May 28, 2007

CG at the Nurburgring part II

From the live webcam you can see it's pouring rain. If anyone out there knows a time of year when it does NOT rain in the Eifels PLEASE let us know!

Sounds like CG was happy to have gotten some dry laps in yesterday and was going to keep it on the safe side today. Hopefully we can take a look at his Traqmate data and pictures in the next couple of days.

May 28, 2007 5:39:04 AM EDT

Rain gods are out again. The track is more treacherous and slower than yesterday. I try pushing more but I go all over the place.

I'm giving the justgofaster guys some laps, finish my ticketed laps and wait during lunch to see if the sky clears. If not I'm heading to Frankfurt early.

May 28, 2007 2:41:50 PM EDT

Ok. I'm safe and sound at the Frankfurt airport.
Never dried the whole day, so still decided to be out as much as I could, and learn a thing or two about driving on soapy water....

Took the justgofaster guys out for several laps. Some ocassional silence moments, but I think they trusted me by the end of the lap.
I was only once close to loose it and game over, but that was when I was on my own. It was braking downhill for the 3 apex corner 500m after Kallenhard that the Brits call Miss-hit-miss.

Again, is the braking that kills you in the rain. In the corners I'm ready for the car stepping sideways or sliding more than anticipated as I tend to drive "rally style" by compromising entry mid road (more gripand pushing on the middle of the corner to either use the extra track to accelerate or correct whatever went wrong (usually opposite lock to 4 wheel drift on track out).
Back to incident: As in many ocassion I went for the brakes but had immediate ABS lockup, so as usual eased a bit, and pressed again but this time the surface remained extremely slippery and being downhill almost no speed was lost. Went right to the edge of the track thinking baout how much 20ft of Nring Armco will cost and if it was better to induce a spin and pay for the two fenders and door, or just loose the bumper, fender and front suspension. Close to the edge I still decided to give a fight and turned the slid niceley all the way to the endge and I turn with half a tire (skinny 225s) on the grass and half on the white line. Made that arc for a whole 100yds until I felt enough grip to birng it back over. That was my cardio workout for the weekend.

The rest of the time, I just became so used to prolongued slides, 100mph+ sudden twitches that I felt relaxed correcting with ease. It was not fast track driving but probably one of the most instructive track days I had. Remind me of the Senna documentary that talks about the endless days he spent as a child at the gokart track having his servants continuosly spray water over the surface after a day he was handed his own ass by another kid in a wet race. Its all about practice and building up that self confidence (nothing new here just like any other sport...)

All in, it was a great experience, maybe the best ever I had at a track, as I was able to demistify a mythic place and make it seem achievable to lap as we do our local tracks. I'm coming back for more soon, so I hope you guys can join..

Best times of the weekend were 8:36 dry and 9:47 wet (last lap of the weekend), but those numbers are irrelevant as what counts is the experience.

As for the rental car; its not cheap, but I can't think of a better way. This guy (Theo, VERY nice guy) knows what he is doing, the cars are perfectly setup for the Nring (probably too soft for a track like ours) and they don't miss a beat, so why reinvent the wheel or drive a compromised AVIS rental, or your precious Euro delivered car?

No major car sightings today as the weather shys most exotics away. Nice to see the green GT3 RS being lapped by a good driver.

Here is Part I of CG's ring trip.

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