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Nürburgring speed limits will be lifted in 2016

Known as the “Green Hell,” Germany’s infamous Nürburgring Nordschliefe is where carmakers go to prove the mettle of their latest machinery, where tourists go for a thrill, and where a good deal of professional and amateur racing is still done.

But following a fatal crash earlier this year, speed limits were instituted on certain sections of the track, meaning drivers can’t do a full-bore lap anymore. That will change next year, though, as track owner Capricorn Nürburgring GmbH says it plans to lift the limits after making some alterations.

Speed restrictions limiting cars to 155 mph on certain parts of the ‘Ring were enacted after a VLN endurance race in March, when a Nissan GT-R GT3 went airborne in the Flugplatz section of the track; the resulting crash killed a spectator. The rules initially applied only to race cars, but were later extended to production cars as well.

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That currently poses a problem for manufacturers, for whom Nürburgring lap times have become a crucial marketing element. The speed limits effectively ended Koenigsegg’s bid for an overall lap record; the Swedish carmaker has said it only had a limited window to attempt a record run.

Unlimited speed (and unlimited bragging) will return next year, though, after some changes are made to the track. These will include smoothing out a 1,640-foot section around Flugplatz, eliminating five bumps that officials say are the result of wear and tear on the track surface.

Additional guardrails and safety fences will also be installed in certain areas. Work will begin in November and pause at the beginning of the 2016 racing reason next spring. Only seven of the 16 planned changes will be implemented by then, officials says. The altered track also has to be re-certified by the FIA and DMSB, which are respectively the international and German national motorsport governing bodies.