For many drivers, taking on the Nurburgring has meant taking off from the pavement.
Especially in the past, the Nurburgring was dubbed “The Green Hell” by many in the racing world for being arguably the most notoriously challenging track in motorsport. Whether it’s the German course’s narrow lengths, consecutive twisting sections, or the dramatic elevation changes throughout the track, it’s one of the toughest and longest courses to master, and is respected worldwide by brands, teams, racing series, and fans. Most Nurburgring pictures are epic shots simply due to the nature of the track and racing on it, but especially in the days of vintage racing where cars and tracks had less safety restrictions and less downforce, some of the sights were extra special. While it’s great that today’s racers are faster and safer, there’s nothing like the intensity of seeing a car catch air, even if it’s just for a second, and that’s what all these cars and drivers giving it their all on the ‘Ring did.
These pictures were captured at various Nurburgring 1000 kms events, and the one above is from 1974, of a BMW 3.0 CSL being driven by Hans-Joachim Stuck and Jacky Ickx, with the iconic sports car being lifted high off the pavement in this incredible moment.
Nurburgring 1000 kms: Gijs van Lennep / Herbert Müller, Martini Racing/Porsche AG, Porsche Carrera RSR 911.
In its home country, Porsche was showing off the incredible performance potential of the 911, which in the years since 1973 when this picture was taken, has become one of the most legendary sports cars in the entire automotive industry. Driven by Gijs van Lennep and Herbert Müller, it was moments like this one that cemented the Porsche 911’s incredible legacy.
Nurburgring 1000 kms: Niki Lauda / Brian Muir, BMW Alpina, BMW 3.0 CSL.
Driven by Niki Lauda and Brian Muir, this next BMW 3.0 CSL had help from famous tuner Alpina, which has since been acquired by BMW itself. Known today for luxurious and powerful machines, Alpina’s racing legacy was built in one of the most revered places to do that.
Nurburgring 1000 kms: Georg Loos / John Fitzpatrick, Polifac Racing Team (GELO), Porsche Carrera RSR.
This is another Porsche 911 Carrera RSR driven by Georg Loos and John Fitzpatrick, and in this epic moment, the 911 seems to just come up off of the pavement as it crests a hill at immense speed. Especially with the rear-mounted engine of the Porsche 911, immense driving skill and courage would have been required to pull this off.
Nurburgring 1000 kms: Edward Nelson / Peter de Klerk, Edward Nelson, Ford GT40 1009.
Known more widely for its triumph at Le Mans, the Ford GT40, driven here by Edward Nelson and Peter de Klerk, also proved its mettle on the ‘Ring in 1967, where it took a short flight in this image, where you can even see spectators watching feet away, something that is highly unlikely to happen at today’s Nurburging.
Nurburgring 1000 kms: John Fitzpatrick / Toine Hezemans / Manfred Schurti, GELO Racing Team, Porsche Carrera RSR.
Yet another Porsche 911 shows its immense performance, yet again driven by John Fitzpatrick, this time with Toine Hezemans and Manfred Schurti, coming up just above the pavement at the 1975 Nurburgring 1000 kms.
Nurburgring 1000 kms: Bengt Ekberg / Roland Larsson, Kuberol Racing, Porsche Carrera RSR.
Yet another Porsche 911 shows off a much different livery in this image, driven by Bengt Ekberg and Roland Larsson for Kuberol Racing, at the same event as the last one in 1975, making a very similar slight liftoff.
Nurburgring 1000 kms: John Surtees / Peter Schetty / Jacky Ickx, Ferrari s.p.a, Ferrari 512 S Spyder 1012.
Apparently, the car world’s Prancing Horse dabbled in show jumping. Pictured here, the Ferrari 512 S driven by John Surtees, Peter Schetty, and Jacky Ickx in 1970 seems to be going too fast to stay planted on the ground.
Nurburgring 1000 kms: Herbert Müller / Gijs van Lennep, Martini Racing, Porsche Carrera RSR Turbo 911.
Even the massive spoiler on this Porsche Carrera RSR Turbo 911 wasn’t enough to keep the car on the ground at the 1974 Nurburgring 1000 kms. Driven by Herbert Müller and Gijs van Lennep, the car’s immensely wide rear tires can’t be kept down.\
Nurburgring 1000 kms: Helmut Kelleners / Jürgen Neuhaus, Gesipa Racing Team, Porsche 917K.
This Porsche isn’t a 911, but rather a Porsche 917K race car driven by Helmut Kelleners and Jürgen Neuhaus for the Gesipa Racing Team. The motion blur in the picture suggests that the car was traveling at immense speed when it went airborne in this image taken in 1970, and we’re just thankful that the photographer could keep up.
Nurburgring 1000 kms: Vic Elford / Kurt Ahrens Jr, Porsche System Engineering, Porsche 908/02 010.
Unlike the 911’s and the previous Porsche, this one is roofless, and driven in 1969 by Vic Elford and Kurt Ahrens Jr., it goes quite high over the track in this incredible picture.
Nurburgring 1000 kms: Pedro Rodriguez / Chris Amon, Ferrari 312P.
This Ferrari’s upward angle as it goes airborne is such that we can barely see the driver’s helmet in this photo. The car was raced at the Nurburgring 1000 kms in 1969 by Pedro Rodriguez and Chris Amon, and the thrill of a roofless race car going airborne must have been nothing short of exhilarating.