More Nurburgring --

Tried to down load what I had written without success so there will be a delay, spent a couple of hours trying to correct then couldn't so went to sleep. Writing this now more awake in the car having finished the day and slept a good night. What transpired in the last two days? Was pretty exciting and exhausting. So Sunday,Adenou the church bells ring every 1 hour. I couldn't sleep, no matter what I tried. I tossed and turned. This is very strange, I am amazed cause when I am sleepy I sleep. The bells are such a European phenomena but oh so loud. I began waiting for them! definitely not a good sign

Listening to the church bells. 1am.,2am 3am. Grrrrr. 4,5,6 and up we get. Great way to start the day at the most famous race course in the world.


Quick breakfast and out the door to' The Ring' the 6 Trofeo teams go to their prospective rental car companies. We arrive at RSR to pick up our car the Lotus Exige and to go through a routine screening and drivers education course. This part was easy, here we are now ready to hit the track and drive around the ring with the few hundred others test driving or practicing on the Ring.  I go first, instructor beside me, speeds averaging well above 200km/hour. You wind your way onto the track and kind of hug the right side of the road, slowly pressing the accelerator more and more till you reach a speed you feel you can control the car and be prepared for the 150 turns and at least as many gradient changes.  It is truly amazing in the course of the 22 kms. You lose and gain almost 1000 meters, the course truly undulates with many blind crests and sharp turns after the crests.  There is no read view mirror in the Lotus and the number of cars that approach you going even faster than you is tremendous. The Lotus is fast but compared to the Porsche turbo or even a regular newish Porsche  it doesn't stand a chance.  There are two carousels on the track, these you need to enter correctly to get around without skidding off into an embankment. Blind apexes are everywhere so you need to keep your eyes looking as far ahead as you can and sometimes looking out your side window to see where the turn actually apexes and what point you enter your turn. The car grips well. Coming off of the 7 km mark I see smoke ahead and note oil on the road. The smoke thickens and we come across a BMW who is limping along having just blown his engine.  Bad shifting. At this point the instructor waves the guy off the road and we keep left to avoid the oil slick. My instructor says he clearly shifted incorrectly thinking he was going into fifth gear and instead hit third. At those high reves he will have blown the engine. I get a little timid, the insurance package says we are responsible for the first $35,000.00 in repairs.


On we go but I get a warning from the instructor. The Lotus has a really dead stick it is one of the hardest cars to drive and on top of this it has no visibility so I must be under constant vigilance to see where I am on the track and be aware of faster traffic coming up from behind. To steer clear stay as far right but hold a good line and keep an eye on the side mirrors since I have no rear view mirror. We drive back In to the paddocks and Tony and I switch places. He takes the drivers seat while I jump  out. He does his go about with the instructor. 15 minutes later he is back and I get back in again , this time alone.  The traffic into the ring is lined up well back. The numbers are huge and I notice it is some pretty expensive machinery that joins me. oh joy.  We set the camera on forward view, that way you can't see my face only my bad driving. Hehe


This is my second time to ever drive a Lotus and never on a track at these kinds of speed. My first turn goes well but in glancing back through side mirrors I see about a 1/4 mile back a whole slew of Porsches descending on me. I pull to the right as they whiz by. I felt like I was standing still. The rest of the drive is more or less me pulling over to let others drive by me. I enter the carousel with some serious speed only to be nudged out by a Porsche coming in on my left so inside. I was furious but there wasn't anything I could do but move over or be hit. So of course I moved over.

The drive wasn't great, way too many faster cars than me and way too much speed for me to feel comfortable handling. 

Tony goes next and reports a similar experience, he said he just had to pull over so much it was hard to drive a good line. He decided to go again after coming into the pits. This time he is about to enter when they close the track, because someone has spun out and flipped. So he heads back to the RSA and await the OK to re enter the RING. This is a typical morning at Nurburgring .


30 minutes later they have cleaned up the track and sanded the oil spill. We decide to take the track together. I come, the instructor says it is a good idea. Tony can drive I can watch the rear view mirrors and give him the heads up of what's coming. Our first foray onto the track together proved OK, not knowing when the turns come make it difficult to trust your increased speed but Tony handles it well. We decide to do it again. This time way more smoothly and the second RING experience was much better. We learned a few things. One that the experienced drivers see your car as bait. They know, due to all the signs painted  all over your car you are a newbie so use you to pass and feel good about their abilities since they know the track and second, having had little experience driving that car we could have used a bunch more times around the track or at least an opportunity to test it out off road or in the paddocks.


 Yes it was fun next time I will take a high end rental car from Avis, cheaper by far. I think there were a lot of those on the track along with some mom and pops and dogs in the back seat.It is a public road, you pay but it does entitle a whole mish mash of folks on the road. The fast and furious and the fiat 500. Then there are the motor bikes which I didn't even mention careening around the track.

© Anthony Strelzow 2013