Michael Schumacher will take a 2011-spec Mercedes Formula 1 car for a hot lap around the iconic Nürburgring Nordschleife circuit in a demonstration run next month.
Since retiring from Formula 1 competition at the end of last season, the seven-time World Champion has taken on an ambassadorial role with the German carmaker where he will participate in a host of promotional events over the course of the year. Schumacher’s lap will occur just before the running of the famous 24 Hours of Nürburgring sports car race.
His outing will be the first for a Formula 1 car since 2007, when Nick Heidfeld took a BMW-Sauber around the daunting 20.81-kilometre circuit in a demonstration run.
“I have a lot of fond memories of the Nürburgring and am really looking forward to giving fans and friends from my home town of Kerpen, which is quite close to the Nürburgring, something to remember as they see me drive by,” Schumacher said in a media release.
“But it will be a fantastic experience for me too, driving along the Nordschleife in a state-of–the-art Formula 1 Silver Arrow, particularly in view of the fact that the Silver Arrow’s legend began here. Posting a lap in a modern Silver Arrow on the most beautiful and most testing circuit in the world, what a brilliant mix – it’s every motor racing driver’s dream!”
Nicknamed the ‘Green Hell’ by three-time champion Sir Jackie Stewart, the 174-corner Nürburgring Nordschleife hosted the German Grand Prix from 1950 until 1976, the year in which Niki Lauda suffered near-fatal burns after crashing early in the race.
F1 would return on an emasculated 4.5-kilometre autocourse version in 1984, and today a further butchered version of the circuit hosts the German Grand Prix on alternating years with the Hockenheim circuit.