Heidfeld overjoyed by Nordschleife run 30 Apr 2007
BMW Sauber driver Nick Heidfeld made history on Saturday when he became the first driver in over 30 years to tackle the legendary Nordschleife track at the Nurburgring in a Formula One car. Heidfeld completed three laps of the 20.8 kilometre circuit in an F1.06, clocking a best time of 8m34s on his second run.
"The drive was simply incredible, exclaimed the German. I thought it would be great to drive on the Nordschleife before I started out. But it was even better than I had expected. This racing track is the best in the world. I'd really like to have emptied the tank. It was a very special moment when I left the Grand Prix circuit in the direction of the Nordschleife. I was really shaken up at the Bergwerk section and on the Dottinger Hohe. I'll never forget today as long as I live.
Heidfelds run round the Nordschleife was watched by a crowd of over 45,000 spectators, who were at the Nurburgring for a day of special events celebrating BMWs contribution to motorsport. Despite unusually hard demonstration tyres and a short transmission ratio, Heidfeld notched up a top speed of 275 km/h on the long Dottinger Hohe straight.
"We wanted to give fans a special treat, explained BMW Sauber team principal Mario Theissen. And I believe we have done this with the entire BMW motor sport programme. Naturally, the high point was Nick's drive with the F1.06. We had implored him to be careful. The day was a homage to the fans and to this unique circuit in the world of racing. For once, the lap times were a secondary consideration."
Though very few modifications were made to Heidfelds car, the Nordschleifes uneven surface meant the team had to adjust the F1.06's ride height to provide maximum ground clearance. Four centimetres were added at the front and eight at the rear . Another special measure was the addition of wireless communication, which enabled team manager Beat Zehnder to maintain contact with Heidfeld for the entire length of the circuit by hovering overhead in helicopter.