Although some may think automakers test their vehicles at the Nurburgring purely to publicize lap times, the truth is less glamorous.
Sure, some companies do head to Green Hell purely as a marketing move, but most go to the track to torture-test their cars for durability purposes at what is one of the most grueling circuits on earth. Cruising around in the Arctic Circle or the desert of Australia is very important for carmakers, but unrelenting, high-speed testing at the ‘Ring is equally as important.
According to head of Audi Sport product development Stephan Reil, the Nurburgring plays host to an 8,000 km (4,970 mile) torture test for its models, significantly greater than the distance prototype race cars travel during the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
“We have the standard durability test program…But, as we have another use-case that means some of our cars will be used on the track, there we have an 8,000-kilometer durability test on the Nürburgring Nordschliefe with our professional drivers in the car, sometimes race drivers,” Reil said.
Interestingly, Reil said that Audi’s run-of-the-mill models, including its S-branded variants, don’t go through such comprehensive testing at the track, because they are more unlikely to be driven hard by owners.