The proximity of two of the world’s greatest racing tracks, Spa Francorchamps and the Nürburgring, is a constant source of woe for my friends on social media. Because just when you’re convinced that life doesn’t get any better than living and working at the Nürburgring, you remember that Spa is just over 60-minutes away.
An opportunity to help one lucky customer experience all the majesty of an exclusive Spa Trackday meant that I found myself piloting the RingGarage Porsche Cayman S road-legal VLN racer over to our Balmoral hotel for a night of cocktails and some much-needed beauty sleep.
Pssst! Do you want to drive Spa next Thursday Oct 15th? Get in touch! Cars and places available.
Arrival at the pitlane of the Trackdays.de event revealed a very small number of very high-end cars, as you’d expect for the €699 (+€149 for a second driver) price tag!
Without the fear of door-banging antics with “cheap” cars (my own E30 probably being their worst nightmare) these exclusive events are characterised not by being faster or slower than an average trackday, but simply by being more relaxed.
Even in the unlikely event of every single car entering the track at once, it wouldn’t feel busy at all. Where the biggest/cheapest events at Spa can often see over 60 cars sharing a 7km lap at any one time, here we were unlucky to see more than a couple of cars per lap. Not that the drivers there didn’t do many laps. some of the cars were lapping hard pretty much all day:
Our coaching went really well, with my student progressing quickly from the overtaken to the overtaker. Over the course of our time together, I was lucky enough to take the wheel of the little Cayman myself a couple of times. Mostly to set a baseline for the datalogger, but also to show some over-the-limit stuff.
If the GT3s I normally drive are finely developed swords, then the Cayman is like a perfectly weighted dagger or stilletto. Smaller, easier to handle at first, but no less deadly. With the PDK gearbox, every shift is perfect, it’s impossible to mis-shift and the acceleration is seamless.
KW Competition suspension and racing geometry does mean a basic level of racecar competence is necessary though! The fact that this Porsche normally hits the racetrack with a full set of slicks, and that today’s event necessitated street-tyres (trackdays.de event being for road-legal cars on road legal tyres, remember?) ensure that the handling of the Cayman could best be described as ‘lively’ when on the edge…
So after we deconstructed the differences between the client’s driving and my own, using the datalogger as well as the more obvious observations, we had some time to check out the ‘opposition’ while our tyres cooled back down to their solid state.
This cosmetically-upgraded Porsche 911 996 Turbo had to be star of the event for me, even when compared to superior and more expensive machinery. And the presence of that CAE quick shifter just dominates the cockpit. A real trackday warrior, even if it would never make a racing car!
After what felt like very little time at all, our day together was over. And I had to go home. To the Nürburgring. Just over 60 minutes away… sorry.