1930 to 1932: From the original idea to the first race
Ernst Christ is the true father of the Hockenheimring: It was in 1930 that this young assistant timekeeper came up with a plan to build a racetrack in his home town of Hockenheim. The town’s mayor, Philipp Klein, supported the project, and, on Christmas Day, 1931, the munici-pal council unanimously approved the plans for the new circuit. The building work began on March 23, 1932, and only two months later, on May 25, a dream came true when the first motorcycle race in Hockenheim got under way. For this small town, it marked the beginning of an era that would make its name famous throughout the world.
1938: From triangular to oval
Just six years later, in 1938, the circuit was fundamentally changed. The triangular course was modified to form the circuit that was basically used until the end of 2001. Through the inclusion of the Ostkurve, the Hockenheimring took on its famous oval form and, with the track being made wider at the same time, it became a true high-speed circuit. In terms of safety, the new “Kurpfalzring” was at that time considered exemplary.
1947 to 1963: The restart
In the Second World War, the Hockenheimring had been seriously damaged. Tracked vehicles had demolished the roadway and the wooden structures had been torn down. Nevertheless, the motor sports fans in the region were keen to get things going again, and in 1947, the Hockenheim-Ring GmbH was established to look after the economic side of the organisation. On May 11, 1947, only two years after the end of the War, cars started thundering around the circuit again. The first German Motorcycle Grand Prix was held at Hockenheim on May 19, 1957.
1961 to 1966: The Motodrom is born
At the beginning of the sixties, because of the new Mannheim-Walldorf motorway, changes to the Hockenheimring became unavoidable. In 1961, Ernst Christ came up with the spectator-friendly Motodrom concept. The building work began in spring 1964. On May 22, 1966, the then German Transport Minister, Dr. Hans-Christoph Seebohm, opened the new Motodrom for the German Motorcycle Grand Prix.
Since 1970: Formula 1
The royal class came to the Kurpfalz 35 years ago: On August 2, 1970, the first Formula 1 race was held in Hockenheim. More than 100,000 spectators witnessed Jochen Rindt’s victory in a Lotus-Ford. In 1971, Formula 1 returned to the Nürburgring, but in 1976, Niki Lauda had a serious crash on the Nordschleife. After that, Formula 1 came back to Hockenheim in 1977. There was one interruption – in 1985 for the opening of the new Nürburgring. Ever since then, the German Formula 1 Grand Prix has been held at the Hockenheimring.
1999 to 2003: Rebuilding work
Because the old circuit was too long (6.8 km), and because various sections of it ran through dense woods where it was inaccessible for spectators, plans were forged in 1999 to design a shorter circuit with more possibilities for overtaking. On December 21, 2001, Hockenheim-Ring Besitz GmbH received approval for the project, and work began on February 4, 2002. On completion of the rebuilding work at a cost of some 62 million euros, the Hockenheimring was now more attractive than ever. Two kilometres shorter, the new circuit guaranteed plenty of exciting overtaking manoeuvres, and, with the new stands, the capacity increased from 83,000 to 120,000. The new motoring safety centre was a further new attraction.
2007: THE ANNIVERSARY YEAR
On its 75th birthday, the Hockenheimring could look back with pride on the past and optimistically into the future. Although motorsport’s elite class, Formula 1, will only drop by every two years from this year onwards, there is still plenty of action on the Ring. Ernst Christ’s once visionary idea of a motorcycle race track in the heart of the Electoral Palatinate has meanwhile become an internationally renowned and appreciated race track. What’s more, the Hockenheimring is now regarded as an extremely versatile and coveted event venue. True to the slogan “More than Racing”, the hallowed Ring thus offers plenty of space for events of all kinds in addition to numerous exciting motorsport events. Whether it’s an unforgettable ride in the world’s “fastest taxi’ or perhaps a Formula beginner course, an incomparable conference in the Baden-Württemberg Center or a ticket for the VIP lounge in the impressive South Grandstand with a unparalleled view over the entire Motodrom – the singular atmosphere of the Hockenheimring has enthralled everyone so far!
