The Nürburgring and Le Mans are both race tracks, but each represents a different side of the automotive coin. When an automaker wants to prove it can build an all-out race car, it enters one of the categories at Le Mans. When an automaker wants to prove it can build an all-around road car, it goes to the Nürburgring. Yet the 'Ring as a global phenomenon and lap-time graveyard is recent; the Nordschleife didn't appear in Playstation's 'Gran Turismo' until GT4 in 2004. Today, it's unimaginable that a high-profile racing game wouldn't include the 'Ring from the off.
It's been a wild 15 years for both the video game and the track, so the folks at Sony put together a 19-minute video on how the 'Ring and the game have changed.