DN10 – Sticking to even numbers

Post DN10 (Destination Nurburgring 10) depression and work have kept me sufficiently busy that this post is now inversely proportional lateness to its relevance. It’s also melodramatic… 75% happy to have been able to attend DN6, 8 and now 10. 25% sad an imminent grown up things mean this may be my last DN and Nurburgring trip for a while (hopefully some house building posts to follow, after a rant on how poor Cornwall Council Planning are….).

Making new friends at the Chunnel. Some DN10 attendees were easier to spot than others.

My first solo voyage, all previous trips have been with friend paxing. Unsure how the 666 mile journey would go I looked forward to meeting new and old friends there. Thankfully I needn’t have worried. The 1 series proved a faithful companion. Discovering the excellent Tim Ferriss’ podcast helped too.

BMW One Series at the Nurburgring
Very much at home

With the news European speed cameras will soon be able to get our details from the DVLA, and this being the 1 series’ last trip, I was keen to set a good time. How good I’ll enjoy and shorten each time I mention to people silly enough to listen. When the company car people collect the 1 series expect a very sad Olly!

Lots of miles done with only one fuel stop!

With getting to the Nurburgring sorted it was time to settle into the excellent Gastehaus Fuchsrohre. After a quick shower and freshen up I headed for the sign on and briefing. Being a Rent4Ring customer this isn’t strictly necessary. We have a separate briefing and sign on at Rent4Ring the morning of day 1, early! Even as a regular it’s still a requirement, and a further reminder to take things easy to start. The main briefing is still worth attending, a chance to see some of the cars and meet up with friends. Lots of nice cars in attendance. Everything from exotic Alfas to multiple 911s 4.0 RS, with Atoms, Schirmer m3s and new 991 GT3s thrown in for good measure. This briefing we also learned the T13 pits were in use and gathered a full appreciation for just how many people are attending the event. Lots it seemed!

Matching BTG T-shirts with AI's colour scheme
Rocking the BTG look…. (me, Mr. BridgeToGantry and Ray)

Massive thanks to Ray, my GT6 buddy and Nurburgring veteran, for sharing DN10 and our R4R Swift ‘AI’. His coaching over the two days and paxing with him really helped. A great three days: good food, company and impressive to see how fast Ray can pilot a Swift around the ‘Ring.

Day 1 – HOT

We skipped the DN sighting laps: the track opened at 8am with a strict no overtaking rule until 9am when the track goes live. Our Rent4Ring Swift package came with 24 laps, using 1-2 of those for sighting laps seemed a waste. If it’s your first time, or you lack confidence this equation may change for you. Solo I’d of been more tempted but with Ray’s experience and offer of going first it made sense to save our laps.

Wipperman Kerb usage
Using the Kerb a little

Paxing with Ray I learnt a lot. He was also very patient with coaching and we safely knocked 15 seconds off my previous best BTG. To be clear we didn’t time, we just filmed with a GoPro and reviewed footage. More than chasing a time I’m trying to improve my knowledge of the track, safety and have fun. A drop in lap times hopefully a bonus biproduct and a good yardstick to measure progress. The Rent4Ring Swift proved far greater fun than a sum of its mighty parts. The weather was glorious and my 6 driven laps were over all too quickly.

Day 2 – Still HOT

Day 2 was great fun but only managed 5 driven laps. Amazingly the weather was again perfect even if the day was marred by silly mistakes, lots of traffic and a few closures. Still far from a bad day and I managed to get out paxing with friends in other cars that proved a highlight in the afternoon.  There’s lots to be learnt and experienced from the pax seat, thanks to those that offered me a PAX. I also finally got a pax lap with Mr. BTG by sacrificing one of my driven laps. Soooooooooo worth it!

No wheels on the ground
Flying

My first lap the fuel light came on at Hatzenbach, rookier error! Went to get fuel and then took another friend out for more coaching / tuition / being shouted at. Aborted due to a red flag at miss-hit-miss. It was then lunch time with no sign of the track opening soon. With all the closures and two false starts it looked liked getting my laps in was going to be an issue. Thankfully I had a solid 3 lap stint in the afternoon.

