Date : July 2005
Car : Porsche 993
Nurburgring ability : Beginner (probably need at least another 50 laps under the belt until I can even consider myself as more than just a beginner at this place!) , so the following is an account by a first timer..
Epic in every sense..
At 13.5 miles in length it's a long lap with the track surface being more road like unlike a proper race circuit. In the dry it is a constant rush of accelerating-braking-cornering-accelerating but in the wet it is indeed slippery.
As a first timer there is no real way to explain the driving sensations out on the ring, I'd seen pictures, videos and even played the computer games to get an idea of what it would be like, but the reality is very much different.
So whereas all these videos and games make it look more open, out of your own controlled enviroment, the barriers are closer, the trees are almost on top of you in most sections that make the track even smaller, the bumps are real over the various track surfaces and the changes in camber on and off line are quite unbeliveable.
Most of all, the changes in elevation is somthing that no game or video can prepare you for, going up the like of Exmuhle and Qulddelbacher-Hohe almost feel like you had just approached a wall of tarmac and then going down the likes of Fuchsrohre and Pflanzgarten II are just like rollacoaster rides !
Every lap requires commitment, as driving into a blind corner where there is little or no run off area is a challange, as on a Public day there all sorts of vehicles on the ring and you never know what you may be greeted by around the next corner, i.e. oil on track, an accident, deers ! This place is an epic adventure and must be treated with complete respect, even after my 17 or so driven laps there were still sections that I was getting lost on !
A ride with a member of the Ringers list is a must as these are the people who know the way around, as there are actually white dots on the circuit to mark the turn in points, which I had never noticed. Traffic can be a problem as it can get busy and for car drivers badly driven motorbikes can be a real hazard, not forgetting that almost anything is allowed on, so apart from almost every make of car and bike watch out for the odd Transit vans or coach !
The exploits of JC and Top Gear have brought the Nurburgring Nordschileife into the public eye, so it is really getting busier and busier where on most public weekends the car park is packed and there will be long queues to exit the circuit. The rules of the circuit are slightly different to a trackday as it is a public derestricted one way toll road, so worth checking and if you do have an incident and cause damage to an Armo barrier, the circuit will expect you to pay for it!
What I found it that when I had a minor moment it's very easy to loose one's rythme and then make the next set of corners a mess before getting it back together and getting back to speed, which is important before you get passed by the stevie wonder bikers club or bullied off the line by some manic driver!
These are some of the many flavours of my experience, but in the end (and here is the clincher) even for a normal driver in a mere 993 I found the holy-grail of driving experiences, I am definately hooked and I will be making another pilgrimage there in the near future.
a beautiful sunny and mild Sunday in the Eifel Mountains, an almost empty car park and an even emptier track. Empty car park means a choice of places to park when you return from the circuit by the way.
First lap, followed a school of Alfa 75s' to try to learn some lines. Second lap, started to explore my limits a little but not too much, it is a big scary place to be on your own. Third lap and Adrian who is over with us for the Audi Driving Experience wants a pax lap. Am I really the right person to be with for a pax lap? Anyway, off we go and as we leave the Grüne Hölle my mind set is one of focus and concentration.
The most exhilarating driving moment of my life happens at Brünnchen. At the second apex as it crests the suspension goes light just as the power gets put down. Rear end starts to step out and Adrian is screaming silently at the trees we are pointing toward on the right whilst I am countersteering and getting ready for an upshift and onward to the next corner. Suffice to say, at the end of the lap Adrians' face as he fell out of the car was a sight to behold.
Anyway on the Tuesday after, we were hooning round on a closed day with the boys from Ingolstadt learning all the lines so my lap count is now at 20. Still a novice of course and off there again in 2 weeks to add to the tally.
User Review-3 wrote:
very difficult to rate the ring. it should get six out of five. But then you have to factor in the safety aspect and it would get minus figures.
Bloody scary yet so rewarding. The trouble with the 'Ring is just as your confidence mounts up something comes along and knocks it down again. After 40 laps I still treat the place with respect and I guarantee those with a hundred times that figure still do the same.
What the videos and Playstations of this world don't prepare you for is the compression, the camber and the change in road surface. You drive around and there's crowds of people watching, just don't be tempted to 'showboat' it's not worth it and far too many pictures of your 'embarrassing' moments will be posted over the internet.
I'd say to all 'Ring virgins treat the place like you would an unknown road back home, take care to position yourself on the side of caution and take it easy!
