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17 Sep 2015

A Lap in the "Green Hell" - Nürburgring

The Green Hell

Text and Photos: Reinis Babrovskis & Ginta Babrovska
Ask a car enthusiast: what is on the top of their bucket list, and I am certain the majority would provide the same answer - a lap on the infamous Nürburgring. For years I could've only dreamt about racing on this circuit, before finally I was given the chance to fulfill my life-long dream, as my dear wife got me a present of a life-time.
Nordschleife is a race track built in the 1920'ies located in the western part of Germany near the village of Nürburg. The track is surrounded by the Eifel mountains, forests and spectacular medieval castle of Nürburg. The race track is 20.8km long featuring 73 bends and has more than 300 metres of elevation between its lowest and highest points.

First race on the Ring was held on 18 June 1927, and whilst the circuit has remained active until the present days, the racing stopped during the WWII. The circuit became a home for the German F1 Grand Prix until the more modern, safer and shorter GP circuit was added to the circuit in 1984. The Ring survived the war, hosted thousands of races and had become a legend; it has been featured in many computer games and movies alike. Since the opening of the circuit in 1927, the "Green Hell" as described by Sir Jackie Stewart, was the playground for many racing drivers; however, the circuit also became available to the general public during what's known as the "Touristenfahrten". For that reason the historic circuit attracts hundreds of thousands of petrolheads worldwide each year, sometimes up to few thousand a day.
Since it has also been the ultimate dream of mine to race the Ring, eventually I bit the bullet and we booked a trip to Germany.  If you're worried about the things to do whilst in Germany, don't worry - there are always motoring events on the Ring or nearby, e.g. we planned the trip to include the FIA WRC ADAC Deutschland 2015.
The weather has always been a major part of the circuit as it is less predictable than an Irish summer; however, we got lucky with the sun and blue sky present throughout the stay in this picturesque country.
Finally the long wait was over and we successfully arrived at the Ring on Sunday morning. Even though the clock was barely 8 a.m. the petrol stations, near by villages and roads were already full of supercars and race cars and 

Between the crowds and all the unbelievable machinery like Veyrons, Lamborghinis and Ferraris I managed to spot the all new Honda Civic Type-R that really caught my attention.The brand new hatchback from the Japanese manufacturer set a breathtaking time on the ring, sadly I never got to see it in action as it parked in one of the car parks near the circuit.

And then we arrived at the entrance...

It was time to pick up the keys for my weapon of choice - Toyota GT86. The car was built as a joint venture between Toyota and Subaru. Just like the iconic AE86 predecessor the new GT86 is a RWD 2 door sports coupe. The car is powered by a 2.0 Subaru boxter engine producing a respectable 200bhp. The car was equipped with racing pads, semi slick tyres and roll cage and handled beautifully.
It was time to head out and panic started to kick in, well not for my co-driver Carsten.
As expected on a Sunday the track was crammed with other traffic, from Veyrons and Radicals to family seven-seaters. I was informed the track would only get busier from 11am so I tried to get in as many laps as I could before it got hectic.
I got a few runs before the track got closed off following a nasty crash that reminded me of how dangerous the track can be and why we should always respect it.
Whilst waiting for the track to re-open it gave us a chance to walk around the parking lot and admire some of the amazing machinery present.
We were stuck for more than an hour and during that I saw everything from the latest hypercars to retro classics running ridiculous power. It certainly is a petrolheads heaven.
If one doesn't fancy driving the track themselves, the Ring Taxi is a great chance to experience the track with your friends avoiding the risks and stress. For info on Ring Taxi visit the page:
The track was finally cleared and re-opened and it was time to head out for the final lap.

That was it... I completed the final lap! My hands and legs were still shaking from the adrenaline.
No Nürburgring experience would be complete without a visit to the near by restaurant owned by nobody else than Sabine Schmidt, where many famous race drivers would get their meals following a race.
Before we left for the airport we stopped at one of the petrol stations close to the track and sat there just enjoying the atmosphere that no words could describe.
I had finally fulfilled my dream and despite being one of the scariest things I've done in my life, I cannot wait to go back.

And this is my lap of the Toyota GT86 on the "Green Hell".

1 comment:

  1. Good to see that the restaurant sells sprouts - I'm set for the visit in October!