After a night of not much sleep, we were greeted by the blinding light of an early German sunrise. It was 5AM or so when I decided we should get an early start toward Nürburg from Offenbach. We shoved all of our two bags of luggage back in the 118 and began our first roadtrip on the autobahn. Soon enough, we were traveling through the beautiful Eifel Region of Germany, at speeds of nearly 140MPH. More on that later.
If you're just joining us, well, me... This is the much delayed Part Two of my short series, A Young Enthusiast's Trip To Europe. Where I attempt to describe what it's like to accomplish several automotive dreams and explain the best methods to do so.
When we first arrived in Nürburg it was just about 7:30AM. It was fairly quiet and there was not much happening. It was also surprisingly filthy in some areas, but I suppose the Rock am Ring festival that had just ended was to blame. I parked the 118 at the Tiefgarage and we darted off on foot into the Ring Werk center.
Ring Werk seemed to be a smallish mall mixed with an automotive amusement park kind of thing. It had karting, a Nürburgring gift shop, a Subway (restaurant), a Nissan/Nismo showroom, and some sort of roller coaster type thing. It also appeared that someone had abandoned a CLA and an M6 inside.
We soon remembered that it was only about 8AM, nothing was open, and the track wouldn't be open to the public until 5:30PM. After promising the CLA and M6 we would come back for them, we left Ring Werk and drove toward Adenau. Another small town that the Nürburgring passes through. On our way, we found a small dirt pull off area, right next to the 'Ring, where we stopped to admire the pure beauty of the track.
To burn time, we drove to Bonne, got some cash, lunch, and I was able to actually make my in-car GoPro charging setup decent. We also attempted to get a factory tour of the Haribo gummy factory. We were denied. In a fit of rage, we bought a tub of gummy cola, stomped back to the 118, and returned to Nürburg.
We went back to the Ring Werk center and purchased a few 'Ring goodies at the 'Ring gift shop. Things weren't totally overpriced there, and they had a pretty decent selection of 'Ring merchandise. Including a toaster that could apparently burn the Nürburgring onto your toast. I completely regret not buying this.
We checked in at the Dorint Am Nürburgring, dropped the bags to add lightness, and drove to the track. The rented track day was coming to an end, and people began to pile up for the Touristenfahrten time slot. As it began to drizzle, I did get a little paranoid and decided to try and take a quick nap in the 118, but this didn't work. I walked around the Nürburgring parking lot and admired all the cars that turned out for this session, bought my €26 lap pass, and returned to the 118 to mentally prepared myself for my first lap of the green hell.
-If you haven't seen it already, this was my lap.
-The Dorint Am Nürburgring is a sweet hotel for the modern day automotive enthusiast. They're trackside to the Nürburgring GP track, have motorsports artwork, and have some sick things hanging from the ceiling in their lobby. Also, the breakfast is probably the best hotel breakfast I have had. I should also mention it was by far the most expensive hotel we stayed at in Germany.
-It seemed as if there was very little traffic during the my session. I did go on a wednesday afternoon, so this may be why. So I'm thinking this may be the best choice for driving the 'Ring.
-On our laps of the 'Ring, we only saw two disabled vehicles. One I think may have had an accident, and the other was an E92 M3 with a flat tire.
-I didn't experience any trouble with my camera setup and the Nürburgring. I am well aware the rules say you're not allowed to record on the 'Ring, but no one stopped me, and I'm fairly certain that the track marshals saw my cameras. I had two GoPro's hooked up next to each other under my rear view mirror.
-Driving on the Nürburgring Nordschleife requires pure concentration, even if you're not at your own or your vehicles limit, or anywhere near it. The people around you (hopefully) know what they're doing as they're flying around you, but if you're not cautious enough, you can easily cause a fatal accident. You must always be completely aware of your surroundings on the Nordschleife, especially if it's your first lap. You more than likely won't know what turn is coming up, or when a motorcyclist is going to shoot in front of you to clip the apex of that blind turn. Do not go on the Nürburgring thinking you're going to achieve a lap time of anywhere near 10 minutes, on your first shot.
I would not recommend driving on the Nordschleife to anyone I don't think could handle it.
The Nürburgring is a beautiful icon in the automotive world we live in today. I sincerely hope it will be able to stick around and thrive for many years to come.