Nürburgring (15 & 16 May 2004)
Snoring at Sabine's


Trip 1 (Easter 2002)
Trip 2 (May 2002)
2002 24H (June)
Trip 3 (June 2002)
Trip 4 (July 2002)
Trip 5 (August 2002)
Trip 6 (August 2002)
Trip 7 (September 2002)
Trip 8 (September 2002)
Trip 9 (September 2002)
Trip 10 (November 2002)
Trip 11 (March 2003)
Trip 12 (April 2003)
Trip 13 (Easter 2003)
Trip 14 (May 2003)
Trip 15 (May 2003)
Trip 16 (June 2003)
Trip 17 (July 2003)
Trip 18 (August 2003)
Trip 19 (August 2003)
Trip 20 (September 2003)
Trip 21 (November 2003)
Trip 22 (November 2003)
Trip 23 (November 2003)
Trip 24 (February 2004)
Trip 25 (March 2004)
Trip 26 (April 2004)
Trip 27 (April 2004)
Trip 28 (May 2004)
Trip 29 (May 2004)
Trip 31 (July/August 2004)
Trip 32 (August 2004)
Trip 33 (September 2004)
Trip 34 (October 2004)
Trip 35 (October 2004)
Trip 36 (October 2004)
Trip 37 (November 2004)
Trip 38 (November 2004)
Trip 39 (November 2004)
Trip 40 (March 2005)
Trip 41 (April 2005)
Trip 42 (April 2005)
Trip 43 (April 2005)
Trip 44 (May 2005)
Trip 45 (June 2005)
Trip 46 (July 2005)
Trip 47 (August 2005)
Trip 48 (August 2005)
Trip 49 (August 2005)
Trip 50 (August 2005)
Trip 51 (September 2005)
Trip 52 (October 2005)
Trip 53 (March 2006)
Trip 54 (April 2006)
Trip 55 (Easter 2006)
Trip 56 (April 2006)
Trip 57 (May 2006)
Trip 58 (June 2006)
Trip 59 (July 2006)
Trip 60 (August 2006)
Trip 61 (April 2007)
Trip 62 (April 2007)
Trip 63 (June 2007)
Trip 64 (August 2007)
Trip 65 (September 2007)
Trip 66 (November 2007)
Trip 67 (May 2008)
Trip 68 (May 2008)
Trip 69 (June 2008)
Trip 70 (July 2008)
Trip 71 (September 2008)

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Ecurie Europe had managed to restore the Audi TT back to working order after the slight mishap of the previous VLN race. An impressive job by the team. Another team is also making headway: Team Schedenkreuz managed to get their race car ready and scrutineered. All of this was a promising start of yet another weekend at the most beautiful racetrack in the world. I'd taken my camera (read: the SLR) along to take some pictures of the cars whizzing by. First stop was Hatzenbach, where the spectators had their radios on and their barbecues going strong.

Spectators Spectators Flugplatz

Christer had an eventful start of the race, featuring a rough running engine, some gearbox trouble, and a broken-off emergency power cut-off switch. Read all about it in the race report of the 4th race on the Ecurie Europe website.

Remains of the emergency power cut-off switch

It took a very long time for the Audi to come by, and when it did it sounded rather rough, suffering from misfires. Hatzenbach is a nice place to watch the race, but after a while I decided to move to another spot anyway. Not wanting to walk too far in the heat I decided to go to Galgenkopf. The entry to the little carpark there was blocked by a broken-down BMW that was towed off the track. The closest spot to safely park a car was the Ed Tankstelle.

On the way to Galgenkopf I passed a crashed Civic that had been towed off the track.

Crashed Civic

By now we're about 2.5 hours into the race. Within 5 minutes of my getting into position at the fence, a very rough-sounding car inched its way up the hill. Unfortunately it was Stephane in the Audi TT. The engine was making barely enough power to tick over at idle, and Stephane had to pull off the track right in front of me. Our friendly little chat was interrupted by the marshals who needed Stephane to pilot the Audi to the nearest exit.

Stephane getting a tow Stephane getting a tow

While Stephane was getting towed, I hiked back to the emergency exit and the crashed Civic that was now accompanied by the TT. Stephane was on the phone with Job, explaining where he was. Then it was my turn to talk to Job to explain how you reached that location via public roads :) Having to park the car after a mere two laps was a bummer for Stephane, who'd had a short night and a long drive to make it to the start. After a short wait, during which I learned that Stephane used to own a 964C2 too, the support vehicle arrived with Job and one of the mechanics.

