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From digest.v5.n100 Mon Aug 12 16:31:18 1996
From: Ryan & Jennifer McQueeney <>
Date: Mon, 12 Aug 1996 22:11:27 +-200
Subject: I'm back from the Nurburgring. <LONG>

Dear all,

As promised, I am writing back to describe my experience at the = Nurburgring this past weekend. I need to preface this by saying that I = am not the only digester who has done this. There are many of you out = there who have much more experience in both driving and the ring itself. = So anything I say from here on is IMHO. I also have to say that I have = never been to a stateside driving school, and I have only recently been = in a financial position to be an automobile enthusiast. My day at the = 'ring went like this:

You drive towards the town of Nurburg, about 50km west of Koblenz and = 50km south of Bonn. As you get close you see signs for the Nurburgring = and if you want to drive yourself you follow the signs to the = Nordschleife. (see for = more info). This is also were you want to go for the ringtaxi. You = pull up to the entrance to the Nordschleife and go in. There is a big = board here with the rules. There are only four translated into English:

  1. All motorcyclists must wear full protective clothing.
  2. All car passengers must wear seat belts.
  3. No temporary license plates.
  4. Vehicles noise level must not exceed ?? (can't remember) decibels.

That's it! After this you pull up the hill and wait in line while they = are selling the lap tickets. You just pull up like you are paying for a = drive in movie or something. One lap costs DM 16. This is about $12 = for 22km of all out 'racing'. I say racing, because this is definitely = not a driver's school. They put the cars and motorcycles onto the 'ring = as fast as they can take your DM 16. You go right from the lady with = the tickets into turn #1. No warm up. No safety briefing. No = orientation. No vehicle inspection. By the time you put your wallet = away you are in turn #2 with cold tires. This type of thing could never = happen in the states. The track would be sued daily. =20

Once again I must say that I am not a vastly experienced and school = trained driver, but I do drive enthusiastically on public roads when = possible. I was of the attitude that I would only drive as fast as I = felt comfortable, and within the limits of my car with stock suspension = and Dunlop SP 8000s. No boy racer syndrome here, nor do I care to = develop one. It took a few minutes to get the tires warmed up, and then = I started getting into it. But by the track was crowded, and in = addition to not having any warm up or orientation there are also no = flaggers, no signs, no readily available emergency vehicles, and no = rules about passing. They put motorcycles and cars together. Those = motorcyclists are insane. I quickly realized that the 2 wheelers were A = LOT faster than us 4 wheelers. It was very difficult to concentrate on = driving a good line, and at the same time stay out of the way of the = motorcycles who fly up behind you. They don't need a lot of room to get = by, but WOW do they move fast. I was also passed by a couple of Porches = and an M3 or two. Overall it was fun, exciting, and terrifying all at = once. Unfortunately, at kilometer 18 the fun part went away. =20

Coming over a hill and curving to the right I noticed debris on the = track. I immediately braked quite hard and managed to stop to be the = second person to arrive at the seen of a terrible motorcycle accident. = His bike was in pieces, and he was just laying there at the left edge of = the track without moving. The other guy who stopped was in a Shelby = Cobra type kit car with his wife and young daughter. He stopped right = behind the guy on the left side of the track (outside of the turn). I = pulled all the way into the grass on the right side. We both got out = and he told his wife to get the cellular phone. I wanted to go render = some first aid, but I knew that the people coming behind us could not = see over the hill. I grabbed my orange warning triangle (required in = Germany) and was about to run back over the hill to warn drivers of the = accident. Before I could get there a motorcycle (Honda CBR 900) came = over the hill under heavy acceleration after apexing the turn. He = didn't barely have a chance to slow down before plowing into the back of = the Cobra. The sound of the crunch still gives me chills. I was only = about 5m away. He flew about 30m in front of the car, and the little = girl in the car started screaming for her daddy. I managed to get the = rest of the drivers slowed down so someone could care for the two = injured people while waiting for the ambulance. It was twenty minutes = before a doctor came in an old station wagon. I mopped up an oil spill = with my T-shirt, picked up the motorcycle debris and then left with my = wife still in tears. =20

This was a very anti-climactic first track experience for me. I did = not take my second lap and still have a valid lap ticket. If anyone = wants it let me know. The moral of my story is that at the Nurburgring = your own responsibility may not keep you out of harms way. I suggest to = visit on a week day or another time when the track is less crowded. It = is a dangerous place and is without many control measures. If you want = to drive the 'ring it is cheap and easy to get on. Just be careful, and = know what you are getting into. =09

Once again, this is the experience of a relatively new enthusiast. = Don't bother to flame me about how I didn't know what I was doing and = how the 'ring is the best place in the world. For uninhibited = automobile enthusiasm it probably is the best place you could go, just = be careful.

LT Ryan McQueeney
82nd Engineer Battalion
Bamberg, Germany
'92 VW Corrado VR6
'97 328i cosmos black on black, spt pkg, asc&t, MB Quart speakers (All = on order, the anticipation is killing me!!!)

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