ransom
ransom New Reader
3/15/11 3:38 p.m.

Just wondering whether anybody here has had an opportunity to go and rent a car, and who they used?

I'm about to book a Suzuki Swift through rent4ring.de... I was looking at RSR Nurburg, but they appear to have gotten one of many short straws with all the shakeup going on there right now, and appear to be focusing on Spa Francorchamps this year. (Their Lotus School looks awesome, but was already really stretching violently at the distant end of the budget before it seemed to take a Nordschleife hiatus).

In the end, it looked like it was going to close in on $3k to do a trackday with instruction, and I decided to just relax, not double the cost of my vacation, and spend an afternoon enjoying the Nordschleife, and put the savings towards the garage project/2002 project/local driving instruction.

But... If anybody has been and has an opinion about how best to enjoy the trip, I'm all ears! (hrm, none of these emoticons are all ears...)

captainzib
captainzib HalfDork
3/15/11 3:40 p.m.

I rented a Toyota Auris through Avis. The car smelled like burning after 2 laps.

Pics and whatnot.

http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/off-topic-discussion/so-i-did-a-lap-at-the-nurburgring/27270/page1/

ransom
ransom New Reader
3/15/11 3:51 p.m.

In reply to captainzib:

I saw your thread. I'm pretty apprehensive about taking a "normal" rental to the ring.

I'm tempted to say that I'm way more worried about getting called out by the rental agency than about cooking the brakes, but my one trip to a racetrack with my (late, lamented) E30 showed just how quick you can cook 'em without speed limits, innocent bystanders, etc...

How did you find the pacing of doing laps? I figure I'll be dog-slow to start, and then I'll probably follow that with being dog-slow, but the waiting between runs will still be the majority of my time... The schedule I'm looking at gives me six lap tickets and six hours to do them... Seems like that should be plenty of mental cool-off. How long did you end up sitting in line between runs?

captainzib
captainzib HalfDork
3/15/11 4:28 p.m.

If you're doing a tourist lap, then the Ring is just another toll road. If they say anything, just say you were on the autobahn and some tourist cut you off, and you had to go from 120 mph to 50 mph quickfast.

I only did one lap, a buddy of mine did the second right after mine. There wasn't more than 5 minutes of rest between the two laps.

I dunno how much track experience you have. I only had a couple autoxes and a few drag races, so nothing really that could prepare me for the ring. I took it pretty slow. Not too long after I started my lap, I saw an E36 crumpled up by a barrier, and I didn't want to do the same.

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
3/15/11 5:04 p.m.

I'd definitely go the rental racer route. I've heard too many horror stories about people getting insane charges on their airport rental cars when they turn them in.

If I had any advice, it would be to not skimp. Take the extra lap, the extra ride, the extra time, whatever. After a few months, you'll never miss the extra couple hundred bucks you may have spent, but you'll regret not doing it forever should you never get back to Germany.

I'd also recommend taking a few rides first. Many folks are more than willing to take a passenger, especially if you offer to cover some of the cost of the lap. It's a great way to see the track before you head out on your own. Those first couple laps by yourself can be intimidating, just because.

Germany is cool. It's very western, so in a lot of ways it's like going to Orlando, except everyone speaks German and just outside of town is a thousand year old castle. Their English is probably way better than most of our German, so the language isn't much of a barrier, either. My advice is to just be local. Get a cap and a GPS and just drive around. Stop in a small village and eat, or just walk around. Personally, I love the mundane side of travel. I love seeing what grocery stores look like in other countries. But that's just me.

Oh, and if you're into that sort of thing, there's an amazing parrot sanctuary about an hour from Frankfurt, which is really weird for some reason.

jg

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
3/15/11 5:05 p.m.

Oh,and this site is incredibly helpful:

http://www.nurburgring.org.uk/

jg

killerkane
killerkane Reader
3/15/11 5:32 p.m.

Is there any agency that allows drivers under 21 to rent a car for the Ring?

oobert
oobert New Reader
3/15/11 5:50 p.m.

My roommate and I took a rental BMW 318 there on our study abroad. We used Sixt rental agency, and did 2 laps each. Quite an amazing experience.

Jay
Jay SuperDork
3/15/11 6:19 p.m.

