They called it The Green Hell.
Now you can buy a 3D printed model of the racetrack that inspired the name to hang on the wall of your Man or Woman Cave.
The Nordschleife of the Nürburgring, the main race course for the German Grand Prix and a Formula One World Championship stop in the years following WWII, is a motorsports complex which climbs and falls through the wooded land around the village of Nürburg, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany.
The Grand Prix race track built in 1984 – and the much longer old “North loop” track – are among the most revered motor racing tracks in the world. At 12.9 miles long and featuring topography with more than 1,000 feet of elevation change from the lowest to highest points, Grand Prix driving legend Jackie Stewart nicknamed the old track “The Green Hell,” and it’s widely thought of as the single most demanding and difficult purpose-built racing circuit in the world.
“When I left home for the German Grand Prix, I always used to pause at the end of the driveway and take a long look back. I was never sure I’d come home again,” Stewart said of his experiences at the track.
The 24 Hours Nürburgring weekend is renowned as well for drawing more than 700 race drivers from the amateur and professional ranks, and up to 290,000 spectators, to see the event.
Now 3D Racetracks, a small Pittsburgh-based company “with a passion for all things motorsport and 3D printing,” is offering “the finest 3D printed racetracks on the planet.”
3D Racetracks says they’re dedicated to seeing that racing fans can “hold your favorite track in the palm of your hand.” Jeremy Burnich, the man behind the racetrack models, says it was his fascination with racing which led him to start the company.
“I guess it’s the same reason a young kid builds a model of an airplane – to be transported somewhere else,” Burnich said. “To feel closer to a place or maybe even a time. In the end, I thought it would be neat to hold my favorite tracks in the palm of my hand. After I did that, it became the tagline for the entire business. You really feel connected to the particular track when you’re holding it. It’s strange. Really, it makes you want to see a race even more, so I guess it feeds the obsession. ”
The tracks, they call them “sculptures,” are original designs 3D printed by Shapeways, and they feature topographically-correct courses based on data which represents, at least in the case of the Nordschleife model, a graphic look at the elevation changes on the famed North Loop.
“Really, it’s because I’m an American that I started to make these tracks. You guys in Europe are pretty lucky when it comes to motor sports,” Burnich told 3DPrintwise.com. “You have such a great racing culture and have so many famous tracks and GP circuits all within driving distance.”
The track models are created by printing binder material – and colored ink – onto a bed of gypsum-based powder. Once the printing is complete, the models are finished with a cyanoacrylate (super glue) sealant to make them very durable and to ramp up the vivid colors. 3D Racetracks says they can also add clearcoat to the models prior to shipping to provide even more toughness.
There are currently 73 track models available from versions of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to a representation of the famous Monaco Grand Prix track, and they’re priced from $20 to $120. A sandstone version of the Nordschleife circuit which has a coarse finish retails for $85.
There are a growing number of businesses built on the foundation of 3D printing technology, and Jeremy Burnich managed to combine his love of motor racing and 3D printing to build his company, 3D Racetracks, around both of his loves. You can discuss the way 3D printing has spurred the economy and opened up new possibilities for artists and business people in the Printing the Green Hell forum thread on 3DPB.com.