Written by Philip Strong

I left Brisbane knowing I had organised a chance in a life-time, while I drove through Germany to Switzerland !!!

It only dawned on me after I had paid for our flight tickets and a major part of the planning had been put in place. I woke up one day, thinking that I will be travelling between Amsterdam and Switzerland. My first question was – “ Where is the Nurburgring??”

The answer was astonishing! Answer: You drive only a few k west of the town.

Could I stay overnight? Modest accommodation found in Welcherath, just outside of Nurburg.

Firstly some facts. – Location Eifel Mountains, Nürburg, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany.
Nick-named “The Green Hell” by the legendary Jackie Stewart.
Length: 22.8 klms or 14 .17 miles.

The general public can hire a lap! In fact the lap is only 20.8 klm or 12.9 miles. This is due to a toll plaza with boom gates to control entry access. It is still an enormous circuit, even though you don’t get to enter the F1 part of the circuit. In my humble opinion the sections of the track are all longer than all of the full lap distances of all of the circuits in Australia.

My appetite was increasing.

We were hiring a car from Cologne. A smarter move is not to take your hire car on the track. Some have and this was found to be very unwise. My final decision was to hire a track car from a dedicated drive-hire-experience company on track. Car selection was delirious, the end of scale was a McLaren F1. My bank account was unable to breath on that figure!! Several wheezes later, I decided on a more sensible selection. I chose a Renault Clio 2000 RS Turbo RHD, since I had never set foot on a square inch of the tarmac before my reality check was, “you can’t even take this to it’s full potential!!!”

Very sensible ol’ chap !!

I finally arrived in the late afternoon, after driving a LHD Toyota something, all day and after the obligatory driver’s briefing I jumped into the RHD Clio. Tough call but at least I was still going to be quicker using my left hand on the gear stick!!!

I also opted for a Go Pro recording, very wise, and I was thrown some keys and a helmet and sent outside. I found my chariot. Warmed her up and set off down the back road looking for the roundabout entry. On my way downhill I recalled;

Rule 1 !! If you have never been on such a grand track you will NOT set any record except huge volumes of embarrassment if you stuff it up !!!
Rule 2 !! There are lots of high performance cars in the Toll Plaza. There are a lot of people milling about taking a breather. All of them would have done a few more laps than you!!
Rule 3 !! Make sure you come back in 1 piece.
Rule 4 !! You won’t remember a thing after the first lap. Except where the pranged up Lotus was !!!

Sudden Recall of the driver’s briefing; - The Armco will cost you 1,000’s of Euro for only 1 section. You prang your car that will also cost 1,000’s of Euro. Hit someone else’s car that will really get you on the first name basis with your bank manager!!!

Suddenly, you notice your underwear is reducing in size…. Oh!!, that was because a certain sphincter had suddenly grabbed 60% of the fabric ……. Question ?????? Why did you do this?

Reality check over, my mind spun around and said “ Toughen up Princess!” - This is the Nurburg – “RING” – pulling your knickers back down I scanned the ticket at the toll booth and swallowed hard as the barrier swings up and I nudge the throttle to move on !!!

It was a long 30 minutes by the time I finished my second lap. I was very happy to be driving past that roundabout and back to the shed. That was exhilarating! Don’t think you can attempt more!! In your first effort, unless you have F1 stamina and skills of Fangio. I can’t remember much else in between, but thank God I had the Go Pro.

Later that evening, we even enjoyed dinner at the Pistenklause Restaurant, a mega meet up for all race types full of memorabilia and signatures across the walls.

Does it make your Bucket List?? It certainly made mine!!!

Phil Strong