May 20, 2008

Axis Ringball 08 part I: Pilgrimage

Catholics might go to Lourdes, Hindu's bathe in Ganges, Jews pray at the wall, Muslims go to Mecca. Tracktard petrolheads pilgrimage to a remote corner of north western Germany, to the Nürburgring.

The Axis returned to the Eifel forests and, there is just no other way of putting it, had an effin' great time. Bonus extra points for the amazing weather we had for two days in a row, almost unheard of in those parts.

CG will start us off:

Flight and Arrival:

Everything went smoothly. Bags checked, flight on time and even time for a couple of beers before departure. My international business travel routine experience paid well while I shut off completely almost prior to take-off, while bitchy Stee kept complaining about how tight our economy seats were.

Uneventful arrival to Frankfurt and thanks to a nice corporate rental reservation (Thank you Dan Cohen!) we got a nice upgrade to the most proper vehicle for our trip: Brand New Mercedes E-Class Wagon – Diesel (why waste our gas money driving on the street?). It easily swallowed all our bags (2 changes of underwear, helmets and more cameras and telemetry devices than you can find on an ITV F1 broadcast)

Some traffic on our Frankfurt – Nurburg trip, so it took us almost 2hrs (80mph avg). Check in at the hotel and then for a great local treat of Grille Haxe (Roasted Pork’s hock) and Bitburger beer. Now fully loaded with german cholesterol and alcohol and we were set for some action.

AC continues:

We checked into the "fancy" hotel, The Dorint. OK, it's more expensive but c'mon, it has balconies overlooking the Nürburgring Formula 1 track!

When we arrived, they were just wrapping up a VLN race. Heaven. All kind of hardware running, from VW Polo's to a mysterios looking Lexus racer. My favorite, the awesome looking BMW Z4 Motorsport racers. What a car.

Back to CG:

Next stop, RSR Nurburg to meet Ron, Dale and the crew. If you ever need a spare part for an Alfa 75 this is were you find it. Basically, they have a full corn-field planted with Alfa 75s!

Our jet-lag showed when Stee completely fell asleep on Ron’s pep talk about the dangers of driving in the Nring, specially now with the existence of a new type of driver: The World acclaimed “Playstation GT4 professional”.

(AC: the "Playstation Professional is distinguished by the massive accident his misguided self confidence will cause, pre- GT4 drivers would spend years learning the track and would usually get into smaller accidents because they did not have the confidence of knowing twhich way the track went over that next blind crest...)

CG: Our sleepy selves didn’t have enough time to recover before we were offered an evening instructional ride by Dale in the 2 hours the track opened on Saturday. Most valuable tip shown to us that evening was how to avoid entrance traffic (which I prefer to keep secret, but it made my life easier on crowded Sunday May 11 where I was still able to log in 20 laps).

Alfa 75 with brand new race suspension, loaded with the 4 of us and how can I explain those laps with Dale at the wheel?
Dale, your typical PCA instructor…NOT!

Let’s just define Dale by the facts: NRing instructor and Petrolhead Brit who can strap himself to a crotch rocket and do a lap in close to 7:30mins…. So you can just imagine how he can drive with the confidence of 4 wheels and bodywork around him. 'Nuff said…. It was a great intro for this year’s NRing trip, as I was clearly shown limits I will not be willing to test.

AC: Those laps with Dale made me giggle, essentially, the brake pedal is your just slows you down. The correct way to slow down is to use the tires, if you really must.
I think in some parts he was trying to show off a little and it certainly was a great show. I would highly recommend for anyone to try for a ride from one of these guys BEFORE you go out. It is a great attitude adjustment prescription.

To be continued....


  1. Lexus LF-A according to

    If interested look for Lexus under the manufacturers heading.

    What is VLN stand for? Looks like practice for the 24 hr race to me. COOL! I am very jealous of you all. Can't wait for the next part.

  2. it was both, we were told they have that series there every other week so it's both a race and for the big teams practice for the 24Hr.
    VLN: Veranstaltergemeinschaft Langstreckenpokal Nürburgring

    ie endurance racing association von Nürburgring

  3. Great stuff!

    I have to say that I'm a sucker for the M coupe racer as well.

    Can't wait for the next chapter.

  4. Can't wait for the next update guys

  5. hahah... I was indeed showing off a little, but the somewhat lurid slide into HB, with four wheels broadside made me back off. A little. ;)

  6. anorak comment coming:
    The winning Getrag-Z4 does not use bmw's wonderful (but sadly by now outwitted) s54 engine but a used v8 out of an old dtm-audi tt (when Audi-Tuner Abt and not audi themselves raced, some years ago). This engine has been used by getrag before in their now retired e46-m3 racer. Rather funny though: the "Audi"-TT-Engine didn't start life as an Audi engine at all, Abt didn`t have time or resources in those days to build up their own (Audi-) motor, so they bought a BMW Race engine from a swiss Race franchise (probably Mader, but I don't know for sure). So, a bmw z4 with a bmw-audi-bmw-engine. And fast it is...
    An onboard lap from a march test-day can be downloaded here...

    go to "onboardvideos" and scroll down a bit (or just download them all)


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