The old Schleizer Dreieck, a beautiful natural race track.
This page tells the story of the old Schleizer Dreieck, the oldest street circuit in Germany located near the city of Schleiz in the former DDR (East Germany). This was once a beautiful natural race track that could compete with circuits like Spa-Francorchamps. For safety reasons, the track was shortened and became an average street circuit...
The Schleizer Dreieck, German for Schleizer Triangle, is the oldest street circuit in Germany. In 1922 engineer Karl Slevogt discovered that the triangular connection of three roads South of the city of Schleiz was a very good site to test sport scars.
The first event at the Schleizer Dreieck was an fuel economic contest in 1923. The first race was for motorcycles in 1924. The first car race was held in 1933 and the last pre war race was in 1937.
At this satellite photo you can recognize the current circuit very well. The part outside is the original track.
The circuit was 7,631 km (4.769 Miles) long and was driven anti clockwise with an elevation of 60 metres. The Schleizer Dreieck was comparable to Spa-Francorchamps.
Just like Spa the corners where fast and fluent, except the connection corners, and in combination with the elevations it was one of the most beautiful circuits in Germany.
In May 1988 a shorter version was used to cut off a section trough the city of Schleiz which brought the length back to 6,805 km (4.253 Miles).
After World War two Schleiz became a city in the socialist DDR. Despite of that, in 1948 some race enthousiast organised motorcycle races at the circuit.
Until 1955 it was a pure East German buisiness. But since 1956 drivers from other countries came to Schleiz which was a huge boost for the popularity of the races.
The first post war car races at the Schleizer Dreieck where held in 1961. As a result of the cold war West German drivers where not allowed to race in the DDR since 1962 and since the early seventies foreign drivers came only from Socialist neighbour countries.
Finally in 1989, after the fall of the communism, Western drivers where allowed to race again at the Schleizer Dreieck.
In 1991, the both Germanies are reunited than, the circuit was found no longer suitable for car racing.
In 1992 gravel traps where created to improve the safety of the circuit, and a chicane was added in 1993. As a result of that, sidecar races where returned to the circuit in 1994.
But at the end of 2002 the circuit lost the license for motorcycle races because of the lack of safety. After that there have been some car races but it was clear that this type of circuit could not suffice modern safety standards.
In 2003 works started who would change the track dramatically!
They built a new connection halfway the original track with a new start/finish area. The result was a circuit from just 3,805 km (2.378 Miles).
By contrast to the old circuit, the new one had a "stop and go character". The new circuit was opened on August the 21st 2004 which was the end of the era of the old Schleizer Dreieck.
© Text: Herman Liesemeijer Photos: Jan van der Graaf
Satellite photo: Google Maps