F1 at the Nurburgring Nordschleife
F1 cars haven't raced at the Nurburgring Nordschleife since Niki Lauda's 1976 accident. And for good reason. The 14 mile track is hugely bumpy with plenty of blind corners and points where cars can jump into the air. In addition, the track is ridiculously dangerous - the whole track has almost no runoff areas. So I was thrilled to see that BMW let their F1 driver Nick Heidfeld tackle the track in the 2006 F1 car this weekend. Sadly it was more of a photo op than a serious attempt at a fastest lap which (for all the reasons listed above) would have been an extremely risky proposition.
Thankfully video of the event is provided - notice how much higher the ride height of the car is set. This is likely due to the extreme bumps on the circuit but must have seriously affected the aerodynamics of the car. From the video, it's clear that Heidfeld is not pushing too hard - his best lap was ~ 8 mins which is slower than some fairly inexpensive cars. Heidfeld had to slow down at various points on the circuit for photo ops though and I'm sure if BMW had let him, he would have tried to break the lap record.
The current lap record is held by the late Stefan Bellof at 6:11.13 in a Porsche 956 and it looks like that record will probably not be challenged for some time. Disclaimer: My only driving experience on the Nordschleife is playing Gran Turismo 4. My best lap in the Formula 1 car is ~ 5 mins but it's not all that realistic.