The Green Hell. This was the name bestowed upon the Nordschleife by Sir Jackie Stewart. The reason it stuck was probably because it was true. There was no better way to describe the track that was nestled into the Eifel Mountains in Germany. A track with so many twists and turns and elevations and dips, a track so unpredictable that accidents were par for the course, and racers went there with the certain knowledge that there was the possibility that they would not return.
But there was the other side of the tale. The side of the tale where racecar drivers described it as the most beautiful and toughest racetrack in the world. Where theyâ€™d declare that it was the greatest circuit in the world. Where theyâ€™d confess that it was the only circuit in the world that demanded absolutely everything from a driver. And these words come from some of the greatest racers in the world – the likes of Hans Joachim Stuck, Sir Stirling Moss and Walter Rohrl.
And Hannes M Schalleâ€™s (of Niki Lauda: the untold story fame) documentary on the Nordschleife, is an attempt to capture both sides of this story. The entire movie is shot in chronological order, and it tells the story of the racetrack, narrated by David Croft and Murray Walker. But other than the words that are spoken, both by the narrators and the men who raced at the â€˜Ring, there are those images. The Green Hell brings never before seen footage not only of the Nordschleifeâ€™s F1 years, but also of pre-war racing at the track. And itâ€™s perhaps this that is the most appealing reason for fans to go watch it.
If youâ€™re lucky enough to live in Austria, Germany, UK or Ireland, the movie has hit the big screens today – 21st February. Those of you in Spain and Italy can watch it in cinemas on March 7th. And those of you in India and the rest of the world might have to wait just a little longer to see it, because the release dates havenâ€™t yet been announced. But in the meanwhile, take a look at this trailer. It promises to be a must-see for racing fans.