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2016/09/19 Germany Day 04: Driving My First 6 Laps of Nurburgring in a Track Renault Clio
π 2016-09-19 01:01 in Cars, Germany2016
After our first night in Trier, we went to see what we didn't have the time to see the previous day, but being sunday, most museums were closed (hence our rush to see them the previous day), and we were done by 15:00 or so. This gave us (well, really me) the opportunity to go to nearby Nurburgring and drive 6 laps there on the famed killer circuit :)

Sadly, due to other time commitment, I had had 0 time to practise the track on a computer beforehand, so I just showed up with 0 idea of how the turns were going to go, blind crests, or anything, but to save myself, I booked a private coach who rode with me during those sessions. I got lucky to be assigned to Winnie and he was absolutely awesome, he gave me the instructions I needed during each lap so that I would not drive off the track, and at the same time allowed me to drive as fast as I thought was safe (and I'll freely admit that I drove to the edge of my comfort level for a track I don't know at all). I was really impressed that he didn't keep telling me to slow down or asked me to work my way up slowly, which wasn't going to be possible with just 4 laps or so (in the end we were quick enough that even with a refueling stop, and him driving one lap to show me, I got 6 laps and he got one).

Incidently, the way to Nurburgring was when I got to drive on an Autobahn, and barely managed to get our Renault Mégane to reach 200kph (that had to be downhill). The 1.5l diesel engine couldn't go past 190kph-ish when level. Obviously I've driven much faster in the past in better cars, but that was the fastest I've driven legally on a public road :)


I only got 200kph for 2-3 seconds and wasn't fast enough to get a clear picture
I only got 200kph for 2-3 seconds and wasn't fast enough to get a clear picture

Needless to say that generally driving in Germany has been a pleasure, people have lane discipline, roads are good, and even when there are speed limits on freeways, many drivers don't seem to be overly worried by them :)

Eventually we made it to Nurburgring, I checked in at Hotel Parc Fermé to sign my live away and allow a 7000 euro desposit from being taken from my credit card in case I didn't bring the car back in one piece :) Given that I was driving with Willie, I wasn't overly worried that would be a problem :)


the renault RS cars were well built with a half cage and paddle shift (although on top of a slushbox it seems)
the renault RS cars were well built with a half cage and paddle shift (although on top of a slushbox it seems)

nice stitching for a race car :)
nice stitching for a race car :)


public driving was only open for 2h15, the plan was that I'd get at least 4 laps and each lap would cost 60 euros extra (ride ticket plus wear and tear on the car)
public driving was only open for 2h15, the plan was that I'd get at least 4 laps and each lap would cost 60 euros extra (ride ticket plus wear and tear on the car)

I got to see a bunch of other cars that had just come off a track day:



and then came time for our turn
and then came time for our turn

Jennifer was a trooper and got a few pictures of me when I got in and out
Jennifer was a trooper and got a few pictures of me when I got in and out

As expected, the track was a handful, but a lot of fun. Random impressions:

  • anyone can go, with just about any car. That alone is scary
  • no helmets. My instructor even said they prefer no helmets because otherwise it's harder to talk (at least the Renault car had a full roll cage)
  • More blind turns and crests than I can remember about everywhere, one crest I had to brake before and after the jump so as not to plow off the road in the next turn
  • however the part that scared me the most was passing people who were too busy driving to give me a "you can pass" turn signal, and not knowing if they were total tourists that never saw me and were about to close the gab or run into my passenger door (you can only pass on the left at the ring)
  • Yet, with the awesome help of the coach I had rented for the 2H (for a not cheap 300 euros), it was an awesome experience. I'm impressed how he let me go that fast without fearing for his life and shouting at me to slow down, especially since there were clearly turns that I wasn't doing quite right and never really had time to improve much in just 6 laps. Given that, this was the best 300 euros I ever spent for 2H of someone's time :)

    I was kind of happy when I barely managed to get 200kph out of our crappy renault mégane 1.5l diesel (!) on the autobahn, that took a good downhill, but that was nothing compared to going pass 200kph on the Nurburgring for a few short seconds :)

    Sadly I was not able to properly record my last and fastest lap (09:22), but here is my previous lap (09:28). Considering my first lap was a 10:13, I was definitely getting faster with each lap, but 6 laps weren't enough of course:

    For comparison, my instructor did a nice clean lap (except for the yellow flag we got at the end):

    For comparison, the car I had (or a slightly better version?) can apparently do 08:23 balls out: http://fastestlaps.com/tracks/nordschleife


    More pages: September 2016 October 2016

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