Having packed up the trailer on Saturday, with the usual plethora of car, Jerry-cans and all the other bells and whistles needed for a track event, we headed off at 4am Sunday 17th July for the Nurburgring. We arrived in Germany at the Nurburgring just before 4pm in the afternoon. As it was a ‘Touristenfahrten’ day it seemed rude not to get the car out on track right away! Whilst I was super psyched to be there and the only thing on my mind was to get out on track, there was a serious niggling in my head about taking out the car. We had two very busy days ahead with clients booked for high speed laps with none other than Michael Vergers, the lap record holder of the Nordschliefe, and I simply couldn’t comprehend stacking it! We parked up on a side road in the village and unloaded the car. After a quick trip to the garage for fuel, I headed out on track.
The Radical getting a lot of attention pre-event. We arrive on Sunday afternoon and Dave is keen to get out on track.
It was a sureal feeling to be out on the Nordschliefe in the Radical SR3 RS. Having visited twice before in a Z4 and a Subaru STI, I knew a little about the magic this place delivers, but as I worked my way through the twisting circuit it was a very different feeling. For a start, in the Radical your bum is a whole 2 inches from the tarmac and its just so god dam fast its unreal! You feel every bump and whilst the car is superbly planted, it feels like the track is constantly conspiring to spit you into a barrier, even though in reality it isn’t.
On my 2nd lap, picking my way carefully through yet another accident and debris field, a Nissan GTR burned past me. Obviously I was having none of this and proceeded to chase it down. I was genually amazed at just how fast the GTR was. After getting the Radical sideways into the banked spectator section on the left, I eased off a little… reminding myself of the days commitments ahead. It turned out the gentleman driving the GTR was booked in as a customer to drive my Radical on the Tuesday morning!
On my 3rd and final lap we passed no less than 5 crashes, one of them a BMW Z4 M Coupe, which without a shadow of a doubt was totalled! It was strewn accross the track. A stark reminder of just how dangerous and completely unforgiving this track is.
A Bit of History
For those of you who are not fully aquainted with the Nurburgring Nordschliefe Circuit…..
A lot of people associate the Nurburgring with F1, and rightly so. The Nordschliefe is however, a different animal all together. Originally built in 1927 it hosted the F1 for many years. Above growing safety concerns, if finally closed after the 1976 F1 race where Niki Lauda was badly burned in a crash and was only saved by his fellow racing drivers. The Nordschliefe is 13 miles long, and widely regarded as the most arduous and demanding racing circuit in the world. Its where manufacturers test their high performance supercars to destruction and was described as “green hell” by Jackie Stewart due to its seriously unforgiving nature. It’s brutal, bumpy and totally bonkers! Run off areas? Not a chance! Gravel traps? I dont think so! Just endless armco and trees!
Why We Were There
I wanted to bring the ultimate driving experience to the general public and this had to include the Nordschliefe. Being as our flagship car is the Radical SR3 RS, then it was only logical to bring on board Michael Vergers, the current lap record holder. Michael set the record in 2005 in the Radical SR8 and bettered it in 2009 in the Radical SR8 LM with a lap time of 6:48. The car was road legal, driven from Peterborough in the UK to the ring and the lap record, most importantly was done on the same road tyres it was driven to the track on giving it the prestige of being the fastest production sports car in the world. On putting together these two very unique components, initially I thought it would be a major success. However, just 5 days before departing, we had only sold one third of the available laps and were headed for losing a good chunk of cash for the event. This took a dramatic turn on the Monday before the race when Destination Nurburgring sent out the final itinerary email and gave us another mention. Sales picked up and everything started looking up. All we needed to do now was finish the event with the car intact!
Endless Armco and trees - a very unforgiving circuit.
Darren from Destination Nurburgring.
The event was organised by Darren Langveld at Destination Nurburgring. It was a private 2 day event giving us exclusive, unadulterated access to the Nordschliefe.With todays health and safety madness I think this took a lot of balls to organise and execute, and to take on something as big as the Nordschliefe which lets face it, aint gonna be cheap to rent for two days. I think its a “hats off” to Darren for taking the initiative and a job well done. It was organised and executed with finesse and generally all the drivers out on track were courteous to each other and got out of each others way. In fact, namely our way! so I have to thank them all for being observant and kind to us.
What Went Down On The Day
ur day started on track at 6am. Bleary eyed and a little zombiefied from the previous days journey, we went about setting up the event tent and prepping the car. The drivers briefing commenced at 7.45am and I was both encouraged and a little scared as to the number of first time Ringers on the day. The place was as always, teeming with amazing motors. Notably a Porsche Carrera GT, a Ferrari 599 GTO and some awesome dude with a Radical SR3 RS!
We sent out the first client at 9am and were instantly rewarded on their return with an emphatic reaction to the experience. As the hot laps continued throughout the day it was increasingly rewarding to see customers getting out of the car and struggling to describe such a mental experience. I took a 10 second glimpse at some of the on-board video footage and had to stop myself from watching anymore. My nerves simply couldn’t cope with it, seeing Michael quite literally driving the tits off my car. Whilst it did make me a little nervous, I was equally happy because we were charging clients good money for the lap, and delivering on every penny which was why I set up Unique Track Days in the first place.
Customers signing in for their hot laps & getting kitted up with safety gear.
On the Tuesday, the 2nd day, things hotted up. As we drove down the hill to the Nordschliefe car park entrance at 6.30am, I instantly recognised a Gumpert Apollo trailered on the side of the road. Eventually there were three of them in the car park and there was obviously something going down. With the arrival of Adrian Sutil, F1 driver it became clear there was some sort of marketing/PR thing happening with Gumpert. All of this became the talk of the Ring when Adrian stacked the Gumpert on the first bend out of the old pits and made a right old mess of the car. Amazingly they gave him a second car to go out in, and I was lucky enough to catch a glimpse of it wizzing past on the main straight sounding like a nuclear weapon had been detonated.
It’s beyond the scope of this blog to be able to portray just how special it is to be at the Ring on a private track day such as this. There is nothing else in the world like it and if you have never experienced the Nordschliefe before, I cannot recommend it enough. The atmosphere is incredible and the people who attend are nearly always happy to take you out for a lap in their chosen mean machine. The comradery and social aspect is like no other track event in the world.
Down To Business
So here is what you all want to see….. a lap with the magician himself, Michael Vergers in our very own Radical SR3 RS. Michael was animated as he explained that because we were running on slicks we were much faster through the corners and under breaking than his record attempt. I think the video speaks for itself.
Plans For The Future
Unique Track Days will return to the Ring with Michael to offer hot laps once again in conjunction with Destination Nurburgring. Due to the nature of the Nordschliefe, dates are not given that far in advance so if you would like to be kept up to date as soon as the next event is organised, please drop us a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will contact you as soon as a date is confirmed.
Next Event Dates
- For our next trackday dates, visit our main website for details: www.UniqueTrackDays.com