Are you completely new to renting track cars for the Nürburgring, do you like to be well prepared, and does it ease you when you know better what to expect from this experience?
Then keep reading, this article is for you, and will cover the rental process at Apex Nürburg from A to Z!
PLANNING YOUR BOOKING
How far in advance should I book?
We often get the question how far in advance a rental car should be booked, and when it’s too late to do so. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer for this, as it completely depends on which cars have already been booked by other drivers. There are sessions on which we are fully booked out for weeks in advance, and then there are other sessions where we only have a part of the fleet out on the day itself. We recommend booking as soon as you know which date(s) work for you, even if this is months in advance.
Keep in mind that when it gets busy at Apex Nürburg, that influences our answering times. A normal booking process takes between 2 and 6 back-and-forth e-mails (see below how you can keep this amount as low as possible). If you count with an up to 3-day answering time (which is something we try our best to avoid), that means you should try to e-mail 9 days in advance at least.
When does it get busy at Apex Nürburg and the Nürburgring? What is the best time to drive?
If the weather is great, and you’re here during the common holiday months (June to September), you can count on a busier schedule on our side, and more traffic on and around the Nürburgring. Per rule, the track opens for 2 hours in the evening during weekdays, and for up to 11 hours on Saturday and Sunday. Weekdays are usually less busy, as you can imagine. However, there are plenty of exceptions to this program, so always make sure to check whether the track is actually open for the public on the day(s) you’d like to make the trip over. On the Nürburgring website, you will see the opening times for public driving on the Nürburgring Nordschleife. You will also find the main races, events, track days and driver trainings, so you can plan with and around those.
What’s important to keep in mind, is that the later in the session you book, the higher the risk becomes of delays affecting your starting time. Delays can be caused by many different variables, like crashes, fluids on track, extreme weather or traffic conditions, or mechanical or technical issues on the cars. In theory, we do not offer refunds for uncompleted laps, so we highly recommend you book as early as possible and stay flexible with the rest of your itinerary. Obviously, if something happens out of your control, we will work together on finding the best solution.
How can I initiate a request for a rental car?
There are many ways you can reach us. Although we do our best to answer every private message and comment on our social media outlets, to make a booking, you will always have to revert to either one of these options: you send us a direct e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or you fill out a contact form on our website (https://www.apex-nuerburg.com/contact). The contact form will create an e-mail that will also end up in our inbox. There is no need to fill out different contact forms if you want to book different services (like a hotel room or a road tour). You can simply mention which package you are looking to book in the message.
Which details do you need from me to make a booking?
Firstly, we will need to know which rental car(s) you are interested in booking, for how many laps, and on which of those laps, you’d like an instructor to accompany you. You can check our rates on our price list (at the bottom of nearly every page on the website), where you can also see that a few of our rental cars require you to take an instructor with you on your first lap. The reason behind this is that some of our rental cars are faster, more delicate to drive, or simply more expensive. We want to make sure you can handle that particular car, on this particular track, in a safe and fun way, and have an all-round enjoyable experience. For the cars behind the golden column on the price list, this is mandatory, but if it’s mandatory, it’s also included in the price. However, if you are sharing the car with multiple drivers, every driver must drive at least their first lap with an instructor, so then you will have to top-up the bill with €49 per driver.
Secondly, you should let us know which day(s) (and time, if applicable) you’d be able to make the trip over. If you have made sure that the track is open for public driving, the only thing left to check is the availability of the car. During the short sessions, we will most likely assign you a time slot ourselves (as there is a maximum of 3 bookable slots anyway). If we still have plenty of space, then you can choose roughly which time suits you best (in the morning, or the afternoon, for example). To speed up the process, we recommend you give us an alternative date, and an alternative car, if case your desired car or date are unavailable, and if you are flexible with your itinerary.
What are the requirements and limitations for driving a rental car on the Nürburgring Nordschleife?
There are few particular rules that apply during a public session (see below). Most importantly, the Nürburgring Nordschleife is a public road during a public session, so the German Road Traffic Regulations (StVO) apply. This obviously implies that you need to have a valid driving license to participate. Make sure to inform yourself properly whether you need to have an international driving license to drive in Germany (as the same regulations apply on the track). There are no additional age limitations when renting a car from Apex Nürburg.
Then, we will require you to present a valid credit card, which will serve as the security for the damage excess of the rental car you have booked. The credit card needs to be in your name. If it’s not, the holder needs to be present on the day itself to sign the rental contract, or you will need a signed credit card authorization form. Make sure the limit of the credit card can cope with the total excess, if you do not have this money available to you on your account(s). Even though this is only for the worst-case scenario, it’s something you need to be aware of, and keep in mind. You can find the excess of your rental car(s) on the price list.
You can find more information about weight and height limitations for your rental car online. Any relevant modifications to our rental cars are listed on our website. It’s unfortunately not always straightforward to go by the numbers on a linear scale – as proportions and body type matter too. The absolute maximum height is 210 cm, and the absolute maximum weight is 150 kg. If your measurements are between 200 and 210 cm, or between 120 and 150 kg, you will have to come down and try the seat yourself.