Support vehicle arrives Getting the tow ready Getting the tow ready On the way to the Fahrerlager

Once Job & co were on their way back to the Fahrerlager I hiked back to my spot next to the track to take some more pictures. Afterwards I sampled the Currywurst mit Pommes at the Döttinger Höhe Imbiss next to the Ed Tankstelle. My subjective verdict: much better than the shack at Brünnchen or the little van at Quiddelbacher bridge. Even though the fries and sausage were quite nice, it still turned out to be a bad decision as there was more than enough very nice food left at the Ecurie Europe pit. Particularly the soup and the bread was excellent. And to stay with the water and bread theme a bit longer, Christer showed the new drinking system in the TT.

Drinks anyone?

The Dutch neighbours were involved in youngtimer racing. There were quite a few interesting cars around.

Oldie Oldie Beetle on biodiesel

When all the guests had left it was time to dismantle the tent. One of the (rather heavy) ramps doubled as a ladder.

Pulling down the tent Pulling down the tent Pulling down the tent Pulling down the tent Pulling down the tent Pulling down the tent

The next challenge was to get the TT back into the trailer without much in the way of power. Christer's dad has a heavy goods license and drove the truck this weekend. To make pushing the TT back into the trailer easier he put the truck on a slight downhill slope.

Moving the truck Moving the truck Moving the truck Moving the truck

Things went surprisingly easy after that: the TT was pushed to a suitable spot, we gave it a good shove (even the photographer participated, so no visual record or video), and up it went.

Positioning the TT

Having made some arrangements for my overnight stay I waved goodbye to the rest of the team and went to the Nordschleife to do some laps myself. The track was closed, resulting in the usual full carpark and a little traffic jam on the access road.

Lamborghini Diable SV Lamborghini Diable SV Full carpark

Apparantly a bad crash had occured, and the track had closed within 15 minutes of opening. As there wasn't much chance of the track opening again, I went to Ring Racing where I admired Johan's car (even the caps from the tyre valves had been removed in a quest for lightness) and had a quick chat with Kurt and Ross (who proudly demonstrated his new Jahreskarteholder).

Johan's car Johan's car New Jahreskarteholder for Ross

A quick call with Johan confirmed the schedule for the evening, and presented a challenge: I was staying at Sabine's Fuchshof (with Johan and two of his mates), and she was celebrating her birthday. If I could come up with a little present? Please bear in mind that this is Germany. On a Saturday evening. Anyway, back to Ed Tankstelle to rumage around their collection. A miniature BMW Z3 in the correct colour would have to do.

Pension Fuchshof

Dinner at the Pistenklause went in the usual fashion, though the company was a bit more varied than usual. Apart from Johan and another Team Schwedenkreuz driver there were some people from StopTech, two participants in the Gumball Rally, and some assorted others. Naturally, this made for lots of interesting conversations on various topics ranging from cars, driving, racing, music, brakes, cars, driving, music, rock festivals, driving, cars, films, and back to cars again :)

Gumball participant

I guess that this is as good a place as any to explain the subtitle of this trip report. We had two rooms at the Fuchshof. Johan & Peter had one, and Anders (not the GT3 but the B3-driving one) and I the other. I had already been warned by a little birdy that Johan was quite good at snoring, and the birdy had not been exaggerating... Despite that I had a good night's sleep apart from a wake-up call at 06.30 hours to my roommate. Nothing out of the ordinary therefore, which saw me arriving at the track at about 8.20 hours.

Sunday morning carpark Sunday morning carpark

I did the decent thing by going straight out and was rewarded by a very quiet lap. There was nobody there to overtake, and I was only overtaken by a single red 964RS. By the end of the day that particular 964RS had become very familiar, as I made room for him on 2 other occasions.

Lap two was more of the same, but entering Wehrseifen the suspension started to make some weird noises, as if the right front wheel was rubbing against something. Left the track at Breidscheid, felt if there was anything loose, found nothing, and decided to drive back via public road. I only managed to reproduce a much reduced version of the rubbing once. Anyway, I opted for a short cooldown pause and another slowish lap on the Ring to see how it would react to that. For some reason the problem didn't recur. Maybe because the car realised how much fun it was to drive on a nearly deserted track. One of the cars I spotted was a Ferrari Challenge Stradale. Very sweet.

The next lap I overtook a silver Seat (Johannes). By this time the rear brake pads had all but disappeared, which made for some interesting rearctions under heavy braking from the rear end, which isn't that stable under the best of circumstances anyway. Traffic was still reasonably light, so we went out for another lap. Thanks to the rear brake situation and that morning's suspension noise I took it a bit easy. Traffic was starting to get a bit thicker though, forcing me to overtake some cars and bikes. Most of them were watching their mirrors very well and behaved courteously.

