This past summer my work travels took me to Frankfurt Germany for the tri-annual Achema Show. What seemed like a trip to not so exciting pharmaceutical trade show turned into a trip of a lifetime!
Before departing for Achema I was offered time off during the show to roam Germany. This could mean only one thing; a trip to Nurburgring! For those of you who are not familiar with the automotive world, Nürburgring is the automotive mecca; the top destinations for any enthusiast. This was an opportunity to check an item off my bucket list and fulfill a long time dream of driving the green hell!
Quickly I began researching the ins and outs of the trip and what it takes to drive the ring. Nurgburgring.uk proved to be a goldmine of information and is a must visit site for anyone planning a trip there. I contacted Rent4Ring and RSR Nürburgring about the possibility of renting a track prepped car for laps on the ring, both of the companies were extremely helpful. RSR even had an U.S. representative give me a call to further explain some of the packages and answer any questions I might have. Needless to say I highly recommend contacting either Dale Lomas @ Rent4Ring or Antony Ashley @ RSR for Nurburgring vehicle arrangements. Dale also happens to run the all things Nurburgring blog Bridge To Gantry, check it out for the latest Nordschleife news, laptimes and videos.
So there I was arriving at the ring. Ask anyone familiar with the place and they’ll tell you that weather is simply unpredictable at the track. The original plan of driving on day one and roaming the area to take some pictures on day two went out the window. A cloud had settled on the track delivering rainy conditions and practically zero visibility.
The weather forced the officials to close the track and it looked like it was going to stay that way for the length of my trip. I couldn’t believe that I made it all the way out here only to be defeated by the weather!
Luckily there was still plenty to see at the ring…
including the Ringwerks museum filled with some pretty iconic race vehicles.
DTM cars have always fascinated me, the aero on this Opel Calibra is no joke
The place is just filled with race car eye candy
including some late model F1 cars
The iconic 1984 Mercedes Benz 190E 2.3-16s,- this was the vehicle that put the spot light on Senna!
Michael Schumacher’s Benetton Camel Ford F1 car
Can you imagine having to fiddle with all of the adjustments and concentrate on driving?
The dissected BMW F1 car was one of my favorite displays in the museum.
Yup, Europeans race trucks too, youtube European truck racing; those things are insane!
This shot of the BMW M3 race car concludes Day 1 pictures of my trip. I wish I could have taken my a time and tour the area more; however rain and zero visibility made it impossible to see anything let alone take any pictures.
Luckily the weather did let up the next day and it seemed like I might get a chance to drive after all. My day started with a 9am appointment at RSR for the RSR Nurburgring road tour…
A lovely Lotus Exige S was waiting for me!
This is definitely a view I could get used to!
The tour takes place on the amazing mountain roads around the Nurburgring. Luckily for me I was the only customer on the tour that morning so Antony took his time to show me both the historic places and some good viewing corners on the track. He drove the blue Exige and had me follow in the white one; keeping up with him was not easy 😀
The tour gave ma chance to take a few quick snaps of the test cars lapping the Nordschleife.
It didn’t take long to spot some new cars…
The 2013 SL500 looked quite good.
Oddly enough there were a lot of SUVs being tested that day.
A new 911 Carrera made the mix…
The Aventador! The sound of this car was pure music to my ears.
Jaguar had plenty of cars out on the ring
It was really cool watching the cars battle the Green Hell
A Jaguar with fender flares?
BMW 7 series looked quite composed on the track
You could tell the cars were being pushed
we even spotted some friendly competition between the test drivers.
While at the track I ran into some familiar faces; meet Jessi and Patrick from Autoblog’s The List! I’ve been following the web series since the begging and I instantly recognized Jessi & Patrick. Meeting them made my trip even that more exciting and I am super stoked to see their web-series turn into a TV show.
This ultra quiet R8 sneaked up on me
I must say it was quite odd seeing the car at speed without the sound of a roaring engine.
Unfortunately my time on the tour ran out and it was time to return the Exiege back to RSR. Big thanks to Antony for the tour!
I left RSR still wanting to drive the ring; however the Exige S is way to much of a car for my first time out on the Nordschleife. Luckily Dale from Rent 4Ring called to let me know that the MX5 I had reserved the day before was available for the public session that afternoon. I postponed my drive back to Frankfurt and jumped on the opportunity to finally drive the famous Nurburgring Nordschleife!
a shot of me in action from NURBURGRING-PHOTOS.COM
I found the pictures on ringportal.nl , a great resource with a list of all nurburgring photographers and available galleries indexed by dates.
Here is another one from racetracker.de!
While in the paddock I ran into Jessi & Patrick again, this time in the company of the “Queen of the Nürburgring” herself, the one and only Sabine Schmitz! Meeting Sabine absolutely made my Nurburgring trip am experience I will cherish for the rest of my days.
I even surprised Dale with returning the car free of any damages. He mentioned I was among very few customers who they’ve let take the MX5 out on their fist ring outing. I even got to sign one of the doors in their showroom to commemorate my trip! Unfortunately I do not have any video of my driving on the ring, but I can definitely tell you that the planing for the next trip has already started!
Thanks For reading.