unlimited liability in the event of an accident where you were to blame.
track day providers' insurance policies
I have reached out to all the european providers to clarify the third party liability / insurance point for UK drivers. Their responses are in italic. This page will updated as I get a response from each organiser.
- Circuit Days Events (UK) – see info above
- Destination Nurburgring (UK) – see info above
- Pistenclub (DE)
The one who caused the accident will be held reliable. The arguments will then be discussed by their lawyers. In case of an accident we urgently recommend contacting the track officials to get witnesses or a video recording of the event.
- Schnelle Schwaben (DE)
We have UK customers with UK registered cars on our track days. However, in the event of an accient where you lose oil or similar and the car(s) behind crash, the other’s party who crashed on your oil is entitled to claim claim money from you or your insurance. Our UK customers know about this third party insurance issue and take the risk. Lots of UK customers, however, have German registered cars so they can have valid third party insurance, and customers from Switzerland have the same problem.
- All4track (DE)
There are 2 types of events. Events where everyone pays for their own damages and costs, and events where liability among others is not excluded. At all4track’s own events, liability in the road group is not excluded. In the racing group, everyone pays for their own damages. If you do not have insurance, you will pay for the damage completely. We do not require any proof. We always recommend that foreigners take out appropriate racing insurance.
- Gedlick racing (DE)
The prerequisite is that the car has a valid road registration. The participants will not be detained among themselves. So if you are at fault for an accident, you have to pay for the other person’s damage. Therefore, a third party insurance makes sense in any case.
- Trackdays.de (DE)
If you have an accident with another driver on track during our event, you have to pay for the damage (other car, barriers, track cleaning etc). This is regulated via our disclaimer between the drivers. We as organisers are not responsible for possible car damage regulation. We only get the track damage invoice (if barriers etc have been damaged) and will send it to you. We have to pay this track damage invoice in advance to the track owner and you’ll have to pay this invoice to us. Again: For damage regulation with a possible other driver involved, you have to manage it with the other driver(s) by yourself.
- Manthey racing (DE)
- European speed club (DE)
- DSK (DE)
- Scuderia S7 (DE)
- Skylimit Events (BE)
Our events doesn’t require an insurance on the car. Every customer of us drives on their own risk. At the administration everyone has to sign an own risk waiver as well. That means of course that you can’t raise an insurance claim against other drivers. Just like on race weekends, everyone has to pay their own damages.
Sport Auto (NO)
nurburgring track day insurance options
There are some companies who offer insurance for Ring track days. These companies will cover damages to your car, and some even offer to cover barrier damage costs (up to a certain amount). Currently, however, I am unaware of any companies offering full third party insurance for track days at the Ring.
One thing to consider with track day insurance for the Nurburgring is that each insurer will likely only pay out to a maximum certain pre-agreed percentage of your car’s value in the event of an accident. Plus, they are likely to have large excesses. Add on to that the cost of the insurance policy in the first place and you have to consider whether it’s worth it.
Robert Mitchell provides an example of a friend of his who owns a 80k Euro BMW M3. A track day insurance company provided him a quote of 1200 Euros for first-party cover for his M3 on a single Nurburgring track day, where they would only pay out a maximum of 50% of the car’s value, and the excess is 14k.
The result is that the payout if the 80k Euro M3 was written off would be 50% of its value, so 40k Euros, minus the 14k excess, so 26k Euros, minus the 1200 Euros for the insurance itself. So the total effective payout would 24,800 Euros on an 80k car. Worth it? That’s up to you to decide. Just be sure it is clear the exact amount the company would pay out and what the excess is before committing to a policy.
If you still don’t like the risk of taking your own ca, but want to experience the thrill of the Ring, consider car rental from one of the Nurburgring specialists. Or, if you think one lap is all you can stomach, consider a lap in a Ring Taxi.
list of nurburgring track day insurance companies
With a better chance of quality track time, more lapping and less financial risk if things go wrong (if you pick the right day), in our opinion all of the positive factors of a track day at the Ring more than offset the initial higher cost for the day itself. Get yourself booked on one and enjoy quality track time at the best circuit in the world.