Must Do Nurburgring
Ask any car enthusiast, and they’re sure to harbor a secret desire for an automotive adventure: Even for folks as well-traveled as the MotorWeek staff, there are a few things left on our automotive “bucket lists,” but this time we’ve conquered one of those Motoring Must-Do’s..!
It is arguably the most spectacular, most difficult and most revered race track in the world.
SOT: Over the bridge and up again; it’s hairy alright.
It's 12.9 miles of blind hill crests, off-camber turns and flat-out straights are so devilish to master that racing legend Jackie Stewart dubbed it “The Green Hell.”
SOT: One of the hardest things about Nurburgring is the constantly changing light as the cross twists and turns, in and out of the high trees, the driver’s eyes get a constant battering.
It can take years to memorize and it has been the subject of countless video racing games, car commercials and youtube clips. Germany’s Nurburgring Nordschliefe is the one track every aspiring racer needs to try at least once in their life.
And amazingly, you can! It’s open to the public most days, where a few Euros can buy the ultimate run-what-you-brung track adventure.
SOT: Then about 2 kilometers of bumpy fast road, then to the two right hander’s leading up to the carousel.
Many performance car makers have test centers based nearby, and development work continues nearly year-round to dial in steering, ride and handling characteristics. Spy photographers like Brenda Priddy make a living stalking Nurburgring’s 154 corners to catch prototypes flashing by.
Of course, lapping the ‘Ring is best done in a proper sports car, and our latest chance came at the wheel of Jaguar’s new hot rod, the XKR-S.
Our nine-minute laps were well off the Track record, but fast enough to get our hearts racing. One well-known car guy and ‘Ring rookie joined our group and came away equally impressed:
JAY LENO: Oh, it’s one of the greatest days of my life, you know; I live geographically, about as far away from this place as you can get. So you see pictures in magazines, you get on the Playstation game, but you never get the sense of what it’s really really like. And it really lets you bond with the automobile. You know, these cars – there’s really no place in the civilized world you can drive them other than the race track and get that full effect. So, to be in a place that’s safe, and fast; it’s pretty amazing.
SOT: It’s as bumpy as hell.
No matter what drives your automotive fantasies: A destination, a certain car, a particular road, race, rally or even a fantasy trip back in time, the automotive world is full of wonders like the Nurburgring, waiting to be discovered. And with a little imagination, they can be as close as your right foot…