RacingDriving cars make good fun. I have always thought so. The faster you go, the more exciting it gets! Right? The feeling when a 4WD car has more power than traction and starts to slide away at the same time as you get pushed back in your seat -that is beyond words...
Unfortunately possibilities to drive as fast as you want on normal roads are very limited. There are obstructions like other traffic, playing children, police cars and wild animals to take into consideration... But there is actually a solution to all of these problems: Racing. Now I'm not talking about street racing, but racing on real race circuits. Many people start measuring their (car's) strength on a straight road. Two cars next to each other trying to reach 1/4 Mile (402 m) as quick as possible. I've done that also. That can be fun, and it's a good way of measuring how quick you and your car is. But when you add the thrill of once in a while turning the steering wheel, braking at the right time and then step on the accelerator again. That's when the REAL fun begins. Welcome to the exciting world of racing!
Here is a list of the race circuits that I myself have driven. Listed in order with my favourite track at the top and the least interesting one at the bottom.
From Stockholm, where I live, down to Nürburg is a distance of about 1440 km. This year (2005) I drove down to "the Ring" seven (7) times. Perhaps that is enough information for you to understand how much I love that place. For me it is Heaven on earth. Or "the Green Hell" (die Grüne Hölle) as others prefer to call it. Too many people have found out why it is called the green hell. The reason may be that next to the track you have approximately two meters of green grass before the guard rail. And two meters is very seldom enough space to slow down a car or motorcycle that has misjudged the braking point. That is why you really need to have respect for the track. And unless you are the king of Master Mind, it takes many laps to learn the track. It is 21 km long and has 33 left hand corners and 40 right hand corners. What also makes the track so special is the 300 meters difference in altitude between the highest and lowest point of the track. You can very well have sunny and warm weather in one part of the track at the same time as it is raining in another part.
When you have payed for your ticket and you go out on the track, you should know that you can meet anything: Rescue vehicles and busses as well as all types of cars and motorcycles. (And it isn't the car that decides the speed. On Nürburgring it's all about the driver...) On a day with good weather you can prepare yourself for a very crowded track. And unfortunately there are always some crashes. Just make sure that it will not be you...
It is a bad thing to race against the clock. Remember the two meters of grass when you try to push the limits. But of course we have all measured the time once in a while. The most common way to measure a lap time is called BTG (Bridge to Gantry). Then you start the time as you pass under the first big bridge a couple of hundred meters after the starting grid. And you stop the stopwatch when you pass under the gantry in the beginning of the long straight before the exit. I think that a "pretty relaxed lap" for a beginner would take somewhere like 13 minutes. But if you drive slower than 10 minutes you risk to be overtaken by "the Queen of the Ring" - Sabine - in a Ford Transit Van. (As seen on the British TV Show "Top Gear".) Remember: It's not about the car, it's about the driver... More likely is that you will see Sabine driving the BMW M5 V10 "Ring Taxi". If you pay 180 EUR (I think the price is) you can ride along a lap with her in the M5. As you can see in my video that you can download from this site, she is often taking a pretty "wide line"...
My personal best BTG lap times so far is 8 min 25 sec in my Audi RS4"+". In my Porsche Boxster S (987) I have done 8 min 38 sec. Unfortunately it's almost impossible to get a "clean lap". As I mentioned -there is always lots of traffic. I have not yet tried my Gallardo, but my goal is set for under 8 minutes... (NEWSFLASH 2006-04: BTG time with the Lambo: 8 min 05 sec.)
So far I have done somewhere around 100 laps on Nürburgring, and I have also attended the Scuderia Hanseat professional drivers training the last two years (in the autumn). I'm hoping for lots of more laps in 2006...
It is not only the track itself that attracts me. In the entire (very small) village Nürburg you can breathe the racing spirit. Everywhere you go you meet nice people from all over the world, who all share your interest for cars and racing. You can look at the other cars, you can let somebody ride along with you a lap and you can make good friends while eating a "Curry Wurst" at Brünnchen... When the track has closed you go to Pistenklause to eat a pizza or a steak while wathing the racing pictures and autographs that covers the walls of the restaurang. (And yes, they do serve beer also, for those who wants...)
It's not only the open track for tourists that is going on, on the Ring. There are also real races, like the VLN endurance series with ten (10) competitions per season. The most known is the 24h race, that attracts drivers and visitors in large numbers from all over the world. In 2005 I drove one VLN 4h race together with a friend in our Lotus SportElise race car. For the next season we are aiming for more races...
Check out the "Links" page for more information about Nürburgring!
Gentlemen Racing ClubDo you think that racing can be fun? Something for you? If you live in northern Europe you can turn to Gentlemen Racing Club, to make your dreams come true! GRC organizes Track Days mostly in Sweden (Knutstorp), but also in Belgium (Spa) and Germany (Nürburgring). We haven't got the schedule ready for 2006 yet, but there will be many opportunities for racing experiences! We will most certainly have a "replay" of the very appreciated "End of Season Racing Weekend" that took place in the end of October in 2005 with one day at Spa in Belgium and one day at Nürburgring.
Everyone is welcome to the GRC Track Days. We have both beginners and experienced race drivers at our meetings. There is also a very mixed lineup of different cars -you don't need to have a top-of-the-line race car in order to have fun on the track. We also have instructors that can both teach the beginners and help the more expreienced drivers with tips of improvements.
Please check this website, for more information: www.grc.as (Available in Swedish and Danish.)
You can also sign up for the GRC newsletter (also available in either Swedish or Danish) just by entering your E-Mail in one of the forms below. Then you will be updated with new racing events to come as well as reports from previous events. You can use the same form if you wish to unsubscribe from the mailing list. Your E-Mail address will not be used in any other purpose than for GRC news.
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