This is where you buy your tickets to go around the Ring. Laps are about €20, which was about US$30 at the time. You'd get a magnetic stripe card just like you would on the subway, and when it runs out of laps, the machine at the tollbooth consumes it.
This is also the area to see all the cool cars. We saw a Mercedes-Benz CLK63 AMG Black Series, a Porsche GT3 RS, a few Audi R8s, a Lamborghini Gallardo, a Lotus Elise, a Honda NSX, a couple of Vipers, and gobs of BMW M3s and other fast cars. Of course there were plenty of ordinary cars, too.
One neat feature was the little LED display above the monitor that you can see top center here. It had a map of the course, and the sections that were under caution would flash.