How do I lock in my booking?
When we’ve identified the package you’d like to book, we can proceed with a binding booking. For this, we will require your personal data. To complete the booking, we will need your full name, home address (street, house number, postal code, city or town and country), phone number and e-mail address. With this information, we will create an invoice that you can pre-pay. Please note that the moment you receive an invoice, the car(s) and (maybe) instructor(s) have been booked for you. At this point, nobody else can book that slot in that car, which is why your booking becomes binding at that instant, and you are required to proceed with the payment. As soon as your payment, which is due latest 5 days after receipt of the invoice, hits our accounts, your booking is locked and secured. Even though we are strict with our payment, refund and cancellation policy, we will always try to work together with you in case you are forced to reschedule. Just make sure to keep us in the loop if something unexpected happens.
DRIVING THE NÜRBURGRING IN AN APEX NÜRBURG RENTAL CAR
What exaclty happens on the day of my booking, before I start driving?
Finally, we have arrived at the day of your booking. You are required to be at the Apex Nürburg main office (at Hauptstraße 25 in Nürburg) 30 minutes prior to your booking. We will use this time to sign the rental contract, and have you read the safety briefing. We will take a hard copy of your driving license and credit card, so please don’t forget those. Part of the rental contract are our terms and conditions. If you’d like to view them in advance, you can find them at the bottom of each individual rental car page (https://www.apex-nuerburg.com/terms-and-conditions-rentals/).
Once we are done with the paperwork, you will be handed over the keys of the car, and your lap ticket. Our lap tickets are unlimited, so if you were to lose it, and someone else finds it, they will be able to do laps on that card (which we will have to pay for) until we can block it. If this happens in the weekend, we won’t be able to block it until Monday. This is why there is a €500 fine if you lose or break the card.
What are the rules during the public sessions on the Nüburgring Nordschleife?
As mentioned, the normal traffic law applies, which results in a few counterintuitive rules for drivers that have experience with driving other tracks. Most racetracks in the world do not offer an activity similar to the Nürburgring public sessions. For example, overtaking is only allowed on the left, and you, as the driver, are obliged to keep a safe braking distance from the car in front of you. Check your mirrors frequently, and if you see fast traffic approaching, you’ll have to gauge what your next steps should be. In the end, you will have to move over to the right, with your indicators turned on to the right, to let them pass.
Much as on the normal road, there are also a few sections with speed limits, to which you must adhere. In high-season, we can almost guarantee you’ll come across a car at stand-still (whether this is due to an accident, or mechanical problems). Even though the track marshals are often scouting the track for situations like these, it’s more likely that someone has called them to notify them of this hazard. If you are the passenger in a car (as you should not be driving and making phone calls), and you want to inform the track management of a problem, you can reach them at +49 8000 302 112.
Whether or not the marshals are on-site, and are waving their yellow flags, it’s imperative you slow down to 50 km/h when you approach a dangerous zone in any case. Use your hazard light to warn the traffic behind you. You can review the official safety regulations of the Nürburgring on their website: https://nuerburgring.de/driving/touristdrives/safety-regulations.
How can I be a considerate driver?
This is the way you need to look at it: the Nürburgring opens the track for anybody with a road-legal car and the required documents, to enjoy one of the longest and most exciting tracks in the world. This results in a mismatch of cars and drivers, of performance and skill levels, and experience levels. It’s important that, whichever group you belong to, you allow drivers from all other categories the room to have a good time on the track at their own pace. For this to be able to be implemented, communication, predictability and courteousness are key.
The notion that there will be a trophy and a big crowd at the end of your lap should be completely dismissed. Stay predictable, and don’t make any sudden or dangerous movements that might compromise your own safety, or that of the other drivers. Forget about your lap times, trying to keep up with your friends or the car that just overtook you, and simply focus on your experience.
Can I take any passengers? Can a professional instructor go with me?
If you have booked an instructor (you can find more information above on how to pre-book this), they will come and meet you at Apex Nürburg, shortly before your time slot. If the instructor (or anybody else in the car) wears a helmet, you are required to wear one, it’s an all-or-nothing situation. If you wish to wear a helmet, you are more than welcome to use your own, or use one of ours. Keep in mind that at least 1 of our rental cars requires the helmets to have an intercom system built in.
Some of our cars accommodate only 2 people, some of them 4. If you would like to take (a) passenger(s), they simply need to sign the terms and conditions of your rental contract, read the safety briefing, and they are good to go. You are not allowed 3 people on the back seat, only 2.
Do you make a video recording of my self-driven laps? Can I acquire any pictures of myself on track?
You can book our RaceNavigator for your laps. The RaceNavigator has 2 cameras: 1 facing to the track, and 1 facing the driver and passenger. Please note that these devices are not in the cars per rule, so they need to be pre-booked. When you’ve finished your laps, we will upload your footage to the cloud overnight. You will receive the videos earliest the day after your laps, but perhaps later, as we are subject to the live traffic in the office.
