Nuerburgring Formula One Race Track Sold to Car-Parts Maker

The Nuerburgring, the German race track known as Green Hell for its challenging Formula One course, was bought by an auto-parts maker two years after the former owner and operator filed for bankruptcy protection.

The acquisition by Capricorn Group values the 379-hectare (937-acre) property at more than 100 million euros ($139 million), lawyers managing the insolvency of owner Nuerburgring GmbH said yesterday in a statement. That includes 25 million euros that the Dusseldorf-based buyer will spend to further develop the site.

The Nuerburgring, about a 172-kilometer (107-mile) drive northwest of Frankfurt, was built in 1927 and has hosted at least 30 Formula One races, including a 1976 event where Austrian driver Niki Lauda was seriously injured when his car burned while he was trapped inside. The site was put up for sale last year after its owners failed to pay loans taken out to build hotels and a roller coaster.

“The creditor committee had two very good offers and in the end decided on the offer with the highest price and good prospects for the region,” insolvency lawyer Jens Lieser said in the statement.

Research Center

Capricorn’s acquisition includes the 21-kilometer North Loop and newer 5-kilometer Grand Prix circuit. Last year, Hyundai Motor Co. built a research center at the Nuerburgring with direct access to the tree-lined track, which was dubbed Green Hell by driver Jackie Stewart.

German auto club ADAC bid for the property, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported in November. Formula One Management Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Bernie Ecclestone also submitted an offer, WirtschaftsWoche reported in January.

The Nuerburgring has staged the German Grand Prix every other year since 2008, alternating with the Hockenheimring track.

Capricorn will continue to hold races and concerts on the site and keep the hotel running, according to the statement.