It was 10:35am and the car was getting delivered to grid in 15 minutes. The previous 2 days of driving had offered the full spectrum of experience in full Nurburgring fashion. It was cold, hot, sunny, windy, POURING rain and then pitch black dark (and rain – bonus round). The Matechsport.com car hadn’t missed a beat. It was great. The race was to be far more of a global draw than we anticipated. 10 garage bays down we found our Continental Challege & Rolex friends enjoying the same enthusiasm, excitement and favorable exchange rate. 🙂 [Read more…]
Today begins trip 3 of 4 to compete in the 24 hours at The Nurburgring.
The journey to The 24 Nurburgring race has been nothing short of unbelievable thus far, but it is getting overwhelming. Every 3 weeks, we fly back across the Atlantic to Germany.
2015 brings about a new set of rules designed to ensure the contestants are appropriately experienced before taking to the race. In previous years, anyone with a FIA $150 International Class C license could arrive & drive in any car they felt they could afford. This literally meant that a first timer that was well funded could land themselves in a GT3 class rocket ship and have at it.
This is what that feels like (start around 3:30):
The new rule set says that you must begin the process with a FIA International Class B. To get a Class B license you need to have competed in 7 national championship eligible races OR complete 5 ‘time trial’ type races at The Ring.
The next step (which is where we jumped in) is to then compete in two VLN series races and finish in the top half of the class. We were able to begin the process with an international Class B license due to the previous Rolex 24hr participation. The final step is to complete a mandatory safety course by the ADAC sanctioning body and you emerge with your “Class A Nordeschleife Permit”.
This weekend is the 2nd race where we will have to finish in the top 50% of the class to qualify for the 24hr Race in May. We got lucky in race #1 with a class win. It will also be the first time I drive the 122 turn, 15+ mile circuit in the dark. Although I have dozens of night races and some of my personal best lap times under my belt, the size of this prospect leaves me excited & anxious all at once.
Candidly – the timing couldn’t be worse to go.
Work is having a breakout year leaving us fighting to keep up, the kids schedules are phenomenally busy with sports & parent teacher conferences – life is just so….well….full that a 2nd trip in 3 weeks hurts. This morning my 9 year old said to me, ‘Oh, you’re going AGAIN?’ It felt like my cell phone rang the entire way into the airport, the ticket counter, in security and down the jetway. It was a relief to switch to ‘airplane mode’.
Thank goodness my wife is the saint that she is. Her parting words as I walked out the door for the airport were, “Go, have fun and relax.” She is the real trophy.
So off I fly. To Germany. Despite the long flights and the busyness I feel myself under the past 3 weeks, I remind myself that we have an amazing opportunity to raise funds through this venture. We’re lucky to be able to participate, and the hard work is well worth it when we accomplish our goals.
Help join our RALLY in 2015 and help us help some really special children’s charities by clicking here.
conclude your Nordschliefe lap and proceed to complete the circuit. As you finish the lap, instead of hooking right and back on to the front straight, you break left up onto T13 and DROP into the Nordeschliefe.
The Ring – its car guy heaven. Not just the track, but the entire region, Just 140 km from Frankfurt, it’s a fun a beautiful 80 minute haul from the airport. You quickly learn that the 5 Hash signs mean that the speed limit is unlimited. Our diesel Mercedes 350 CSL loafed along silently at 260kph (160mph) like it was a trip to the grocery store, Freaking Awesome.
hotel has a Jag F Type in camouflage parked in the basement. The place abounds with test drivers, support teams and the best of all, “Nurburgring Test Centers” for each manufacturer at every turn. It’s TRULY a car guy Mecca. The holy grail wrapped in a small town feel. Simply breath taking.
Where does it get crazy? t13
You approach the exit of the GP track and onto the Nordeschliefe at just over 100 mph in fourth gear. Our car was a momentum play so you had to roll your speed up the left hand hill and into the T13 chute. As you did so, the Nurburg Castle loomed on the horizon filling your windshield. It served as almost as a reminder, or, cue that you were about to leave the 21st century and roll the clock back 100+ years in world and automotive history.
Our VLN 10 race was the last in the 2014 series. It was considered a ‘small’ race with only 178 entries.
A big race has more than 220 cars. Oh My.
The paddock was PACKED with transporters and equipment. I couldn’t believe the equipment people had. Imagine back to the days when there was both IMSA and Grand-Am, picture a paddock housing BOTH series. Mercedes AMG SLS, Lemans RSRs, Z4s, Lexus, Toyota, Renault, Ford, BMW, VW and Bentley – it was SUPER cool.
The 325 e90 BMW that we were driving was essentially a track day car. A stripped down street car with a cage, seat, shocks and wheels. Oh yeah, we had a tuner exhaust on it too. At 250hp though, we weren’t hiding any driver mistakes. You had to ROLL your speed in if you had any hope of carrying any out of a turn. The builder, Boes Motorsport had done a wonderful job with setup however. The 252 car might have been the best handling car I’ve ever driven. Super stable, slight understeer and excellent at telegraphing when you were at the limit. A real pleasure to drive. Actually, kind of a giggle to take jumps with such a heavy car…kinda felt like my high school days……sorry Dad 😉