 

I had great fun and learnt a lot from the laps and more of Ray’s coaching. Additional traffic held me up and none of my laps were clean. Straight from the racing driver’s handbook of excuses for not going faster. A particularly poorly driven M3 wouldn’t let us, and many other drivers, through. They constantly blocked lines, held us up and made dubious decisions. Having waxed lyrically to several new recruits to DN days I was sad DN10 didn’t live up to my previous experiences of DN6 and DN8. I’m hoping lessons are learnt and less people are on DN11 :D. Still a great event and so glad to have been able to attend.

Until next time…..
Highlights…

Realising what fast is and paxing while Dale and Ray pretty much overtook everything. A real privilege and worth the entry fee alone. Considerably less than 9 min laps with lots of traffic in a Suzuki Swift! At the end of Day One another R4R Swift driver complained AI was much faster and driven by a ‘maniac’. Technically two maniacs (Dale and Ray).

GTR Fishing 😀

Low lights…

Closures and some terrible driving: Undertakes, line blocking, indicating right then diving left for an apex and the feeling far too many people were let loose to play. Not the usual DN experience I’ve come to know and love.

The Channel Tunnel Train
Home time (La Chunnel)

Looking back make that 100% happy and very lucky to have been able to attend another two great days at the Nurburgring. Will I really be able to not go back out for a while…… We’ll see…

When will I see you again….
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Nurburgring June 2013: Destination Nurburgring 8 #DN8

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:

  1. WTF am I doing?
  2. Why do I pay to feel like this?
  3. Are these butterflies going to escape in an Alienesque scene?
  4. 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.

CU Rent4Ring Swift in action at the Nurburgring
CU, good weather and day 1

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).

The Karussell
The Karussell

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:

Part 1: Nurburgring June 2013: Neil’s first Trip and Trackday

Part 2: Nurburgring June 2013: Tourist Experience Tuesday

Missed DN9 but can’t wait for DN10 this year!

Nurburgring June 2013: Tourist Experience Tuesday

All previous trips have seen me arrive late the day before a track / TF day, drive the circuit and head home the next day. This time would be different, with Tuesday set aside to soak up being at the Nurburgring. After a full breakfast Neil and I set off to check-in at Rent4Ring

BMW Rent4Ring #R4R
Signing on with Rent4Ring #R4R

Neil’s first opportunity to see and check he fitted into a Swift. Nice to catch up with the Rent4Ring team and be re-united with CU (SC is already worried for when R4R decide to sell it and the inevitable discussion arises)

Rent4Ring Suzuki Stage 2+ Swift
CU Suzuki Stage 2+ Rent4Ring Swift #R4R

Next stop, the castle. For 6 Euros (don’t forget your wallet and have to go back to the car) and a brisk dabble with danger. The likes of which UK health and safety would cry over as you can climb several ‘steps’ and access the very top.

Nurburg Castle
Nice view at the top, Döttinger Höhe to the right

The Eifel region of Germany has a thousand micro-climates all nestled together. This matters more on a day you’re driving. However, the Destination Nurburging Team have signed a deal with someone high up. All DN days have a reputation for being sunny and mostly dry. Neil and I used the closing-in weather as a sign to head for the local town of Adenau, and lunch.

Adenau
Moody Adenau

With the weather improving a plan was hatched to explore some of the track. Today’s challenge: locate the inside of the Karussel and marshal post 143. We parked at Brunnchen to make a walk of it. For whatever reason the powers that be decided the track was closed today (clean up from the festival we suspected). At no point did we get overly excited and ‘sneak’ onto the circuit.

Ooops, the gate fell open…….
A clever bit of Photoshop
Wippermann was too much for Neilo

Walking along an impressive trail (loads of great Mountain Bike options) we eventually arrived at our destination.

Marshal post #143 - The Karousel
Marshal post #143 – The Karussell

At this point Neil decided the best thing to do was to run the Karussell, as if he were his Dad

Run Forest, RUN!

And then it was time to return to Gastehaus Fuchsrohre for a beer, some GT5 and an early night before the main event. Excitement and apprehension were well and truly brewing!

Part 1: Nurburgring June 2013: Neil’s first Trip and Trackday

Part 3: Nurburgring June 2013: Destination Nurburgring 8 #DN8

The Karousel
The Karussell