Racers Adore the High-speed Turns at Salzburgring
Salzburgring is a racing track that was opened in 1969, near the city of Salzburg, Austria. The track is mostly known for hosting the Motorcycle Grand Prix races between 1971 and 1994.
The other Austrian racing track, Red Bull Ring (former Österreichring and A-1 Ring) near Spielberg, hosted Formula One Grand Prix races. In the past, Salzburgring had hosted some other car racing series, such as Formula Two, World and European Touring Car Championship, World Sportscar Championship and various German and Austrian national championships. Currently, the major competition held at Salzburgring is the TCR International Series.
Salzburingring circuit was opened in 1969
Salzburgring is located in Plainfield, in the Salzkammergut hills, about ten kilometers east of Salzburg. The hills around the circuit form natural grandstands, so the constructors didn’t have too much work.
The track was opened in September 1969 and since then, it has featured a simple layout with two long straights and two main turns at both ends. The slow and narrow Nockstein-Kehre came after the start-finish line, and the fast Fahrerlagerkurve is on the other side.
Extremely fast upper part of the track
The original circuit was 4.238 meters long. In 1975, a chicane was made after the Fahrerlagerkurve. Another chicane was built in 1986, and the track was extended to 4.241 meters. Besides the main Grand Prix layout, the track also had a second layout, the so-called National Circuit, with a right turn before the Emco chicane.
The upper part of the track, from Nockstein-Kehre (turn 5) to Ostschleife (turn 11), is extremely fast and dangerous, but it was the reason why some famous racers described that part of the track as the most exciting.
Motorcycle world championship marked the Salzburgring history
After the opening season, Salzburgring hosted many national events. The highlight was the non-championship Formula Two event in August 1970, when Jacky Ickx won the race. In 1971, the Motorcycle World Championship came to Salzburgring and stayed there until 1994. The record holders with six wins are Giacomo Agostini (in 350cc and 500cc classes) and Angel Nieto (in the 125cc class). Unfortunately, some racers have lost their lives on that track. The Swiss racer Hans Stadelmann lost his life in a crash at the 1977 Austrian Grand Prix.
Never made it to F1 schedule
In May of 1971, the event of the European 2-litre Sports Car Championship for Makes was also held at Salzburgring. The winner was Niki Lauda, who was driving a Chevron B19, ahead of Arturo Merzario in the Abarth 2000 SP. In 1972, the winning car was Chevron B21, driven by Dieter Quester.
WSC victories of Porsche and Alfa
In 1977, the World Sportscar Championship had a season-closing event at Salzburgring. Jochen Mass was the winner in the Martini Racing’s Porsche 936. The next year, the winner was Vittorio Brambilla in the Autodelta’s Alfa Romeo 33SC12. In 1978, the race was a part of the European Sportscar Championship and the winner was Reinhold Joest with Porsche 908/3 Turbo.
Glemser and Ford Capri ruled in the ETCC races
The European Touring Car Championship visited Salzburgring from the early days, starting in 1971. The first winner was Dieter Glemser in Ford Capri RS 2600, ahead of Helmut Marko in that same car. Glemser repeated the ETCC victories at Salzburgring two more times, in 1972 and 1973, every time with a Ford Capri RS 2600. In 1974, Hans-Joachim Stuck and Jacky Ickx won the ETCC race, driving the BMW 3.0 CSL. ETCC races were held regularly at Salzburgring until 1985.
Michel Nykjaer has won three times in the ETCC
In the next couple of years, mainly German and Austrian racing competitions held races at Salzburgring. It was like that until 2008, when the one-off European Touring Car Cup came to the circuit. The winner was Michel Nykjaer with Chevrolet Lacetti.
In 2010, the European Touring Car Cup was expanded to three rounds and the second round was held at Salzburgring. Michel Nykjaer won both races, driving the Seat Leon TDI. In 2010, ETCC was again a single-event competition and it was held at Salzburgring. The winner was Fabrizio Giovanardi with a Honda Accord Euro R.
WTCC visited the circuit three seasons in a row
Good recommendations led to the inclusion of the Salzburgring to the World Touring Car Championship calendar for 2012. The race was held in May as the sixth round of the championship. The winners were Robert Huff (Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T) and Stefano d’Aste (BMW 320 TC).
WTCC returned to Salzburgring in 2013. Michel Nykjaer proved once more that he was the Salzburgring specialist and won the first race, driving a Chevrolet Cruze for NIKA Racing. The second race was won by James Nash in the Bamboo-engineering’s Chevrolet Cruze. For the third year in a row, WTCC came to Salzburgring in May of 2014. The winners were Citroen drivers Yvan Muller and Jose Maria Lopez.
ETCC continued to visit Salzburgring between 2012 and 2014. The winner in 2012 was Fernando Monje (Seat Leon TDI). In 2013, the winners were Dusan Borkovic (Seat Leon) and Mato Homola (BMW 320). Nikolay Karamyshev (Chevrolet Cruze) triumphed in 2014.
TCR International Series at Salzburgring since 2015
In 2015, both WTCC and ETCC didn’t return to Salzburgring, but the TCR International Series came in its inaugural season. The winners were Kevin Gleason (Honda Civic) and Michel Nykjaer (Seat Leon Cup Racer). The Danish driver became the master of the Salzburgring, scoring five victories in three different touring car competitions.
In 2016, TCR returned to the Austrian circuit. Michel Nykjaer wasn’t among the competitors, the winners were Mikhail Grachev and Jean-Karl Vernay. in 2017, Salzburgring was included into the TCR International calendar for the third season in a row.
Video : Salzburgring track introduction with Tom Coronel
Address: IGMS Salzburgring, Salzburgring 1, A 5325 Plainfeld, Austria
Phone: +43 664-3265893
Official website: www.salzburgring.com