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Touristenfahrt

Making TF on the Nürburgring Nordschleife safer...#1

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I'm sure this is a topic that some people would rather not talk about, but I'm going to try anyway. In the past few weeks various incidents have been hitting the headlines, blogs, forums and social media. I'm not going to give them airtime here, but to understand why I'm making these suggestions (and asking for yours), let's just say they were serious and leave it at that."

Today I'm going to cover just one of the problems (as I see it).

#1 Knowledge and preconceptions.

"To be forewarned is to be forearmed," said somebody famous. My feeling is that many people are arriving at the Nürburgring Nordschleife right now with the wrong ideas and concepts in their brain. In the age of Google and Wikipedia it's almost unimaginable that folks don't research the topic, but look at just one fact:

  • People arrive at the Nordschleife entrance ALL DAY EVERY DAY and all ask the same question; "Why isn't it open?"

They haven't even checked the opening times, so why on Earth should we think they've read the rules? We cannot depend on a rule board hidden behind a ticket office. The actual barriers that sit in front of your windscreen have explicit instructions to keep right and overtake only on the left - and yet that concept seems to elude about 50% of visitors.

These same people, the ones who can't or won't type 'Nürburgring opening times' into Google before flying/driving for hours/days, the guys who walk past the rules board and important notices, the ones who just want to stick a ticket in a slot and drive 'flat out' - they need to be ENGAGED. They need a human being to stop them and say something.

Currently the only human being to speak to these guys is the guy who sells them a lap ticket (and that's only if they don't use the new automated ticket machine!). The conversation is terse and barren. It involves such things as "Visa, cash, how much"? Quite often the customer will to try and engage the sales person for hints or advice, but when one employee has to sell tickets to 5000 people for 8-hours it's not surprising that there's currently no real help. One guy. Selling tickets for a busy Sunday with literally thousands of drivers waiting. He can't talk about the track, he can't explain the dozens of rules. He has to take the money and give the ticket. The customer pays €24, receives no briefing and comes to just one conclusion:

"This must be easy."

Seriously, I spoke to the survivor of one of those serious incidents. Those were his words.

A rolling safety video used to be on display outside the ticket office for quite a while, but it's mounted in a box about 6-feet from the noisy cars queuing for the barriers, and it's not really eye-catching for the man in a ticket queue. AND the new Nürburgring management have taken over half the airtime and put a load of boring adverts on it for things like RingºWerk and Formula 1, so it's practically worthless now.

Here are my two ideas;

I'm not going to be ambitious here, they're not ground-breaking. There are lots more suggestions that I know will just not happen (new video briefing, printed guides being handed out with tickets etc...). I'm going to concentrate on just TWO things to prevent another Clio (one for the 'Ring management, the other I will take care of).

1) If the guy selling you a Big Mac can always ask you; "Would you like to supersize that, sir?" then I think the guy selling you a €24 ticket can always ask you "First time here? Have you read the Rules behind you, sir?". I'll leave that one with you, Nürburgring...

2) Every day, 15 minutes before the track opens for touristenfahrt I make a briefing. It's part of my job here at Rent4Ring. It's for first timers and explains all the rules, guidelines and stuff that us regulars take for granted. It takes only 10 minutes. Ralph, Fredy and me would like to open this up to everybody. We're easy to find too; Burgstraße 1in Nürburg village. We're 800mtrs from the track entrance on the main road through the village. Just look for the Rent4Ring flags and the brightly coloured Swifts. By the very fact you're reading this blog you probably don't really need it - but PLEASE inform other visitors you meet or know about this offer. It's open from today, right now.

TL;DR
1) I think the guy at the office should ask if you've been here before and tell there is a rule board over there.
2) Tell your friends, the Rent4Ring safety briefing is now open to all nurburgring visitors, no catches, just show up 15 minutes before the published opening hours for a free briefing

If you have any thoughts or comments, just comment.

Comments   

 
#11 Dino Lazarides 2011-09-12 09:28
Great idea Dale :)
 
 
#12 sahajesh 2011-09-23 19:26
Did my first TF yesterday, it was great fun (although I was slightly nervous!) - read the rules, stuck to the right unless it was clear behind me, at which point I followed the racing line, also indicated right when I could see traffic behind so the guys knew I had seen them.

I can't wait to go again but will stick with weekday evenings for a while, for mine and other's safety.
 
 
#13 sahajesh 2011-09-23 19:27
Sorry meant to add that a rule card with the tickets is a great idea - I'd happily attend a safety briefing too.
 
   

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