The Adventure Begins
Setting off at 10.30 on Tuesday night marked the beginning of my first trip to the Nurburgring. I was pretty excited but unsure what to expect. I’m travelling with three others. Kevin and Giles, both seasoned Nurburgring 24 hour regulars and James, who like me was a Nurburgring Virgin and was as equally excited as I was.
Travelling through the night meant I slept quite a lot of the way, but was wide awake as we passed road signs to the circuit. Once we arrived we headed to the hotel where we needed to sign in. There is a petrol station adjoining the hotel and inside is a shop that sells thousands of Die Cast model cars. I spent a while drooling over them and flicking through the various books about the Nurburgring.
We headed back to the main circuit entrance and made our way into the paddock via a shuttle taxi. The weather had been pretty bad and it was raining on and off, sometimes quite heavily. The guy driving the taxi was pretty unimpressed with this too as he asked us ‘Is the weather this sh*t in England too?’ We assured him we have been experiencing much worse. Wandering round the paddock gave us a glimpse of the cars that were to be on show over the next few days. We chatted with the guys in the Nissan Academy team as they unloaded the Nissan GT-R that Alex Buncombe and Jan Mardenburgh would be racing in the British GT rounds. It’s a pretty awesome piece of machinery and one of my favourite cars on the grid.
Next it was time to head to the media room. The place is huge and has enough space to accommodate a small army. The facilities there are very good and the people working there were friendly and polite. The chocolate on offer was gratefully received as it was now lunchtime and I hadn’t eaten since dinner the day before.
It was time to head down to the garages. Some cars were already being worked on and being prepped. The vehicles were enough to whet anybody’s appetite. The pair of Black Falcon Mercedes SLS were particularly impressive and so too was the Lexus LFA. Dan Welch was there too with the Welch motorsport Seat Leon Supercopa. We had a gander down the pitlane just as it began to rain pretty heavily. We darted into a garage for shelter as the rain turned to hail. As it eased we decided to head back to the car and on to our hotel. We were all feeling pretty tired especially Kev, who had done a great job of driving through the night.
There was one last thing to do before making our way to the hotel and that was to grab a quick look at a few parts of the Nordschleife. We went down to Brünnchen first and the fans had already set up camp and seemed to have been there for quite a while and having a good time despite not on track action to watch. Having raced on the Nordschleife many times on my Playstation I thought I would know what to expect. Whilst GT5 is a pretty accurate representation of the circuit, you don’t get any idea of the elevations changes and my god were there elevation chances. The drop from Eschbach to Brünnchen was unbelievable and the climb back up to Eiskurve almost as steep. It was the same again at Breidscheid. The drops and climbs were spectacular and more so than I was imagining. Finally we drove up to Schwedenkreuz and whilst there a few cars were driving through. It was obvious why this place was so special.
So now at the hotel I have a bit of time to rest and unwind before a busy day tomorrow. I’m really excited and cannot wait to get out there and photograph so truly awesome machinery.