The main event: What’s better than a track day at the Nurburgring, exclusively for a small number of cars (less than a VLN race), no barriers and the ability to drive DH flat out? A two day event! DN8 included Wednesday and Thursday. Without fail before every track event I jump through a succession of loops:
- WTF am I doing?
- Why do I pay to feel like this?
- Are these butterflies going to escape in an Alienesque scene?
- Do I need the loo, again?
These feelings grow during event briefings. Strapping myself into a car I am all fingers & thumbs, and usually shaking from adrenalin. Halfway into the sighting lap sessions all of this disappears, replaced by a euphoric high. Like a small child eating a tub of Haribo in one, it’s on! As the day progresses, if it’s all going well, this feeling grows. Until the day is over, then it’s straight into craving doing it again as soon as possible. A two day event helps with this. Wrapping up day 1 knowing you get to do it all again the next day, without the butterfly start, is an utter joy. Even better if Michaela is running a BBQ at the Gastehaus Fuchsrohre that night. It also takes the pressure off trying to ‘make the most of it’. Yes, you want to get all of your laps in but the two days generates space to gain confidence and speed at a slower, less pressured, rate.
Day 1: A great success. Neil drove the sighting lap and unfortunately realised his biggest fear, other than crashing… Holding other cars up / being too slow. Wish I could have taken a wing mirror pick as we did a lap of the ‘Ring with 20+ supercars in the mirror. Thankfully Neilo realised this was par for the course on a sighting lap and in a car with relatively little power. Momentum is key and a sighting lap isn’t a place to carry it. It enabled us to go over some lines and corner names. Letting Neil get a feel for the Swift and his first ever lap of a race track!
The rest of the day went by all too quickly, I felt slower and like I’d lost a fair bit of confidence while Neil steadily progressed and grew his confidence more. We finished the day with an epic BBQ and Neilo retired early to watch lots of Gopro footage and youtube laps.
Day 2: After a good nights sleep I dropped Neil at R4R to collect CU while I parked my car in the overflow. 10 minutes later….. no sign of CU / Neil. 15 minutes later….. no sign of Neil / CU. 20 minutes later and I started to worry / ask marshalls if they’d seen an orange and blue Swift…
It appears turning left, driving 500m and then turning right at a roundabout was too much for Neil. He took it upon himself to turn right and take the scenic route. How he made it to the circuit even he doesn’t know. Then it was my turn to be in for a shock. I’d spent most of Wednesday reassuring Neil he could go faster. First lap out and he was a good seat of the pants 2 minutes quicker per lap. Youtube, sleep and watching Gopro footage had transformed him overnight. Gone were the worries of holding cars up and me continually saying you can go faster. Replaced with brake, PLEASE brake :D. I also received my first lap of tuition, which has really helped (see video below).
How did we get on vs. our Mission:
- Learn the corner names – Tick: during our only two red flag laps, walking the circuit and buying a track map we pushed each other / tested each other on names. This has greatly helped. Learning corners and names helps a lot with visualisation and familiarisation.
- Guide Neil safely through his first laps – Tick: 12 laps successfully completed each.
- Improve our knowledge of the track – Tick: See learn corner names. Walked 1/3rd of the track, used printed corner names and the Yoko signs on track to test each other and go through corner names.
- Tick off some touristy things – Tick: Walked up the castle, located the inner Karousell and greatly enjoyed tourist Tuesday.
- Soak up being at the Nurburgring – Tick: Neil successfully hooked. Great people, food and time had by all.
My Highlight and first lap under instruction: