Imagine driving the NÃ¼rburgring Nordschleife on the perfect line every corner. Imagine doing that in a new 991 Porsche 911 GT3. Itâ€™s got to be as close to motoring heaven as we can get here on earth.
Then, imagine if that was your day job.
If your name is Theo Kleen you donâ€™t have to imagine it because it is your day job. Theo is well known to the NÃ¼rburgring community either as a racing driver or as the guy who rents you a car to fulfil your dreams.
BMWâ€™s stranglehold on the RingTaxi business is over and you are the winner because now you can do your passenger lap in a Porsche 911 (GT3 or Turbo S) or a BMW M6.
I was lucky enough to experience the NÃ¼rburgring at stupid fast speeds in a 911 GT3. Well, stupid fast is an unfair description because Theo only ever planted his foot flat to the floor when he knew it was safe to do so. He always kept an eye on the traffic aheadâ€”when youâ€™re a pro at the wheel of a GT3 there is nothing faster than youâ€”and only overtook the slower cars when he could, either by way of clear track or if the slower driver had indicated and moved to the right and making space for our GT3 rocket ship to blast by.
And what a car this latest GT3 is! Forget the engine fire fiasco, Porsche knows how to make a great car and straight off the shelf this RingTaxi is built for the task at hand.
The 3.8 litre flat six engine makes the car fast, damn fast. Itâ€™s extremely responsive and makes a beautiful, beautiful noise as well. As a driver with a preference for manual transmissions it pains me to acknowledge how good the PDK is in the 991 GT3. Even from the passengerâ€™s seat you can tell how quick and smooth the gear changes are. A double clutch transmission offers the ability to change gears mid-corner too, and without upsetting the balance of the car. The stopwatch will always win with PDK; itâ€™s better than a manual, if that’s your only measure.
But the best part of this RingTaxi lap was seeing what it is like to drive the NÃ¼rburgring at pace. As soon as we went under the Bilstein bridge Theo was asking the GT3 for everything it had. Into the first series of corners, Tiergartenâ€“Hohenrainâ€“Schikane, he was bang on the racing line.
Through the Hatzenbach esses and over the little jump at Quiddlebacher Hohe, then around the Flugplatz right handers with precision it was quickly clear how good Theo is at his craft. We had a slight delay due to a slower car at Schwedenkreuz which gave the Theo the chance to explain the best line here is on the right and he could not safely pass on the left without upsetting the car.
Around Aremberg, now past the slower traffic, and shooting down FÃ¼chsrohre at full speed. What a thrill! This is threading the eye of the needle stuff, itâ€™s a straight line for the best part but the road itself snakes its way down the valley before rising fast into a gentle left hander.
No problems at all through the tight and tricky Adenauer Forst left-right, now charging our way through Metzgesfeld to Kallenhard. Expertly passing slower cars around Miss-Hit-Miss, down into the slow left of Wehrseifen, continuing our descent to Breidscheid Bridge, the lowest part of the track.
Soon the GT3 takes us flying up Ex-MÃ¼hle as we begin our climb. Itâ€™s great fun being in a powerful car that can flatten out this significant climb up the valley, through Kesselchen. No dramas going around Mutkurve, now through Steilstrecke and onto the famous Karussell. This was my first experience through this 270Â° corner as a passenger. Itâ€™s rough and you have to get your entry and exit points right to avoid disaster. There were worries for us here, of course.
Before long weâ€™re at Hohe Acht, one of the highest parts of the 20.832km circuit. Down into Wipperman, a lot of fun here, before ripping around the popular spectator section at BrÃ¼nnchen. Through Eiskurve, I was really looking forward to the fast run through Pflanzgarten I and the little jump.
Oh no; slower traffic prevented that!
Never mind we were soon past and and working our way through Pflanztagrten II, a section of track I really like but am yet to get right. Similarly, Schwalbenschwanz is hard to get right, so it was great to witness how it should be done.
Next weâ€™re through the mini Karussell and into the final right hander of the lap at Galgenkopf. A quick blast on the straight to some pretty serious speed and then just like that, in 7 minutes and 43 seconds, our lap (bridge to gantry) was over.
To be driven around the Nordschleife like that was a great privilege and it would be a genuine delight for any true revhead. Forget the cost, you will remember this experience long after the money has been spent.
Itâ€™s difficult to describe the thrill in words. So I will leave you with my immediate and quite frank reply to Theoâ€™s question, which he asked as we were coasting back to the Touristenfahrten gates.
Theo: What did you think?
Me: That was fucking awesome!!!