An Australian view on the Nürburgring Nordschleife

Ben’s story

November 16th, 2008 Posted in Australia, Trip reports

Ben's visit to the Nurburgring

AUSringers reader Ben recently shared his Nürburgring experience in the Your Story section of the site—an area for all readers, especially Australians, to share their tales. Ben was also kind enough to send through some images of his trip and here they are for you to see. I’ve also included Ben’s entry below, to help give the images further context.

Ben stayed at Haus Marvin, Döttingen and also hired an E36 BMW 328i from them to take around the track. When my wife and I visited the Ring in May 2006 we also stayed at Haus Marvin and I cannot recommend them highly enough.

Ben's visit to the Nurburgring

Hi all, back from my travels.

There are some things that you build up in your mind so that when you actually get around to doing them, it dosen’t quite meet your expectation……. the Nurburgring definitely does NOT fall into that category.

OMFG this place is absolute driving nirvana. There is simply no driving road on earth that you can compare it to. There is no video or simulator (I spent 100+ hrs on Forza 2 memorising corners) that does this place justice. Everything is twice as steep and when you watch it on TV it looks like it actually has small straights between the corners. This is not the case. The car is moving constantly and until you get onto Dottengen Hohe after 20km you don’t dare take a single breath. After my first 3 laps I had to stop because I felt physically sick, like I just been riding a rollercoaster for 30mins. There is so much vertical movement, its like diving in 3D for the first time. This place is epic.

First lap out and I’m trying to get a handle on the new ride, virtually no suspension, cup spec tyres, button clutch and larger brakes as well as trying to drive sedately around a track which strangely I know like the back of my hand but have never driven before. The result is I keep having to tell myself to slow down, check my mirrors for the inevitable 911 flyby and keep in mind I have a 5000 euro excess if I get it wrong. All goes well for the first 10kms and as I tip into a 2nd gear right hander, the front starts to push wide with a little understeer and I’m out of the throttle a little to bring it back on line, I must be going fast except I can hear a high pitched buzzing noise??? Just then to my left I catch glimpse of a white blur. Sabine Schmitz in her V10 M5 Ring Taxi drifts around the outside of me with an extra 20km/h on board and thick smoke billowing off the rear treads. OK maybe I wasn’t going that fast after all. I actually laughed out loud and couldn’t believe I was actually doing this.

2nd lap I took my wife for a ride. She even took photos at the risk of prosecution. Twas a slow lap indeed but swearing was kept to a minimum (well sorta) and we have some lovely on-track pics.

Ben's visit to the Nurburgring

Ben's visit to the Nurburgring

Ben's visit to the Nurburgring

Ben's visit to the Nurburgring

Each lap you get a little more comfortable and it pretty much works like people said it would, you start braking earlier for shorter periods of time and carry more speed into the corner and pick up the throttle sooner. Everything starts to flow but you’re well aware of the fact that you are wasting seconds on each bend. This is rammed home when you get overtaken by something with half you’re displacement travelling twice your speed. This however is offset the first time you roar past a rich balding man nannying his Porsche.
I did a total of 7 laps before a car put down some coolant and took out two bikers. I retired for lunch and then the rain came. It bucketed down and at 8 degrees C it was pretty much all over. The hire company would let me do a total of 10 laps but I’d had a great time with no accidents so I went back to my hotel room and called it a day.

About 2mins later my brain started telling me that wet laps would actually be a good idea, race drivers drive in the rain all the time. So stupidly I went back to tackle the slippery Nordscleife.

I can now honestly say that I have clamped my arse tight for over 15mins consecutively. The first two were just downright scary but the last…

Big understeer into Metzgesfeld had me on the lockstops and the tyres bit just before I was on the grass. Another moment at Wehrseifen when I went to the outside to give a 997 GT3 RS some room, instead I got crossed up and scared the shit out of him. I decided to go really slow as it was the last lap and I didn’t want anything to go wrong. Thats when I had a big lose in 3rd gear in front of an Evo XI. It was just dumb luck that I didn’t hit anything and I made very apoigetic hand gestures to the driver of the Mitsubishi. The fact that he and his passenger were in histerics and both gave me the thumbs up indicated that it must have appeared more deliberate from their vantage point.

It is a definate must do and I really can’t convey how fantastically awesome the place is. You will now just have to go and experience it for yourself. It was about $1150 AUD by the time everything was paid but I challenge you to find a grand better spent.

Life is short….. what are you waiting for!

Ben's visit to the Nurburgring

Ben's visit to the Nurburgring

Ben's visit to the Nurburgring

Ben's visit to the Nurburgring

Ben's visit to the Nurburgring

Ben's visit to the Nurburgring

Ben's visit to the Nurburgring

Ben's visit to the Nurburgring

Ben's visit to the Nurburgring

You can read Ben’s original Your Story entry HERE.

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