2012: A LEGEND CELEBRATES ITS BIRTHDAY
On its 80th birthday, the Hockenheimring can look back with pride on the past and optimistically into the future. Ernst Christ’s once visionary idea of a motorcycle race track in the heart of the Electoral Palatinate has meanwhile become an internationally renowned and appreciated race track. What’s more, the Hockenheimring is now regarded as an extremely versatile and coveted event venue. True to the slogan “More than Racing”, the hallowed Ring thus offers plenty of space for events of all kinds in addition to numerous exciting motorsport events.
2013: The Rise of Rock’n‘Heim
The premiere of the 3-day festival Rock’n’heim was held in front of 40,000 fans at the Hockenheimring in August 2013. More than 40 acts were performed on several stages over three days, with the music ranging from modern rock to dynamic electronics through to urban music. In close cooperation with the Marek Lieberberg Concert Agency, the festival plans to guest at Hockenheim until at least 2017.
2014: Böhse Onkelz
After their departure in 2005, the band disappeared from the radar for a long time, after which they celebrated their brilliant comeback to the Motodrom in 2014. The Böhsen Onkelz have sold almost seven million albums and placed number one in the charts for seven consecutive years in a row. In 2014 they pushed the reset button and got back together again, with their fans backing them up 100%. After a break of nine years, they played their first joint concerts at the Hockenheimring in Baden-Württemberg on the 20th and 21st of June. Almost 100,000 fans per concert followed them to the Ring.
2015: 30th ANNIVERSARY OF NITROLYMPX
2015 saw numerous open-air events at the Hockenheimring in Baden-Württemberg. After having celebrated their comeback in 2014 in the Motodrom, a year later the Böhsen Onkelz followed this up with four days of concerts. A total of 320,000 enthusiastic fans rocked their socks off over two weekends in front of what concert promoter Wizard Promotion referred to as the word’s largest concert stage. The mobile high-tech construction in racetrack’s infield was 102 metres wide and an incredible 37 metres high – almost as high as a nine-storey high-rise. The Australian hardrock giants AC/DC also set the air on fire at the Ring in front of 105,000 fans. Along with their shows in 2001, 2003 and 2009, this was now their fourth performance at the Hockenheimer Motodrom that sold out within a matter of minutes. Although shortened to one concert day, the Rock’n’Heim festival also continued – with appearances by top stars such as Linkin Park, Farin Urlaub Racing Team and Kraftclub. It was also the anniversary of a very special event. The NitrOlympX, Europe’s biggest drag racing event, celebrated its 30th birthday. About 300 national and international teams in eight Pro classes battling for the FIA and FIM European Championship crown, as well as eight other hotly contested Sportsman classes competed at the Rico Antes Quarter Mile in front of a total of 45,000 visitors. The Saturday Night Show – a cult event – was a touch more spectacular for the anniversary: the fans went wild in the sold-out stands as jet dragsters blew flames up to 30 metres in length across the asphalt before their eyes. The NitrOlympX once again proved that it was the highlight of the event calendar, especially for adrenaline-charged fans.
2018: FOUNDATION STONE LAID FOR PORSCHE EXPERIENCE CENTER
After years of development and strategic realignment of the internationally renowned Formula 1 racetrack, the Porsche Experience Center’s foundation stone was laid in 2018 with all stakeholders in attendance. As the strategic project company, emodrom GmbH is responsible for the further development of this tradition-steeped racetrack. The sports car manufacturer’s seventh customer experience centre worldwide is built on an area of around 160,000 square metres. It is a modern building with event and exhibition areas, conference rooms and restaurants, as well as a 2.7 km handling circuit with dynamic driving profiles and an off-road park. This model can only be found in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Silverstone, Le Mans and Leipzig to date.