The Nürburgring Nordschleife has officially re-opened, and May’s touristenfahrten (public driving) dates have been officially confirmed (see bottom of page).
But we are living in a post-coronavirus world, and as you might have guessed, there are some SERIOUS changes. I wrote about my first weekend of ‘post-rona’ lapping on Road&Track magazine last week. But here’s the short version of what you need to know: Continue reading Nürburgring re-opens, but not without these changes…
It’s with a heavy heart I’ve finally relented to the crushing realities of SARS-CoV-2 and am updating the BTG blog accordingly. As a self-employed motorsports guy with 3 dependents, I have a very practical stake in the health of both the Nürburgring Nordschleife and its famous Touristenfahrten sessions. I have been dreading this post. But it’s time to face facts…
What’s right and what’s fun are rarely connected in life, in my opinion. If you disagree, you probably think the only way to enjoy the Nordschleife is from the driver’s seat of a fettled Cayman GT4, or Megane RS. You know, something specifically designed 100% to be used in the way you’re about to use it.
If you didn’t notice over the last 13 years of this blog, that’s NOT me. I’m not taking anything away from the sheer joy of piloting a purpose-built E92 M3 RingTool around the world’s greatest circuit; I’m just saying it’s not the only way to have fun here. Continue reading Big fast SUVs on the ‘Ring… an ongoing theme?
Well, it had to happen eventually, didn’t it? I’ve finally got around to doing a new YouTube from the Nuerburgring Nordschleife. The first officially-licensed video since I was lucky enough to wallop around the old circuit in a full size American Stockcar in 2017!
The world is full of difficult and complicated problems, but the general public wants only to understand the simplest of answers. That might not be a problem for the latest breed of politicians, but for measuring Nürburgring laptimes it’s a bit of a pain.
Earlier this year the 2019 Megane RS Trophy-R officially set a laptime of 7m45.39s, beating the previous FWD record holder, the Honda Civic Type-R. The Honda did a 7m43.80s back in 2017.
This month I whooped with joy as the Jaguar Project 8 crossed the finish line at T13 to complete a 7m23.16s lap, beating the 7m21s laptime from 2017.
Obviously this makes no sense at face-value, and in a world where everybody reads a headline on facebook, but less than 5% actually click the link, you can almost forgive the manufacturers for massaging these confusing numbers back to some form of logical progression. But that’s wrong. And BTG is here to call it out.
Firstly, let me say that I’m thrilled to see the first lap record laps of 2019 beginning to land. Secondly, that the new Renaultsport Trophy-R looks incredible in this video. But I do feel the need to ‘set the scene’ a little bit, maybe give you BTG readers a little background information before we all go crazy with anticipation.
Oh bugger it, here’s the video. Complicated technical stuff can wait 7m40s can’t it?
So maybe the only thing more surprising than the final lap time, is the fact that it was set on Bridgestones! And they are STICKY… If the datalogger is to be believed, the Trophy-R is pulling a solid 1.5 G around the corners. That’s like a set of off-the-shelf slicks fitted to a well setup VLN race car! I don’t know which exact model of Bridgestone that they are, but I want to try some! Be happy! The laptime battles being waged by manufacturers to sell special cars are producing some of the stickiest road-legal rubber ever to be sold.
Combined with the 2019 Nordschleife circuit improvements, laptimes are doomed to fall throughout this year,
Next, let me quote the official video captions:
Aha, yes, at last. After nearly 30 years of letting manufacturers do WTF they ever want to, the circuit owners are finally (for a modest fee) policing, controlling and interacting with the new lap record clams. The first thing they’ve done is dispense with the confusing-but-normal-for-30-years industry laptime. The standard laptime has always been the SportAuto lap distance, from the end of T13 straight back to the start. This was simply a matter of logistics. Back in those days the T13 straight housed the TF ticket barrier, and in industry pool to this day, it’s coned off and limited to 50kmh.
Now Nürburgring are controlling the laptime records, they’ve quite sensibly took the view that it should be set on the entire 20,832m Nordschleife. So that’s your 5 seconds. In case you were wondering.
So the tyres just got faster, the circuit too, but the track also got “longer”.
Confused? Don’t worry. The majority of YouTube commenters on my channel can’t even appreciate that a 1.6km BTG time is 20-25 seconds faster than a full laptime either. That’s exactly why Renaultsport still ignored the new “standard” and used 7m40s in the headline.
As previously reported on the BTG facebook page, the Nürburgring has just recently completed a €4million overhaul to the 92-year-old Nordschleife. Continue reading Nürburgring Nordschleife gets even faster: those 2019 track improvements in detail
Another day, another record at the Nürburgring Nordschleife. This time it’s Manthey Racing, acting together with their 51% owners Porsche. Continue reading Manthey-equipped GT2RS claims new street-legal Nürburgring record at 6m40s
Three posts in three days, all about the same subject. Yep, the hot topic at the ‘Ring is still that drift lap of the Nordschleife. After my last two posts I hope that my own position is simply understood:
- I love the execution, commitment and style of Vaughn Gittin Jnr’s project. The machinery, the driving, the creative talent… it’s all next level.
- But saying it’s the first ever full ‘drift lap’ of the ‘Ring on the basis of a 2-minute short video left me cold. Especially when I know so many great drifters who’ve had a crack at it decades before, just without the support or machinery or PR juggernaut available to VGJ (Vaughn Gittin Jnr).
So with that in mind, I’m delighted to tell you that VGJ himself reached out to me last night, and we had a few words…