Joe Moore, VP of Marketing for Xtreme Xperience, takes on the Nurburgring and checks another item on his bucket list.
Earlier this month I took my vacation and spent it overseas traveling throughout Europe and experiencing a different part of the world I’d never seen before, accomplishing a few of my lifelong dreams.
Driving the Nurburgring Nordschleife has been on my bucket list since the first time I drove it in Gran Turismo probably 10 years ago. I went to Europe for my 30th Birthday and routed our trip through Cologne, Germany for 48 hours so that I could travel to the Ring for the driving experience of a lifetime.
To the uninitiated, the Nurburgring Nordschleife (north loop) is a 12.9 mile long track with 75 turns and more than 1,000 feet of elevation change from its lowest to highest points. It’s located in western Germany in the village of Nurburg about 70 miles south of Cologne. Jackie Stewart nicknamed the old track “The Green Hell,” and it is widely considered to be the most demanding and difficult purpose-built racing circuit in the world.
I took a train from Paris to Cologne and rented a cheap VW Polo from Sixt to get me to the Ring. As an added bonus driving from Cologne to Adenau, you get to drive on unrestricted sections of the Autobahn (bucket list item #2: check). I got the 100 HP Polo up to a whopping 160 km/h (100 mph) while I had Mercedes E63s blow past me at over 150 mph. Note: you MUST drive in the right lane at all times. When using the left lane to pass a slower car, triple check your mirrors to make sure a Porsche isn’t flying up on you at 150 mph.
Driving the Ring:
I rented my ‘Ring car from http://rentracecar.de/. I selected the All Inclusive 2-Session option for the VW Scirocco Cup+ which included the car, toll tickets and a helmet. The VW Scirocco – with 200 HP, racing compound tires, Bilstein Suspension, dual clutch transmission, and a cage – was perfect for my first time on the “Green Hell”. This car had plenty of power to overtake other cars and blast through the high-speed sections while the suspension, tires and brakes were also perfect for whatever the track throws at you.
Reserving My Drive:
A couple of things that are VERY important for your reservation: 1) Make sure you have a valid driver’s license with photo ID, 2) You must have a credit card with at least a $8000 limit or that much cash for a security deposit (this is non-negotiable as I saw many disappointed guys unable to drive because of this) 3) Make sure your bank or credit card company knows you’ll be using your credit card in Germany so it is not rejected due to fraud protections (again, I saw this happen and the guy was frantically talking to his bank to let him use his card). 4) I choose to drive on Monday at 5:15 PM as soon as the track opened to avoid the heavy traffic you’d experience on a weekend. I was on track with a few tourists but most other drivers in the paddock were locals.
As soon as you pass through the toll gates, you’re on the Ring! (A thought that hit me like a ton of bricks as I started down the first straightaway). My biggest tips are:
- Do your homework before driving. Knowing where you are and what’s coming up next is EXTREMELY important so I spent a couple of weeks playing Forza 4 and watching instructional YouTube videos to memorize the track layout. No videos or video games could prepare me for the insane g-forces, track undulations and the steepness of the up and downhill sections.
- Don’t try to over drive the car. Almost the entire track has no run-off room so there is not much room for error.
- Keep your eyes up. The Ring has many blind corners and crests, track undulations, camber, and potential accidents around any corner. I saw a Porsche Boxter go into a guard rail just a few seconds before I reached Schwedenkreuz which through me off mentally for a second.
- Check your mirrors constantly for faster drivers and when in doubt, stay to the right. A faster car has the right-of-way on the left side, so it would be possible to turn into a left-hand corner and cut off a faster driver. Ideally, passing is set up with the faster car using his left turn signal and the slower car should acknowledge the faster car by using his right turn signal.
- The Nordschleife is considered a public road during Touristenfahrten (public sessions). All normal German traffic laws apply and if you’re involved in an accident, it will be handled exactly the same as an accident on the road you took to get there.
The Nurburgring offers some amazing vanatge points to watch other cars on the track. Two great spots are right off the B412 at Pflanzgarten and Bruunchen.
Another bonus is the free car show you get to experience in the paddock of the Nordschleife. I was lucky enough to see a brand new Porsche 918 Spyder and a few other exotics that we have in our fleet including a Ferrari 458 Italia, Porsche 911 GT3, McLaren MP4-12C, Aston Martin DB9, and a few Nissan GT-Rs on the track. Take a look at some of the photos below.
Joe – VP of Marketing
www.bridgetogantry.com – Awesome general resource. Read every single page of this website. Make especially sure you don’t miss this one: http://bridgetogantry.
Great for learning the turn names: http://www.
My Favorite video tutorials: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLppoDVxTqUBXx_Aw0uDeXY2QzJ3LqOPBE
Photos from my trip to the Nurburgring
My first encounter ever with the new Porsche 918 Spyder, it was absolutely gorgeous! A true work of art.
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