It’s no surprise that the Green Hell Driving Days have once again delivered some of the most memorable moments of 2016: most of them good.
Three days of tourist driving all stuck together; Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It pulls in Nürburgring fans from all over the world. Though the first day started a little bit dark…
We did eventually get on track by 0845, and it all went pretty well. In a curious echo of the Korean scooter guy, I had the honour of driving this Korean couple in the RingTaxi BMW M3:
They’d ridden here two-up on a Suzuki Vstrom 650:
Not only that, but they’d even gone the arctic circle route, cutting diagonally across Russia and then crossing into Norway near the North Cape!
While I worked through the list of RingTaxi laps, this McLaren set the internet on fire…
It’s a road-legal build of the epic McLaren P1 GTR, the first prototype of only 5 planned units. The price? Three million English pounds. While Brexit might hit the pound value a little, I still doubt I’d ever be able to afford one of these… respect to the owner for bringing it to the Nordschleife on one of the busiest weekends of the year!
But I have to admit, that on track, it was remarkably relaxed. No dramas, no queues (despite my predictions and tongue-in-cheek Facebook event). This Saxo nearly left on a Bongard truck though:
The next day (Saturday) was quite a bit wetter… but despite the fog, the track remained open for a large part of the day. I personally believe that the weather dampened more than just the track:
When it dried up a bit near the end, we even met the P1 on track a couple of times:
All internet rumours of Kenny Brack setting a laptime need to be thrown in the bin though. The driver was having fun, but he certainly didn’t look confident in his Nürburgring lines or traffic-handling…
Finally, Sunday rolled around and it was everything we hoped for, feared and expected. It started on time, thanks to the clocks changing and that extra hour we had in bed!
It was amazing to see so many BTG jackets in one place. I don’t think we had this many at the Nürburgring 24-hour! That’s the French Ring Family, if you were wondering!
The carpark was chilly, but packed. And on track it only got busier and busier:
The conditions looked spectacular, but with every closure the cool track would attract condensation and the shadowy areas would magically become wet again! And some of the driving was questionable, to say the least…
Here it is from outside the car:
Note the lack of ABS and the presumption that in the middle of a complex section, the other car will stay right.
With absolutely no chance of setting a laptime, it always amazes me how hard some people push in such a crazy busy public session. Here’s another guy who could use some work on his patience:
It wasn’t all bad though, we had some awesome laps in the taxi. Lots of overtaking, and plenty of being overtaken too:
But as the afternoon began, there were up to THREE full traffic jams on the Nordschleife. The last time I saw something that bad, it was Kar Freitag.
On the far right you can see the queue to get ON to the track, and we’re standing in the queue to get OFF it.
Before we left for the day, I had one last chance to check out that McLaren:
On the way back to the RingTaxi shop, we had a good look at the queues around the circuit too:
The Green Hell Days are exactly what you’d expect, and as long as you start the weekend with your eyes wide open, you’ll have an awesome time.
Those of you chasing laptimes, pushing hard through the traffic with Harry sucker-mounted in your windscreen (you know who you are), you should probably find another weekend to get your Bongard Club membership.