I've heard(+) stories about the local rental companies having agents monitor the 'Ring and its parking areas to see if people are sneaking laps in their cars... Penalties range from getting hosed on "wear and tear expenses" and extra fees to getting banned for life as a customer by that rental company. Seriously, 99% of them will stick a clause in the contract that bars you from driving it on the 'Ring (or a "de-restricted toll road" of which the 'Ring is the only one.) Also you have no insurance if you stuff it up. I would seriously use one of the aforementioned rent-a-racecar places.

((+) internet hearsay obviously is completely true at all times!)

ransom
ransom New Reader
3/15/11 6:30 p.m.

Between the potential for repercussions of crossing rental agencies, and the difference between an average rental car and one on semi-sticky tires, buttoned-down suspension (not to mention cage and harness), I'm totally renting a proper 'ring car.

I wish they hadn't banned driver instruction during Touristfahrten sessions. I hadn't thought of just asking around for a passenger spot; that's a great idea. I'd be happy to pay for someone's lap for that kind of guided tour, but I'm not particularly gregarious (and positively mute in German), so I guess I'll just have to see what the Nordschleife parking lot vibe is like...

And yes, I've been spending a lot of time on http://www.nurburgring.org.uk/ It's pretty great.

I know it won't tell me a damn thing about how to drive it, but I'm also pleased that driving the Nordschleife in GT5 seems to be helping with learning where the track goes. When I watch other people's laps on youtube, I more and more know what's coming up... I set up a Swift with springs and sticky tires just for giggles, since that's what rent4ring.de has...

ransom
ransom Reader
3/15/11 6:37 p.m.
JG Pasterjak wrote: Germany is cool. It's very western, so in a lot of ways it's like going to Orlando, except everyone speaks German and just outside of town is a thousand year old castle. Their English is probably way better than most of our German, so the language isn't much of a barrier, either.

I think I'm spoiled for English in other countries by visiting Sweden. Everybody there speaks better English than we do. Everybody. Then again, I had a great time in Japan, where almost nobody spoke English.

My advice is to just be local. Get a cap and a GPS and just drive around. Stop in a small village and eat, or just walk around. Personally, I love the mundane side of travel. I love seeing what grocery stores look like in other countries. But that's just me.

Totally! At the risk of taking the thread towards Off-Topic, I always like to see what it's like to be me someplace, rather than a tourist. If I lived there, where would I get coffee or a beer...

I have to ask, what do you mean by "cap" in this context?

Oh, and if you're into that sort of thing, there's an amazing parrot sanctuary about an hour from Frankfurt, which is really weird for some reason. jg

I'm not a particular parrot nut (or parrothead, for that matter), but I have to say that's intriguing. I had no idea you'd find parrots anywhere near Frankfurt...

dj06482
dj06482 Reader
3/15/11 8:52 p.m.

Here's all you need to know:

http://www.motoiq.com/magazine_articles/articletype/articleview/articleid/1534/technobabble--a-practical-guide-to-the-nurburgring.aspx

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
3/15/11 10:17 p.m.

In reply to ransom:

Germany is just as easy. If they don't know English, they'll just keep on doing what there were doing and carrying out the transaction. The American method of "wave arms and talk loud" doesn't fly. It's actually easier to communicate with someone when they act in a predictable fashion, even though you don't speak the same language. Think about it: You buy a coffee at the 7-11. How many words need to be exchanged. Be ready with enough money, smile, and everybody will get it.

And, yeah, that's my exact travel philosophy. Of course, when I travel international, it's always for work. So my free time is usually because I've structured my flights to get an extra day at the beginning or end of the program, so It's not like I'm settling into a B&B for a week. I kind of have to stay local. One of the coolest memories I have of Denmark was the Danish version of a Lowes, which was in a mall. It was their meat and potatoes hardware and home furnishings, but it looked like an IKEA’s slightly more butch cousin.

A cap is a car that I have spelled incorrectly. You can get either, though.

