I spend a lot of my free time at local race tracks and motorsport events. As far as motorsport/track events goes there is none bigger than the Nürburgring. Several years ago a group of colleagues from work decided to tag along with the MLR (Mitsubishi Lancer Registers) annual trip. After hearing that it was every bit as good as I had expected, I could not wait for the next trip to be organised.
It was an early start and in typical male fashion I left most of my packing until the morning we were due to leave. A friend had volunteered to drive two of us and we would meet the group to convoy down. A long story short, we missed our allocated slot for the Euro Tunnel, got lost… twice and ended up driving down what we later found out was a cycle path, but we made it.
The rain came down and the ring was about to shut but we managed to get one quick initial lap in before it did, in a fully laden BMW 320d estate. It was at this point I knew it would be a good weekend.
We woke up bright and early the next day ready to hit the ring. Our first stop was probably one of the most popular view points of the circuit which allowed a wide viewing area. Even though the track had just opened the car park had already began to fill up as spectators from all over the world flooded in.
We visited this point many times over the weekend and it turned out to be a great meeting place for everyone when we split up.
Even the car park provided entertainment. A mound of gravel and a jeep is all that’s needed.
Next on our travels was probably the most famous corner of them all, the Karussell. Getting there was not an easy task, the Karussell was at the top of one the highest points on the track. The dense woodland that lay before us was daunting. The road also stops half way up so the second half would be on foot.
Once we reached the top however the view was very rewarding. Having seen many photos and videos which including the Karussell I was hoping for good things and it did not disappoint. This was probably the closest I had ever been to a live race track, the wind could be felt coming off each car as it drove past.
The famous banked corner, Karussell.
More forest on the way back down to where the car was parked.
Darkness began to close in and two of us ventured down to the track. Being able to walk on the track was a strange experience and even though it was closed and the gates to the road entrance were shut and locked, we were constantly looking over our shoulder in case any cars were coming.
The old pit exit.
With no street lighting the track was very dark at night. Torches are a must to avoid tripping and falling. They also allow for some interesting light painting photography. Out hotel (the Burgstube) was only a 5 minute walk from ring and a great base for anyone visiting.
The next day brought more view points and more laps. We started the day by meeting everyone at our now beloved corner ‘Brünnchen’. Having planned out a few places to visit the night before, we set off for the day.
The day was a lot less strenuous after we made a group decision not to climb any more big hills. What lay before us was flat paths and car parks that were actually at our destination and not half way up.
A Nissan Skyline GTR
Lunch time came and we tried the local cuisine. A Currywurst. Which is essentially a bockwurst (sausage) with curry sauce and chips. It was surprisingly nice for a cafe meal, even if we were each given enough curry sauce to feed an army.
From the cafe, a path led us back onto the border of the track where the action would resume. Cars worth thousands and thousands of pounds were constantly going past, it got to a point where we got excited when we saw an everyday car like a Ford Fiesta.
Porsche GT3s were a common site. They seemed to be the tool of choice for any one with a large amount of cash burning a hole in their pocket.
Once again nighttime began and we met at what was known by now as ‘the corner’, allowing for some last photographs before the track shut for the night.
Of course, a trip to the Nurburgring wouldn’t be complete without the classic under the sign photo. So we drove down to the Nurburgring Mall and joined the queue of people waiting to take pictures of their car under the sign.
With the area not being very well lit, I resorted to a long exposure on the camera while two others directed torches at the car to light it up.
Couldn’t resist a picture from the top of the bridge seeing as we were there…
The last day had a lot of rain in-store for us. We booked to go on the Nurburgring go kart track. Having only been on petrol karts before we weren’t expecting much from the electric karts but they were a lot better than anticipated!
We explored the shopping facility and Nurburgring Museum which contained a lot of interactive pieces and was very informative especially regarding F1. Many touring cars of days gone by were around which allowed for some fantastic viewing.
As the final night came we ate at the Pistenklause which is famous for cooking your own steak on a hot stone. The group reminisced about the weekend as we tucked into our food. The Nurburgring was every bit as amazing as I thought it would be!
Many thanks to the guys at the Burgstube hotel for accommodating our stay and helping us out with the best places to visit. Fantastic hotel and fantastic service!
I look forward to returning next year.