Originally built in 1969 to replace the bland and bumpy Zeltweg Airfield circuit, the Österreichring track was situated in the Styrian mountains and was a spectacular, scenic, and unique circuit. The track was very fast. Every corner was a fast sweeper and was taken in no lower than 3rd gear in a 5-speed gearbox and 4th in a 6-speed gearbox, and the track had noticeable changes in elevation during the course of a lap, 65 metres from lowest to highest point.
The grandstands and pit buildings were demolished in 2004, rendering the track unusable for any motorsport category.
In late 2004 and early 2005, there were intense discussions concerning whether the owner of the circuit, Red Bull, would find another use for the site, or return motor sports to the venue. There was a circuit extension proposal using part of the old Österreichring. In January 2005, return of motor sports seemed more unlikely than ever, as Dietrich Mateschitz publicly announced that he had no intention of wasting money on a deficient circuit. Throughout 2005 however, there was speculation of the newly founded Red Bull Racing renovating the track to use it as a test venue.
Late in 2008, Red Bull began their €70m reconstruction of the track and DTM chiefs considered a return to the circuit in 2009, and in September 2010, it was confirmed that the circuit would host a round of the 2011 DTM season, now known as the Red Bull Ring. The championship has visited the circuit every year since then.
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