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Old 07-28-2007, 12:30 PM   #1
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Default The 'Ring Experience

Got an email earlier this week from a friend of mine. He is living the good life and doing what any car enthusiast should do....

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Hello all, below is a bit I wrote about my most recent experience at the Nurburgring in Germany. Go there one day, seriously!

The gate arm moves up every few seconds, letting yet another car out. Put in the ticket, wait for the gate, then slowly creep out through the cones they have set up. Once you are past the cones, it is a free for all. Cars going everywhere, some fast, some slow, but all headed down the hill. The nice thing here is everyone passes on the left, always, no matter what. Motorcyles, Ferraris, Porsches, Peugeots, and even tour buses are all here all at the same all sharing the same piece of real estate. Apparently Germany doesn't have its own Ralph Nader, or a team of tort lawyers. This is truly gearhead nirvana....

I am at the famed Nurburgring, a road course that runs through the Eifel mountains in Western Germany. They run the place like a toll road, except you pay for each lap by going through this gate. It runs 12.7 miles, with 1000' of elevation change. Since I arrived here I have to pinch myself to remind me this is all real. Seems impossible such an incredible place could even exist...

Down the hill the Porsche 911 Turbo picks up speed, up to about 140 (mph). Brake on the uphill, then a hard right, a hard left, and a hard right again. Past the stands for Grand Prix track, then a hard left again. But this hard left is different. It's like the corkscrew at Laguna Seca, only it falls away and goes A LOT further. Then into a series of esses, and another downhill section like the corkscrew. This downhill section is really fast, and near the bottom I am hitting 150. I'm following an E36 BMW that is street legal but looks and acts a lot like a race car. There are many other cars on course, but they are street guys, cautious and hesitant. Of course, they are hesitant with good reason, the 'ring was built in 1927 long before the word "safety" and "motorsports" were mentioned in the same sentence. There is little to no runoff room, and there are guardrails everywhere. There is a little voice in my head saying that a new Porsche Turbo has no business being driven on the edge, after all, how will I get back to the hotel if I ball this thing up? But the louder, racer voice says there is a very fast E36 in front of me, and we have passed everyone, and he can help me learn the track, so stay with him..

At the bottom, the E36 is still flying, and we hit an uphill section. There is a touch of brake on the uphill, and at the top, his car flies up into the air at about 145, and literally flies over the top of the hill for a soft landing on the very short section he is now on. My jaw drops open because in all my years of racing I have never seen a car doing 140 fly 8 inches up into the air before. Since I am a few car lengths behind, my car does the same thing. I now know exactly what it feels like to have a brand new car airborne. The landing is a lot softer than I thought it would be. The E36 lands and then turns into a very fast sweeping right hander. The first few times I went through here I thought this was a brake zone. Turns out only the wimps brake here, those who have ***** nail it and head for the fast section past this corner. Once we are around, the 'ring has a meandering section that is not straight, but it is flat out. Again, we are going downhill. Going so fast in fact that the Porsche now hits 165mph. Past the motorcycles, past the buses, past the Puegeots, and past all the street car guys that are smarter and more cautios than we are...

I'd write about the rest of the famed Nurburgring Nordschleife track, but I am afraid that so far I have only covered a couple of the 12.7 miles than this track goes. Suffice it to say that the rest of the place is every bit as good as what I've covered.

Saying the 'ring is a road course is like saying the Sistine Chapel is just a church. I certainly don't have the words to do this place justice. Take the ballsiest, best road course you have ever been on, and multiply by 20. Add to that the fact that there is no runoff, and it takes many laps just to know where to turn, and you have a truly magical place. It has over 1000' of elevation change. Much of the course is blind. And it is fast. Very, very fast. By far the fastest track I have ever been on. Makes Road America look like an auto cross course.

The Germans are pretty cool about this place too. It costs 20 Euro a lap ($30 approx), and there are effectively little rules. No helmets, no drivers suits, no gloves, no car numbers, no corner workers. Pass on the left. Watch out for motorbikes. And no temporary plates, so that no race cars are allowed on course. Of course I have never seen so many race cars with permanent plates as I saw at the 'ring. My own car had temporary plates, but a very kind Dutch friend helped out with some permanent Dutch plates, so I had no issues. Last time I was here in 05 I had temporary plates, but they went unnoticed.

If you are a gearhead, you HAVE to go to this place. The rush is like no other. I did 30 laps, but to get good here you would need at least 100. It took 30 laps to get to where I would be after 3 laps on a regular course. Anyone who can be fast here is very, very talented. In addition to being the fastest, most fun track I have ever been on, it is also the most challenging.

I had an additonal 9 days in Europe in the new car, touring Spain. It was great of course, but nothing compares to the 'ring.

If you are going to buy a new European car, do yourself a favor and take the Euro delivery and spend a few days at the 'ring. Me, I could spend my retirement there...
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Old 07-28-2007, 02:09 PM   #2
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30 laps! Sick.
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Old 07-28-2007, 02:45 PM   #3
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The fact that he did the Porsche Experience, with the Euro Delivery means he as some serious $$$$, on top of buying a new 997TT. Thats the way to do it! I have an old RUF Promo VHS tape showing a RUF driver getting with the program on the Ring piloting a RUF Yellow Bird. He was driving without a helmet, passing people like they are sitting still, and driving with deck shoes. Old school 930 without any of the modern features as the new Porsches have. Amazing just to watch the video....
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Old 07-28-2007, 10:21 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by 96rdstr View Post
The fact that he did the Porsche Experience, with the Euro Delivery means he as some serious $$$$, on top of buying a new 997TT. Thats the way to do it! I have an old RUF Promo VHS tape showing a RUF driver getting with the program on the Ring piloting a RUF Yellow Bird. He was driving without a helmet, passing people like they are sitting still, and driving with deck shoes. Old school 930 without any of the modern features as the new Porsches have. Amazing just to watch the video....
Rip --> youtube

3..2..1..go
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Old 07-28-2007, 10:35 PM   #5
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I payed for a lap around the ring back in 2001, when the exchange rate was much better. That was my first time to even see a road course...it was scary. I would not drive that track, its absurdly fast, narrow, and has way too many people on it.
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Old 07-28-2007, 10:36 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 96rdstr View Post
The fact that he did the Porsche Experience, with the Euro Delivery means he as some serious $$$$, on top of buying a new 997TT. Thats the way to do it! I have an old RUF Promo VHS tape showing a RUF driver getting with the program on the Ring piloting a RUF Yellow Bird. He was driving without a helmet, passing people like they are sitting still, and driving with deck shoes. Old school 930 without any of the modern features as the new Porsches have. Amazing just to watch the video....
I know that vid. Its scary.
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Old 07-28-2007, 10:43 PM   #7
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Old 07-29-2007, 03:58 AM   #8
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