The Hockenheimring can look back on an eventful year. Highlights in 2019 included a series of successful major events such as the Formula 1 German Grand Prix and two open-air concerts with megastar Ed Sheeran as well as the ceremonial opening of the Porsche Experience Center Hockenheimring. The last few months were also marked by changes to the company’s top management team: following the retirement of Managing Director Georg Seiler, Jorn Teske and Jochen Nerpel took over management of Hockenheim-Ring GmbH.
Race goes down in history
The last Formula 1 Grand Prix on the Hockenheimring was one of the most exciting and emotional ever. Sold out spectator stands, capricious weather, exuberant fans and an incredibly dramatic race were ingredients making the Formula 1 Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix of Germany from 26 to 28 July an absolute highlight of the Formula 1 season. About 61,000 fans went on an emotional rollercoaster ride in the incomparable atmosphere of the Hockenheim Motodrom on race Sunday. From a German perspective, the weekend was crowned by the Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel’s outstanding performance. Despite his poor starting position as number 20 on the starting grid, he managed to secure second place on the podium in a spectacular comeback. Winner of the highly exciting and turbulent race – frenetically celebrated by the almost 10,000 Dutch fans in the stands – was Max Verstappen (Red Bull Racing). Hockenheim-Ring GmbH organised another emotionally moving highlight in cooperation with the Formula 1 managers: Mick Schumacher drove a few demonstration laps with his father Michael’s Ferrari F2004, in which Michael won his seventh world championship 15 years ago.
Ed Sheeran gives his biggest concerts ever
Ed Sheeran provided the musical highlight of the year. One of today’s most famous singer-songwriters filled the Motodrom with almost 100,000 visitors per evening on 22 and 23 June as part of his “Divide Tour”. Without a big stage show, equipped with simply a guitar, loop station and microphone, the brilliant musician thrilled the audience with all his great hits. The Brit assured that these were his biggest concerts ever. They were also the year’s largest individual concerts held in Germany.
Varied event calendar, 800,000 visitors
A total of around 800,000 people visited the Hockenheimring in 2019. Alongside Formula 1 and the open-air concerts with Ed Sheeran, crowd pullers included the DTM, the NitrOlympX drag racing event, the ADAC GT Masters, the IDM and the Bosch Hockenheim Historic. Events such as the VETERAMA hobby mechanic trade fair, the e4 TESTIVAL, the Formula Student Germany design competition and the BASF Company Cup rounded off the diverse event calendar.
Hockenheim-Ring GmbH also organised the fun soapbox spectacle “Jubi Fun Cup” as part of the City of Hockenheim’s anniversary celebrations, which saw over a dozen creative teams take up the challenge on a specially prepared circuit next to the Motorsport Museum.
Porsche Experience Center Hockenheimring opens
After about a year of construction, sports car manufacturer Porsche opened its seventh Porsche Experience Center (PEC) worldwide at the Hockenheimring during the “Sportscar Together Day” festival in mid-October. According to the organiser the festive opening weekend was attended by around 70,000 visitors. Alongside driving programmes on the PEC tracks, the varied programme included the final of the Porsche Sports Cup at the Hockenheimring, a children’s adventure world and live acts such as the German hip hop group “die Fantastischen Vier” (also known as Fanta 4) on stage. The approximately 170,000 square metre PEC site in the heart of the race track houses a customer experience centre, a handling track, driving dynamics surfaces and an off-road circuit. Porsche Deutschland GmbH implemented this project in cooperation with the emodrom group, which together with Hockenheim-Ring GmbH management is responsible for strategic development of the race track. This first measure is the beginning of a series of forward-looking projects they are currently working on at full speed.
New dual management team
The Ring’s managing director Georg Seiler retired at the end of August after 41 years of service. The 67-year-old handed over the baton to his two successors, Jorn Teske and Jochen Nerpel, who took over management of Hockenheim-Ring GmbH on 1 September.
Jorn Teske was head of the marketing department for over 13 years and, since 2017, authorised signatory of Hockenheim-Ring GmbH. He has taken over management of the administration department. Jochen Nerpel, who had been head of technology and operations at the Ring since 2016, is now the managing director of this department. Below both take stock for the first time after a quarter of a year at the head of the company:
“The 2019 season presented us with special challenges – not only due to the high number of events. The structural changes taking place on the site at the same time also demanded maximum commitment and flexibility from the entire team. My colleague Jorn Teske and I would like to thank the staff expressly for their work over the past year. We were only able to master it all by working together,” says Jochen Nerpel, looking back on the last months.
Jorn Teske adds: “Precisely because our entry into management took place in the middle of last season and in a phase of structural upheaval in the city and society, it was particularly valuable and helpful for us that the team and our partners gave us such a positive and helpful reception in our new role. Without their support we would not have been able to conclude new contracts with the DTM and the ADAC GT Masters, introduce initial internal restructuring measures and launch concepts for new event formats in such a short time. Overall, we are optimistic about 2020.”
You can find the calendar of events for 2020 here.