The Nürburgring Südschleife (south loop) was a German motor racing circuit which was built at the same time as the world-famous
NürburgringNordschleife (north loop). These two layouts were joined together by the Start und Ziel (start/finish) area and could therefore be driven as one track that was over convert|28|km|mi| long.
Opened in 1927, the Südschleife was rarely used in its later years and was finally destroyed by the building of the current Nürburgring Grand Prix circuit in the early 1980s. Today only small sections of the original track remain.
The shared start/finish area of the Nürburgring complex consisted of two back-to-back straights joined together at the southern end by a tight loop. The entrance to the convert|7.5|km|mi| Südschleife lay on the outside edge of this hairpin and was signposted as the road to Bonn. It immediately dropped sharply downhill and under a public road before winding through a heavily-wooded section.
Tight corners soon gave way to fast downhill sections with flowing bends until, at the outskirts of the nearby town of Müllenbach, the track turned sharply northwards and began a long climb up the hill.
At the end of this run came a hairpin turn which led to a long curve around the bottom of a hill. This led onto the back straight of the start/finish area. At this point it was possible to continue onto the Nordschleife or take two sharp right-hand turns in order to enter the starting straight once again.
Photographs of the track in use show that trees and hedges were not cut back in many areas, being allowed to grow right up to the trackside. Although the Nordschleife had very little in the way of run-off areas, the Südschleife seems to have had none at all, which was likely to have been a factor in the choice of circuit for major events.
In 1938 a small section of new track (the "Stichstraße") was laid which allowed drivers nearing the end of the Südschleife to bypass the start/finish straights and take a right turn which lead back to the start of the downhill twists. This shortened a lap to around convert|5.7|km|mi|.
The track's 'big brother', the Nordschleife, was much longer and more challenging and so naturally became more famous and more favoured. Throughout its lifetime, the Südschleife was rarely used for major events. In the early days, the full twin-ring layout (the "Gesamtstrecke") was used for the big races but soon the Südschleife was relegated to relatively small events and testing sessions.
The entire Nürburgring Gesamtstrecke was open to the public from its initial opening. At several points around the circuit there were access roads and toll points from which you could begin or end a drive. The Südschleife had one of these at the bottom of the uphill stretch near Müllenbach. More information on this can be found in the public access section of the main Nürburgring article.
The current Grand Prix circuit required the complete destruction of the start/finish area but at a point around convert|1|km|mi|abbr=on into the Südschleife, a modern public road now follows the route, although the bends have been eased and the vegetation does not come as close to the road as it did when the track was open.
This public road continues into the town of Müllenbach but leaves the route of the old track on the outskirts. Nothing remains of the famous corners there.
The road up the hill still exists and is sometimes used to allow access to parking areas for the Grand Prix track. The lower sections are no longer maintained.
* [http://sudschleife.8200rpm.com/index.html Südschleife history and photos]
* [http://www.etracksonline.co.uk/Europe/Germany/nurburgring27-66sud.html eTracks map of circuit]
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