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The 11417 meters (7.1 mile) long public roads in the wooded countryside to the west of Stuttgart were used as the temporary race track Solitude between 1924 and 1965.
The recreation area in the forests and the track was named after the nearby castle Schloß Solitude, which is situated 2 km to the north.

After WW II, the Solitude featured several German Motorcycle GPs and non-championship F1 races which attracted huge crowds of up to half a million people!
The average in the last decade was said to be 288,000 spectators, and most of them probably had only a short walk from their home in the city of Stuttgart.

Legendary pilots like Geoff Duke, John Surtees, Wolfgang Graf Berghe von Trips, Dan Gurney, Jack Brabham or Jim Clark competed there.
In addition, the Solitude was used by Mercedes-Benz and Porsche (both companies being based in Stuttgart) and NSU (the world's largest motorcycle factory in the 1950s) as a test track, as it resembled the Nürburgring
(coincidentally, the 11417 meters of the Solitude are exactly the half of the 22835 meters of the Nordschleife after the addition of Hohenrain chicane in 1967).

Hans Herrmann, GP driver for Mercedes-Benz in the 1950s and Le Mans Winner 1970 in a Porsche 917, lives nearby in Magstadt.

The last race on the Solitude circuit was held in 1965 due to several reasons, especially the questionable safety for pilots and spectators, as there are almost no run-off areas, but a lot of trees next to the track. And between the trees and on the hills sides, the spectators were placed. Keeping these crowds under control was a apparently a big problem: The 1962 program has 4 pages of recommendations, rules and laws for spectator behaviour!
Despite these threats, the all-time motorcycle record is said to be held by Mike "the Bike" Hailwood on a 500cc MV Agusta, with an average of approx.160km/h (100mph) in the rain.

The much safer permanent race track in Hockenheim, which had to be rebuilt because of the new Autobahn A61 cut the old triangle circuit there in half, was considered as replacement. Some of the first races in Hockenheim even were named Solitude GP. The new Hockenheim layout was designed by John Hugeholtz, and has some similarities to the Solitude track: after a long and lonesome straight in the forest, the pilots enter a crowded stadium-like section with tight turns, just like it used to be at Büsnau and Schatten.

As it always consisted of public roads, the main part of the track can still be followed today, speed limited to 60 or 80 km/h though.
People who travel on the A8 Karlsruhe-Munich, or come via Heilbronn on the A81 joining the A8 at Leonberger Dreieck, can leave the Autobahn there at the Leonberg junction, turn right and arrive almost immediately at the former Start/Finish straight, which is situated in the north western corner of the counter-clockwise track. The trip with a full lap of the Solitude will only take about 16km and can be done in 20 minutes.

The oval-shaped "Zeitnehmerhaus" tower on the left of the straight, with Mercedes and Bosch written on it, and the pits on the right side still exist. Also, an "ADAC Verkehrsübungsplatz" (traffic exercise area) is located there in the infield area.
To follow the counter-clockwise track, turn left at Seehaus corner to go past the Hotel Glemseck (a meeting place for motorcyclists), into the forest, upwards to the Hedersbach Kurve, which is a very steep and tight uphill right hand turn, similar to Ex-Mühle at the Nürburgring. The track continues to climb steeply (with 15% as steep as the Ring's famous Quiddelbacher Höhe/Flugplatz) uphill in a section named Elend (misery, certainly for pilots of low-powered vehicles), and further up to Frauenkreuz.
Here, the track used to turn left, and using a shortcut over a wooded hill, the track used to drop down with a 11% gradient to join the main road again at Dreispitz.
Continuing in the forest, past the Lettenlöcher, a very fast section with some long sweeps and waves (somewhat similar to the old bumpy Döttinger Höhe at the Ring) leads past the Steinbachsee lake to the village of Büsnau. Here, near the Hotel Schatten, the track leads downhill in two sweeping U-turns located in open meadows, were motorbikers can exercise extreme leaning angles.
After a sharp left turn, the track enters the Mahdental valley, with the Glems creek to the left and hills to the right.
This 4 km long puzzling section in the forest, with 10 left turns and 8 right turns, was described by Phil Hill as being more difficult to learn and memorize than the whole Nürburgring, because all of the turns looked alike despite being quite different in radius and lenght.
The trees on both sides of the constantly winding road limit the view ahead, so even when cruising near the speed limit of 60km/h one can have the impression of riding a bobsleigh down an ice tunnel.

Several memorial crosses along the road, usually at the biker-killing armco, remind trespassers of fatal accidents.

In 1996, an Oldtimer festival with parading race cars was held on the start/finish straight of the Solitude, including Herrmann's Mercedes W196 and Porsche 917.

In 1998, the approx. 600 m long section between Frauenkreuz and Dreispitz was "re-nature-ized" (i.e. new trees were planted) in a trade-off for the forest which was cut down during construction of the new nearby Autobahn Restaurant area "Sindelfinger Wald". It is possible to take a short deviation outside of the forest and rejoin the original track at Dreispitz, but the complete original layout is history now. Protests did not prevent it.

On Christmas of 1999, the storm "Lothar" knocked down a lot of trees in France and Germany, and also many trees along the Solitude roads. This changed the impression one has when driving along the roads of the old race track.

Some facts about the Solitude race track:

The race track is a public road that was rebuilt in a joint venture of the State of Baden-Württemberg, the State Capital Stuttgart, the County of Leonberg and the Automobil Club section of ADAC-Gau Württemberg as a modern Test and Race Track for Automobiles and Motorcycles in the years 1952 to 56.

Highest Point of race track: 200 meters behind Frauenkreuz at km 3 with 505.92 m
Lowest Point of race track: in Mahdental valley at Glems bridge with 382.59 m
Elevation difference : 123.33 m
Lenght of track: 11417 m
Width of track: 8-12 m, at start 24 m
Steepest rise: 15 % from Glemseck up to Hedersbachebene
Steepest drop: 11% from Frauenkreuz down to Dreispitz
Steepest banked turn: 14% in Hedersbachkurve
Smallest corner radius: 37 meter in Hedersbachkurve
Number of corners: 26 left and 19 right, 45 curves in total
Longest straight: 550 m between Steinbachsee and Büsnau

Permanent underpasses for spectators are at:
Start and Ziel, Büsnau, Schattengrund, Bruderhaus, Cafe Glemstal und Krumbachtal

Lap records (as written in the 1962 progam):
Motorcycles: 153,6 kph 1956 Bill Lomas (England) Moto-Guzzi
Sidecars: 139,6 kph 1956 Noll/Cron (Germany) BMW
Cars: 172,2 kph 1961 Dan Gurney (USA) Porsche Formula 1

Horse and Power

The Stuttgarter Roessle, the 300+ year old sign of the city The Porsche Logo The Ferrari Horse The origin of the Ferrari Logo
In case someone wonders why a rather familiar looking black and yellow prancing horse sign is placed on the Solitude maps:
This is the sign (Coat of Arms) of Stuttgart (which is derived from "Stud Garden" or horse farm). It is called Rößle.
Horses were breeded in the Stuttgart valley many centuries ago, but nowadays Stuttgart is more known for its output of horse power. ;-)
The Rößle, which is also placed in the center of the Logo of Porsche, is in official use for over 3 centuries. The cavallino rampante of a certain Italian car manufacturer, which is said to have literaturally fallen from sky during World War I were it was used as the sign of a pilot, is used since the 1930s by Enzo Ferrari.