Armitage Dork
9/24/19 1:44 p.m.

Just got home late last night from Germany. Since I was visiting for the first time ever, I had to make a detour to visit the Nordschleife. I'm glad I did because it was an amazing experience. I went on a Thursday night for the Touristenfarten laps, along with it must have been a couple hundred other people. It was kind of a madhouse right at opening time. Once all the cars poured out of the parking areas and onto the track things sort had a flow to them. Cars would come off the track, cars would go out. You'd see a different set of cars go by each time you looked up, everything from basic commuter sub-compacts to supercars. It felt like half car show, half track event and had a super chill vibe. I can't believe you can just roll up, pay your 25 euros for a lap, and go out onto the track. No inspection, no waivers, no helmets required. I simply can't imagine that here at home.

Anyway the laps. I got my card and prepaid for 4 laps. I had rented an e36 (non M) race car for 5 laps and an instructor for the first. We went out and he helped me identify braking zones, turn in points, and called out the turns like a rally co-driver which was super helpful. I had previously practiced the track in Project CARS a bunch so that helped a lot also. Still, I took it pretty easy and the car wasn't particularly powerful but it was nerve racking and awesome. The closing speeds of some of the faster cars is insane. I tried to stay out of the way but I also got to overtake a bunch and I didn't crash, so that's nice too. I got faster and faster up until the 4th lap when there were two wrecks and yellow flags out. After that, they shut down the track for the night a few minutes early so I never got to do a 5th.

There are a bunch of rental outfits, but I shopped around and chose these guys: Great operation, can't recommend them enough. You show up about an hour early and they get you signed in, do a 30 minute safety briefing and get you familiar with your particular car, and send you on your way. You get in-car video after the fact and they offer insurance, instruction, and a variety of cars to suit your needs with roll cages, race seats, 6 point belts, and helmets.

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