The future of the Nurburgring circuit in Germany has been in doubt recently with reports that it was on the market after becoming insolvent -- the facility's major owner, the State of Rhineland, had filed for bankruptcy in July 2012. And with a sale looming, there has until now been no indication of whether prospective buyers would maintain it as a performance centre.
However for car fans it seems the news is all good. The Nurburgring, including its satellite hotel and other operations, have been bought by car parts brand Capricorn Group for more than 100 million euros ($154 million), who have confirmed they will continue the circuit's current operations.
A statement on the Düsseldorf-based company's website confirms they have been the successful bidder for the Nurburgring after a process taking several months, and that they will continue to run the circuit's business operations, including racing and motor events, tourist and test drives, and hotel and holiday facilities.
Capricorn Group has about 100 of its total of 350 employees based at the company's Nürburgring chassis tuning test centre, which has been in operation for more than 12 years. "Engines and chassis can be theoretically tested in facilities that artificially simulate natural conditions, but in order to gain a complete impression of the driving behaviour of a vehicle, nothing matches the practical insights that one gains from taking a vehicle onto the racetrack," the company statement says.
The company's managing director -- who has a history of track racing and was a winner in the 2000 Ferrrari Challenge -- has confirmed his personal enthusiasm for the circuit. "The Nurburgring has always been a passion of mine. We have identified the enormous potential of this unique race venue and would like to optimise the existing structures, but above all turn the vision of an Automotive Technology Cluster into reality," Dr Robertino Wild said in an official statement.
Capricorn says such a development would give the Nurburgring region an enduring prospects for the future, and also offer high-quality automotive employment.
However to achieve their plans, Capricorn has already signalled that after it takes over on January 1, 2015, it will shut down the 'ring racer' rollercoaster, and that the Eifeldorf Grune Holle hotel will have to make way for the proposed Auto Tech Cluster. The 'ring card' payment pass for Nurburgring attractions will also be axed.
This reporter is on Twitter: @KarlaPincott