It turns out the famed but beleaguered Nurburgring won’t go in the hands of Americans after all, but instead will remain in the hands of the Germans. Dusseldorf-based automotive supplier Capricorn has sealed the deal to buy the ‘Ring - the world’s longest racetrack, which became insolvent in 2012. The Capricorn Group, which describes itself as a ‘medium-sized business that has its roots in motorsport’ have inked the deal for more than 100 million euros and plans to “develop and expand into an automotive technology cluster.” Around one quarter of the purchase price has been earmarked for investment in the facility to deliver on that promised expansion.
Capricorn's offer beat out a rival bid from buyout firm H.I.G Capital, the administrator for Nürburgring, GmbH, said at a press conference. “It was a close decision," administrator Jens Lieser said, adding that the deal included a pledge to invest around 25 million euros to expand the facilities around the Nürburgring.
The assets acquired by Capricorn include an amusement park and two racetracks: a modern 5.1km Formula One circuit and the Nordschleife, a treacherous 20.8-kilometer track first built in 1927, which is now used by the motor industry to hone vehicle dynamics for passenger cars.
Germany-based Capricorn, which supplies high-end crankshafts, cylinder liners, pistons, connecting rods and fibre-reinforced composite materials to the motorsport industry, wants to develop the Nürburgring as a technology centre. Previous efforts to build out the Nürburgring into a resort for car fanatics faltered after the company became insolvent, loaded with debt equivalent to around 50 years' worth of annual profit.
Today, the old track's 73 bends, sharp crests and off-camber surfaces are used by car manufacturers to fine tune suspension and chassis settings.