And, yeah, the Vogelburg Hochtaunus parrot refuge is in the middle of the forest outside of Frankfurt. Totally nuts. Hundreds of rescue and rehomed birds housed in a facility that apparently was originally (and has been expanded realistically) a 14th or 15th century castle type deal. Each flight has indoor and outdoor areas where the birds cam move freely,and many aviaries are full of mixed breeds who comingle, provided they get along. Certainly on my list again if I go back.

jg

ShadowSix
ShadowSix New Reader
3/15/11 10:30 p.m.

http://www.rent-racecar.de/english/prices/index.html

I was stationed 90 mins. from the ring from 2005 - 2009, this was the best rental place I found, I used them several times. They take you on an orientation lap for free. Rent the Swift, it is handles and shifts really well, but is slow enough that you can go all out and not die. If you've got any skills at all you'll find yourself passing Ferrari's and Lambo's left and right. Experience of a lifetime.

Luke
Luke SuperDork
3/16/11 6:23 a.m.
JG Pasterjak wrote: A cap is a car that I have spelled incorrectly. You can get either, though. jg

Hah! I was thinking:

Jay
Jay SuperDork
3/16/11 6:51 a.m.

When are you going exactly? I'm going to be holidaying around a bit in mid~late April and the 'Ring is on my hitlist of places to go.

ransom
ransom Reader
3/16/11 9:01 a.m.

In reply to Jay:

I'm going in mid-July. Fingers crossed for nice weather... By that time it's usually dry and sunny even here in the Pacific Northwest

I suppose the downside is that it's gotta be the top of the busy season...

ShadowSix
ShadowSix Reader
3/16/11 10:45 p.m.

IIRC July is a fairly rainy time of year in that part of Germany. The track stays open during rainstorms though and it can be a really fun time to be out because most of the motorcycle guys and the gold chain set hit the cafe when it gets wet.

dpspeed
dpspeed New Reader
3/17/11 6:20 a.m.
ShadowSix wrote: http://www.rent-racecar.de/english/prices/index.html I was stationed 90 mins. from the ring from 2005 - 2009, this was the best rental place I found, I used them several times. They take you on an orientation lap for free. Rent the Swift, it is handles and shifts really well, but is slow enough that you can go all out and not die. If you've got any skills at all you'll find yourself passing Ferrari's and Lambo's left and right. Experience of a lifetime.

I've seen these guys reviewed on bimmerforums.com. You might do a search there, they seem to be the best value and have range from Swift to Porsche.

VERY jealous.

chuckles
chuckles Reader
3/17/11 8:03 a.m.
ransom wrote: I always like to see what it's like to be *me* someplace, rather than a tourist.

"A traveler sees what is there to be seen. A tourist sees what he came to see."

I forget who said that. Anyway, you'd be a traveler.

Slyp_Dawg
Slyp_Dawg HalfDork
3/17/11 8:33 a.m.

very(infinity) jealous. I would LOVE to get my Mini out on the 'ring, once I get spare pads and rotors to swap onto it in the parkinglot after a few tourist laps oh, and a 17% underdrive pully on the supercharger, a good CAI, a bigger rear bar, better struts, and non-runflats. and I need to make friends with a guy with a cargo plane and do a big favor for him so I can cash in that favor to get myself to and from the UK (because if you're going to drive the 'ring, you have to at least try to visit TGUK on your way back, and the best way to do that is to drive

Treb
Treb Reader
3/17/11 9:51 a.m.

sorry for the threadjack...

Ransom, what is your profile picture from? It's familiar but I can't quite place it.

It actually popped up in a movie I watched last night, and then this morning I saw it here. From the movie context, I'm guessing 80s synth pop band of some sort, but could be wrong.

Matt

ransom
ransom Reader
3/17/11 10:54 a.m.

In reply to Treb:

It's artwork from Devo's "Duty Now For The Future" album.

Nice timing; I saw Devo live last night! What are the odds of that?

Not to derail my own plea for Nordschleife info, but now I'm curious. What movie?

Treb
Treb Reader
3/17/11 11:24 a.m.

That's a pretty good bunch of coincidences.

The movie? A french romantic comedy called "I Do." Guy fakes an engagement to please his mother, then falls in love with the make-believe fiancee. There's a flashback to the male lead's teen years -- big Robert Smith hair, pleather pants, bed covered in cassettes, this album. If it were a better movie, he would be listening to Devo, but it's "Boys Don't Cry" on the soundtrack.

Could we get any further from the Norschleife? I'm not sure...

For awesome euro car content, the same character in the present drives a mid-60s Peugeot 404 -- grey-blue with red leather. Very pretty (though probably pretty useless on the Ring.)

Matt

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