We often hear about the Nürburgring in press releases, articles and “crash compilations”. What we often do know, however, is precariously little – how it is unlike any other short-circuit track in the world; how elevation changes throughout the near 13-mile (21km) track are never caught on film or photograph; and how you simply cannot take liberties on the Nürburgring, which does not betray its hard-earned reputation of ‘The Green Hell’. It is best to approach the Nürburgring with he level of respect afforded to the most demanding circuit in the world.
On the day before when I arrived by motorway, the road offered flirtatious glances of some corners of the track. It was then that the size of the circuit really came into perspective – it is a strip of tarmac (decorated with many a vandal’s work) laid all over the scenic Eifel Mountain region.
Having had some glances of a worryingly complicated track, my friends and I gathered around my computer playing a clip of a Swift Sport lapping the Ring, and we watched it twice for good effect. But of course, if you are like my friend who had already raced the Nürburgring on Gran Turismo 5 more than a thousand times, then you may have less to fear.
You may think that it is silly to say a computer game can improve driving performance in real life. But riding as a passenger in my Gran Turismo 5-trained friend’s lap convinced me. He said it was ‘exactly the same’ and I would not dispute the way he drove, which far surpassed any of my determination and insanity to go faster. You learn the small nuggets of track information as you experience it yourself – and it is nearly guaranteed that you will always learn something new with every visit. If you have not been, I highly recommend a taste of the track – if only just once in your life – but a Swift Sport is more than sufficient, unless you know the track very well.
It gave me a sense of achievement having driven it, but at the same time I was wrought with sheer relief, having went to the Green Hell and back.
Story and photographs by James Wong. The full story was first published in Issue 33, grab a copy or download it here!