Regarding the pictures: there are many different photographers – freelancers – that go stand trackside to get snaps of the cars going around on the Nürburgring. Luckily for you, they all upload their pictures to one main hub: www.racetracker.de. Allow them at least a few hours to upload their pictures after the end of the session.
How long can I keep the car?
We apply 30 minutes per booked lap. From our experience, you normally don’t need this amount of time, but it does give you a bit of flexibility in case there is a closure, or if you need to take a short break. However, what we want to avoid, is your rental car sitting in the car park for no good reason (for example while you take an hour lunch break). When the car is not out doing laps, but it could be (so if the track is open), we ask you to bring the car back, so we can offer it to someone else. This also means that if you are done with laps before the agreed upon ending time, you should just bring it back for its technical check. If you fail to finish your laps in the designated time slot, because you were not driving when you could, you might end up losing your uncompleted laps.
What should I do if the track closes? What happens if I cannot finish my laps?
If the track closes due to an accident, for maintenance to the track, or due to extreme weather conditions (among other reasons), your slot will essentially be put on pause. As soon as the track opens back up, you will be allowed to finish your pre-booked laps. As you can imagine, our schedule can get very compressed after 1 or more closures, so it’s important that you check back into the office to inform yourself of any changes (for example, your 30 minutes per lap may become 20 or 15 minutes, as we will be facing having to do the same number of laps, in a considerably shorter amount of time).
If you end up not being able to do your laps at all on the day you had booked them, and it was out of your control, you’ll get a credit for the remaining laps. We can reschedule them on the spot, if you already know when you can come back, or we will add the laps to our credit list, to which you can make claim at a later point in time.
Something you should keep in mind for your itinerary, is that the starting time of your slot can be delayed considerably. Let’s say, you book a few laps on a Saturday afternoon, at around 16:00 (which is already relatively late, and both you and we are aware of this in advance). We can almost guarantee that during high season, those laps won’t start at 16:00. Track closures and heavy traffic throughout the day (among other reasons) can influence the whole schedule. The drivers that have booked their laps before yours will be given the same courtesy of being allowed to continue driving (and finish) their laps, even if the track closes within their slot.
Can the instructor drive me on one of my booked laps?
That’s unfortunately not allowed. The Nürburgring offers a few “official co-pilot provider” licenses, and the companies that acquire those, are allowed to accommodate passengers.
What should I do if I damage or crash the rental car, or if I am experiencing any issues?
If you are experiencing any technical issues with the car, never hesitate to bring the car back the workshop, so that the technician can have a look. The same goes if you are not comfortable with the car. We will try to find a solution, but we can only do so, if you make us aware of the issue beforehand, and not afterwards.
If you are involved in an accident with your rental car, there are a few steps you need to take (if you can). Try to remain calm and think logically. Drive the car off the track into the grass, but only if you can safely do this, without causing more damages. Turn the engine of the car off, leave the key inside and get over the barriers. You need to alert the marshals of your incident on the phone number +49 8000 302 112 and let them know what you need and where you are. Make sure to let them know if you need medical attention first.
If you do not know the name of the section you are at, there are sign posts with a number on them, every 100 meters, on the barriers. If you mention this number, they should be able to locate you easily. When the marshals arrive on site, they will help you decide whether the car is drivable or not.
As you wait for them to arrive, please call us as well at +49 2 691 519 9982. With the information you and the marshals provide us, we will further organize the towing company and any other logistics. Once our technicians have seen the car, we will make an estimate of the total damages and proceed with the payment. The maximum excess covers (1) damages to the track, barrier, and clean-up costs, (2) recovery costs by the towing company, (3) damages to the Apex Nürburg rental car and (4) damages to third-party vehicles. The total sum of damages you bring the car back with, below the excess, is to be paid by you, on the spot, and anything above that amount is covered by us. We have records of any pre-existing damages, so you don’t have to worry about us charging you for damages you didn’t cause.
If another car is involved, or maybe even at fault, the police will have to come on site (the marshals will close the track and call them). They will assess the damages and write a police report. With that report, you can initiate the process of getting your money back from (the insurance of) the driver that was at fault. However, in most cases, if it’s not completely clear who was at fault, the police will draw the conclusion that every driver pays for their own damages.
What happens after I’ve finished my laps?
Congratulations, you have successfully tackled the Nürburgring Nordschleife! While our technicians check the car for damages, and the office staff checks the lap ticket (making sure you didn’t sneak in an extra lap), please feel free to make use of our free Wi-Fi to share your experience with potential future customers. You are more than welcome to tag us in your Facebook or Instagram post and stories, YouTube videos or any other social media outlets you can find us on.
Moreover, something that helps us tremendously as a young and dynamic company, is positive reviews on said outlets, TripAdvisor and Google, among others. If you have any concerns, or your experience wasn’t up to your expectations, make sure to let the team know in due time, so we can steer it back into the right direction. We want you to have the best Nürburgring experience possible and will do whatever is in our power to make that happen.