Word of advice, if you get overtaken by the odd new Opel Astra or a beaten-up German-plated Golf don't take off after it, it's more than likely a test driver or a 'Ring veteran letting off a little steam after a bad day in the office.
Deepak Madan Newbie
Joined: 29 Aug 2006 Posts: 26
Posted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 9:01 pm Post subject:
I keep going back thinking I'll start to enjoy it once I'm more familiar, not yet achieved that though but still enjoy scaring myself. _________________ 2001 996TT, 1996 993targa, 1992 928S4, 1995 968CS.
Porsche Brands Hatch
Joined: 31 Dec 2002 Posts: 13029 Location: Nürburgring Nordschleife
Over the years I've now been to the ring on 10 seperate days and having knocked in about 90 or sp laps I am only now beginning to understand how to truly drive it. Everytime I go back I think I have cracked it, to then only realise it takes me another 10 laps to get back up to speed from the last visit. 50 laps ago I said I would need another 50 laps to crack it.....I still need another 50 laps.
Play the computer games, watch all the videos to help with the 'route' but nothing can prepare you. I am lucky enough to have a car that can do more than it's current owner can every do, but every time I go back it's gets more scary as the speeds get higher and higher.
If you can get a lesson with a 'proper' ring master for at least 5 laps then it will make all the difference, I have and it has significantly improved my understanding. I've almost got to the point where I can drive the lap in my head, but not just the lap, the racing line, the car's position and almost every bump in the road... well almost but in reality I am still a long way to go before I can really do that or properly know my way around.
The charge down and out foxhole is truly one of the great moments on any lap, but if only I could master that carousel!
The main advise is to turn in late as those corner do go on forever and get all of your braking in a straight line is critical, the circuit is bumpy and most corners are blind and cambers can be all over the place. There are marker dots on the track which provide turn in and apex points on a lot of corners, which is ideal for a beginner and I still use them, but they do take time to find and learn.
Traffic on public days plays its part in the Nurburgring Theatre, from buses to vans and everyday cars, but the danager of bikes is the greatest threat and it's greatest challenge.
At the end of the day IMHO the Nurburgring is more than just a circuit, it is like no other track day experience in the world, even a stroll around the car park on a public day packed with 911's highlights the special nature of this place.
Prices on public days have continued to rise in the last few years to cope with growing demand, so it is getting expensive. Good facilities exist with an on site restuarant and plenty fuel and viewing points.
Now at the rate we are going we might end up with 2 sections, member reviews and video reviews, but there is no better way to see a track than in video form.
Now my own preference is only to show Porsche videos as 'other' cars can have a reduced value from the manner in which they drive, but the following is a Lap of the complete Nurburgring circuit (Nordschleife and the GP circuit) by circuit by Hans-Joachim Stuck in a BMW M3 GTR
A BMW you say! well in this instance it's a near perfect lap and the pace is amazing, oh and turn 'up' the volume
I love this place but it can be a very scary place..
I have been there 5-6 times now and every time enjoy it more, but it can bite you so hard, with no run offs and the cambers being wrong..
I would say for you first trip, sit and watch the cars going on and coming off, and you'll see a few cars an hour coming off on the back of a recovery truck and some with very bad damage. This will make you think not too push it too hard..
You should treat the 'Ring with respect !
Another thing I like about a 'Ring trip is not just the track, its the whole trip, spending time with good friends, the drive down and back, along with the evening car chat following a good day on track.
Treat the 'Ring as fast road and you'll enjoy it, treat it as a track day and you could be pushing your luck. First lap should be with someone who know the track, and a pax lap would be best.
2 months till the next 911uk trip, if your thinking of going... May not be a better time this year.
( If someone has a spare 10 mins, I would love someone to follow me round and get a lap of me on tape - ) _________________ *Current - GT3 996.1 Clubsport (Manthey K400)
EX VR993 - C4
EX 993 - C2
EX GT3 996.1
EX Cayman 3.4 S 987.1
EX Megane R26R #36.
EX Cayman R
Joined: 30 Aug 2007 Posts: 2382 Location: Chavley South South
Posted: Sun Mar 09, 2008 6:46 pm Post subject:
( If someone has a spare 10 mins, I would love someone to follow me round and get a lap of me on tape - )
Dan, it would be my pleasure. Once I sort mounting the recorder to stop it suffering vibration..... It's quite hit and miss so far....might have to look into a little soft foam box for it.... I wish I got a solid state jobbie in the end.... _________________ Jeff
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