Germany’s ‘Green Hell’ Nuerburgring Formula 1 Track Up for Sale

The Nuerburgring, the German race track known as Green Hell for its challenging Formula One course, goes on sale tomorrow after its owners failed to pay loans taken out to build hotels and a rollercoaster on the site.

Investors can submit bids starting tomorrow for the 379-hectare (937-acre) property, Jens Lieser, the lawyer managing the insolvency of owner Nuerburgring GmbH, said today by telephone. Bidders will probably include event organizers as well as automakers and suppliers that would use the tracks to test equipment, he said.

“The value of the property is between 120 million euros ($156 million) and priceless,” Lieser said after a press conference held in Mainz to announce the auction. “We’re talking about a motorsports icon.”

The Nuerburgring, Germany’s most famous race circuit, was built in 1927 and has since hosted at least 30 Formula One races, including the 1976 event where Austrian driver Niki Lauda’s car burned with him trapped inside. The owner and operator filed for insolvency in 2012 after amassing debt to build hotels and an amusement park, Lieser said.

The next Formula One race at the track is set to take place in July, according to the venue’s website. The Nuerburgring is located in the village of Nuerburg in the west of Germany.

In February, Hyundai Motor Co. built a 4.4 million euro research center at The Nuerburgring with direct access to the tree-lined track dubbed Green Hell by driver Jackie Stewart. The grounds for sale include the 21-kilometer (13-mile) North Loop and newer 5-kilometer Grand Prix circuit.

Investors can bid for the whole property or parts of it, Lieser said. The state government is expected to approve a law requiring the new owners to keep the site open to the public, he said. Bidding is set to end in September and the sale is expected be completed in the first quarter of 2014.

KPMG International is advising the sellers, according to a statement from Lieser’s office today.

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