I intended to have a break, but spotted Sir B. going out. Even though the BastardWagen is much quicker than the SquealMobile I went out after him anyway. By the looks of it he was ferrying Matt to Adenau. Matt wasn't wearing a helmet which gave me the chance of seeing the BW disappearing into the distance at a slower than usual rate.

By the end of the lap there were some threatening clouds hanging over the Nürburg castle, which made a nice contrast with the sun that peeked through the holes in the clouds.

Back in the parking lot I was greeted by my former Porsche mechanic. Former, because the OPC where my car used to be serviced had gone broke. He'd rented an Alfa 75 for the weekend, and was in the company of a 964 that insisted on sounding its alarm.

Porsche 964 with alarm system Rented Alfa 75

As it was getting chilly outside I took Johannes for a lap in the SquealMobile to get warm again. Fortunately he's used to softly sprung cars. His Seat at least has wider tyres and more torque.

The police were there too, with the by-now regular crash display. This time they'd brought the remains of the bike that was involved of one of the two fatal crashes on the public road next to the Ring.

Crash exhibit

While we were standing there talking to the police officer the track closed. Which gave Ed an excellent chance to reiterate his encounter with a not-so-quick Brit boiker. Said boiker (with his girlfriend riding pillion) apparantly didn't know the track and did enough weaving to keep Ed behind him from Metzgesfeld all the way to Döttinger Höhe. Probably to the entertainment of various spectators around the track who could admire a bit of headlight flashing and honking. And swearing too, probably.

Being the kind gentleman that he is, Ed decided to educate the guy about the rules of the Nürburgring GmbH, and to explain the concept that however difficult it might be to imagine, some people actually are faster than you. The biker wasn't really receptive towards Ed's helpful tips, but Ed shook his hand anyway to welcome him to the Ring even though the guy was more interested in a fight than in shaking hands.

To the victor go the spoils

Matt had come prepared for sunny weather, substituting his Scooby jacket (the one that is windproof, waterproof, warm, fleece-lined, and folds up into a tiny packet) for a Scoobynet T-shirt. Bren and Ross were contemplating the night before over a Red Bull.

More Scoobywear Bren and Ross

As is usually the case after a long closure, traffic backed up at the gates.

Traffic queue

Not everybody was having a trouble-free day. A yellow 993RS came in with lots of smoke coming from the right-hand exhaust and wheelarch. Something was definitely not right: it was obviously dripping oil.

Leaking 993RS Leaking 993RS

Johan had arranged passenger laps for his guests. Ed was one of the taxi drivers, which caused Niek to miss out on a passenger lap. However, timing is everything, and when Ed came back to drop off his passenger I happened to be standing right next to his now-empty passenger seat, and Niek was nowhere in sight. It would be rude to let Ed go out without someone to talk to, so I jumped in.

Traffic was getting thicker by the minute now, but the sun started shining again. A BMW touring, a Smart Roadster and a Mercedes estate were rapidly passed by a concentrated-looking Ed.

Thanks to the dry weather more and more bikers were going out too, including some of the yellow-vested marshals. In Steilstrecken we saw an Alfa parking before the gate at the bottom of Steilstrecken. What they were doing there wasn't entirely clear.

Going through Pflanzgarten it became obvious that the track was getting more and more crowded.

The second lap was less crowded, and just as much fun as the first lap. It was also a bit quicker. Apart from one extremely slow biker that we caught up to going into the Karussell. Fortunately he watched his mirrors pretty well and let us by immediately afterwards. Another biker from the same geographical area made room going into Eschbach. Ed got a nice run through Pflanzgarten I (which included taking the lefthand kerb to get some extra air) and made the most of not having ABS by flying over the crest and doing all the braking after landing. This time there was no traffic in the way on the approach to Schwalbenschwanz, and we squealed round the first lefthander absolutely perfectly. A fitting finale to two excellent laps.

Ed kindly dropped me off at the SquealMobile and went home to play with the kids. I fired up the SquealMobile and had to get used to its soft suspension again after two fast laps in a car with a proper suspension. Stopped off at Ring Racing to take some pictures of Johan's car. The car was a bit dirty, but that added to the ambience.

Team Schwedenkreuz M3 Team Schwedenkreuz M3 Team Schwedenkreuz M3 Team Schwedenkreuz M3

About 45 minutes and 28 shots later I went home after yet another entertaining weekend.