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Classic onboard - Nakajima rides the Osterreichring rollercoaster

29 Jun 2016

Ultra-fast and spectacularly undulating, Austria’s fearsome Osterreichring - the circuit from which today’s Spielberg track was crafted - played host to 18 Grands Prix between 1970 and 1987. We ride with Japanese ace Satoru Nakajima as he gives us a breath-taking driver’s eye view of the legendary lost track in its final year of use…

Built high in the rolling hills in 1969 as a permanent replacement for the teeth-rattlingly bumpy Zeltweg airport track, the original 5.9km Osterreichring was rightly regarded as one of the most challenging circuits in the world. However, by 1987 - the year in which this onboard footage was captured - its suitability for Grand Prix racing had begun to be called into question, and its plight wasn’t helped by successive startline crashes. This terrific clip comes from the thankfully successful third start, and sees our pilot Satoru Nakajima creeping off the grid before dodging team mate Ayrton Senna’s bogged-down Lotus. He then barrels through a cloud of cement dust - used to soak up fluids from the earlier shunts - on his way to Hella Licht - formerly one of the fastest corners on the circuit, but seen here in its slowed down chicane form.  By the end of the lap, during which he’s routinely sprayed with sparks, Nakajima is 10th, but over the remaining laps he’d slip slowly backwards, eventually finishing three laps down in 13th.