Norsdschleife – when your realize your little dream
Nürburgring Nordschleife or the northern loop of the track located near the German town of Nürburg is an extraordinary place. “Green Hell” – as Jackie Steward once described it – has a special meaning for motoring fans. It is a very long and difficult track, with 154 turns on over 20km of ups and downs. There are several places where the vehicle detaches from the asphalt and rises into the air. It is safe to say that this is a place that every automotive fan would like to visit. I’ve been dreaming about this for several years and finally got around to making this dream come true.
Despite having a BMW 335i with 306 HP, I decided not to take my car to the track and rent a car prepared for sports driving from the rental company RingFreaks located near the track. To explain why: to prepare the car for a few long, over 20km, laps, you would need to take care of new brake pads, maybe also discs, new or slightly worn tires, etc. Despite its sporty character, it is still a ordinary car. In addition, the Cabrio mechanism adds some weight. Taking a car from a specialized rental company, I know that it is prepared for the track, even specially set up for this particular track, has appropriate brakes, a roll cage, a fire extinguishing system and semi-slick tyres. These cars take part in races that take place on the track, so they are well prepared and stripped of unnecessary things, which makes them much lighter than production cars. Since I was at this track for the first time, I chose a reasonably strong, of course rear-wheel drive BMW 325i.
Upon arrival on Friday afternoon Nürburg greeted us with light rain and wet pavement. Since I had a car booked for Friday evening and Saturday morning, and the track surface was still wet, I went to the rental shop to rebook the car for Sunday. Fortunately, the car was available and it was easy to reschedule. At the Guesthouse where we were supposed to spend the night, we have seen several Lotuses, which were probably already waiting to enter the track.
Around 6 p.m. the sun came out and the track opened. Driving cars and operating sun dried the surface quite quickly and it was possible to enter the track, of course, bearing in mind the shaded places where it was still wet. I started to regret a bit that I canceled my reservation but I took a ride in the right seat of the Mercedes AMG C63, which was prepared for this event and whose then owner showed me what this car can do under the control of a great driver. It was a really cool ride, where we were overtaking other, sometimes sports cars on the outside of the bend, going to the limit or already skidding, but it was not a risky ride, because I felt that Kuba had full control over the car. I was worried about only one thing: that when I get behind the wheel the next day, it will turn out how much worse I am.
On Saturday morning I went to RingFreaks and after a short briefing on how to use the car and equipment, I was on my way to the Nordschleife, where I got a little lost as usual. After one or two turns I finally arrived and went to do my first laps around the “Green Hell”.
There are a few important things to keep in mind when coming to this track. One of the most important is that you can’t prove anything to anyone there. There are better cars than the one you came in and better drivers than you. The second important thing is to respect the track itself and other drivers. Third: follow the applicable rules and follow the instructions of the staff. Fourth: have fun. And with these thoughts, at first I was driving very conservatively, but with each lap I was winding the track asphalt on the wheels more and more bravely.
After finishing the drive and putting the car away, the whole team went for a well-deserved dinner to share their impressions.
In the evening, walking around the track, in the immediate vicinity of which our accommodation was located, we heard the screeching of tires and the sound of an impact. It turned out that the BMW I was driving that day and I had already returned it to the rental company made contact with the barrier, the driver and passenger, luckily, nothing happened, but it put my booking for Sunday into question. Fortunately, RingFreaks had another 325i, so I was able to hit the track again on Sunday morning.
As the laps went by, I became more and more confident behind the wheel. Of course, training on my home simulator (in Assetto Corsa) helped me a lot, where I could get to know the track and remember the sequence of turns and choose the right speed, but in the simulator there is no real overload, it does not press into the seat when you go down and there is a break, you don’t have to worry about your life and others there. The simulator is a great training, but it does not give such impressions and feelings as driving a real car on a real track.
After driving a few more laps and returning the car in its entirety to the rental shop, we went to eat a great steak fried on a stone.
And in the evening I received a link to videos of my runs on the track. After returning home, I chose one of them and uploaded it to my YouTube channel, I invite you to watch it.
To sum up: it was a very successful trip and a great experience that I recommend to every motoring fan, and for petrolheads it is a must-see. There is no need to postpone it for later, because remember that it will not be cheaper anymore, and further regulations and restrictions introduced by the EU will only make matters worse, or even deprive us of the possibility to enter the track at all. The weather was good for us, the team was great, the atmosphere in the town itself is also great, you can see that people with passion come there. And if you are interested in the costs of such a trip, maybe I will write about it in the next post.