Sunday, 3 October 2010

My Big Adventure at the Nurburgring, Part 2

Day 2 (day 1 was here)

I leave the hotel at 8:15 ish, a little later than I planned as the Ring has already been open for 15 minutes and my plan was to get there while everyone else was in bed. This would have worked, had I not been in bed as well.

At least the weather seems nice:

I get to the Ring within about 10 minutes, and to my relief it is quiet. After a few minutes to look over the car and make sure all is well, I take a deep breath and head out on my own. I forget to look at the time, of course.

I get back at just before 8:45, so I was distinctly slower than yesterday, but on the other hand there was no-one there to encourage me to speed up today. The track was very empty, and very lovely. Plenty of people passed, although I noticed that some cars appeared briefly in the mirrors but didn't catch up! Standing in the car park against the car, my legs are warmed by the abundant heat radiating from the brakes ... which might suggest that I took a cautious approach.

Looking around, the car park is beginning to fill up with people arriving. They're not going out yet though - they're still chatting, looking at their cars, and generally checking things over. So time for lap 3, I think - before they get their act together.

This time, I see 4 separate crashes on the way round. This is not surprising; the track is damp with morning dew, the tarmac and tyres are all cold, and the drivers have just got out of bed. All are being flagged & marshalled by the Ring staff, so I wave my thanks to them and carry on past. For what seems like ages, no-one overtakes me, which is an odd sensation and one that is new to me here. I assume that this is because the track has been closed due to the crashes, but then 2 cars catch up with me at Karussel. When I get back to the car park, the track is open.

I go for a quick walk to re-orient myself, and then come back and dry off the roof. I want the next lap to be with the roof down, so the dew will have to come off:

Lap 4 is just tremendous. I still don't know the track, obviously, but my guesses as to which way it will go are getting, well, less inaccurate. While going round, I realise that I am now spending most of the lap roughly one gear lower than I was at first, and that am getting more confident about putting the power down - both on the straights and on the way out of bends.

Putting the roof down was 100% right. The noise of the flat six is unmuffled... bliss. There were spectators at BrĂ¼nnchen, so I made sure I powered out of the bend in second. Maybe that will make them laugh a little less loudly at my choice of line?

And, to my amazement, I overtake two others on this lap! An old British P-plate Jap coupe is hogging the line from Flugplatz onwards. Maybe it is so old that it has lost all its mirrors. I want to tell him that yes, the big white M5 that has just passed me and is now on your tail with its left indicator flashing is indeed the Ring Taxi, he probably knows the line quite well, and it seems on the evidence so far that he is distinctly quicker than you. Totally oblivious, he is quite happy to veer left in front of it and a line of M3s, just as they start to turn in for Adenauer Forst. Amazing, and it is to the credit of the Ring Taxi that he manages not to shunt him onto the grass. They all get past him on the exit, while I wait for a moment to make absolutely sure that he is staying on the right and then in one move overtake both him and the Volvo that he is now tailing. I don't see him again.

I notice that there are fewer people overtaking me, too, although from the state of the car park and the barrier it should be much busier. This time, there is just one every few minutes, rather than a steady stream. Ho hum.

The time for this lap? 12 minutes! (very approximately: I am not formally timing). But that does not reflect the (self-assessed) quality of the lap. Compared to my 12 minute lap yesterday, this is smoother, more flowing, more confident. I accelerate because I know I can, rather than because someone else is telling me I can despite my trepidation. This was my lap, not his.

After parking, I reflect that I absolutely must be in Munich tonight, that it is now 10am, that I only have one car, and that I know what comes after the first confident lap. My 4-lap ticket is exhausted, and I decide not to buy any more. I have done what I set out to achieve, and more. Yesterday, I feared this place. Today I do not; I respect it instead.

I will come back here, if at all possible. If I do not, then that will be sad, but the sadness will be tempered by the memories.

I drive away listening to this:

Don't be like everybody else. Don't. If there is something you want to do, make it happen.


My Stuttgart mistress has been treated to a special present, as a reward for her devoted service during the week:

She's very worried - does her bum look big in this?


  1. "Don't be like everybody else. Don't. If there is something you want to do, make it happen."

    One of my colleagues is already working her way through her own 'bucket list'. She's only 29!

  2. Good for her! The thing is, the further you work your way down the list, the more things you think of to put on it.

  3. If you are anything like me, you would have been thinking "this is why I work hard" as you screamed around the track!

  4. Yes, that did strike me! (Fortunately nothing else did)

  5. The nord was foggy as hell on saturday...great fun i thought,9 of us drove from scotland that weekend,dropped into Spa then silverstone on the way home,we still recovering?...yes,do it again? YES!

  6. Scotland to the Ring?! I'm impressed!