The Long Goodbye: My 700 Mile Road Trip to Drive the Nurburgring

Matej

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Some of us used to work in the same team of writers, so big hello to everyone out there, and Kyle, good luck with your future job. This article inspired me to dug up an old Evo magazine this morning and read article about two Croatian chaps who took a trip to Zakspeed Formula school at Nurburgring for track day sessions. Such a wonderful track.
 

MatskiMonk

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Not so Great Britain
source.gif
 

AOS-

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I may have missed it, but you’re not leaving the site entirely, are you?

Technically doesn't have to leave the forum, but definitely won't be a contributing writer though.
 

Wolfe

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Wolfe2x7
The guys at the shop don’t want me leaving Nürburg empty-handed. They’ve got a friend that runs another, smaller shop that could help, but can’t get him on the phone. “Head past the track gate into town,” they tell me, “look for EVN Rentals, and ask for Frank.”
The subject of where I’m staying comes up. “I didn’t plan that far,” I tell Frank, figuring I’d search the nearby towns. He has a better idea, taking me next door to the Lindenhof. The family-owned restaurant has a handful of rooms available. Frank introduces me to the Grübers and next thing I know I’ve got a key.
Echoes of my own experience in Germany. :) What a warm and welcoming culture.

This story is also similar enough to my own experience of the Nürburgring. Almost no plan, getting on the track by luck, and having time for two laps...and realizing the roads surrounding the track are a treat themselves. :cheers:
 

SlipZtrEm

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SlipZtrEm
Warning, incoming long post! Just so that I don't keep repeating myself: to each and every one of you, thank you again. And sorry this took a while to respond to! :)

Jeez Slip that's a great write up and a big shock at the end! Thanks so much for all you contributions, they have all been a great read. Good luck in your new endeavours.

That was sort of the intent. :D

Kyle, I can’t put into the words the influence you had on me during my time as a contributing writer. Without you I’d have never honed what semblance of style I can even claim to have. You are such a huge part of GTPlanet - past, present and future! 👍

It's been an awesome journey of growth for both of us I'd say. Some of my favourite articles of yours over the years were the DriveClub and WRC ones, the passion always was right there on the screen!

If feel quite lucky living just 45 driving minutes away from the Ring... but i still have to drive the Nordschleife. But after seeing Jimmy Broadbents video and reading this... i will for sure.


Best of luck in your new post Kyle. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be a contributing writer here on GTP. Your influence will be missed here.

Cheers Gary, thanks for adding your own flavour to the front page!

TB
So long and thanks for all the fish articles, @SlipZtrEm! :cheers:

:cheers:

Thank you Kyle for all what you’ve done here and best wishes for your new job!

Hopefully we will still see @SlipZtrEm around the forums!

About the article itself, I’ve had the chance to drive there a few years ago. The biggest difference with your trip is that this was my own car, so I knew it well, its abilities and its limits.

What surprised me the most, though, was how slow I was. My RCZ wasn’t a supercar but I used to outpass 90% of the road traffic ; on the Nordschleife it was the other way round!

As you said, doing laps on GT or other games helps you to learn the track and be prepared to the next turn, but not to the physical aspect and sensation of a 10 minutes spirited drive around one of the most iconic tracks in the world.

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Awesome @Cytoria! That must've been one heck of an experience in your own car! I'll try to visit when I can, absolutely — I've been here for 16 years, I doubt that'll stop!

Brilliant from start to finish, Kyle. Reading it, I feel almost like a tourist in your shoes. Hopefully one day I can make the trip myself.

And what a way to go out. The perfect way, in fact. Thanks for all your contributions, leadership and guidance over the years — it's been nothing short of a pleasure and I'm so thankful our paths crossed. I could go on forever, so before I start to ramble and echo basically what @Brend said, I'll leave it at this: go kill it at AutoGuide, and don't be a stranger. :cheers:

It was great to finally meet up in Montreal, Adam. Thanks for all of your contributions — they're always a treat to read, and what you boys are doing with Time Extend is just perfect. :)

Oh wow, congrats on the new gig Kyle! I'm stoked for you, even if I'm sad to see you leaving GTP's front page. I know you'll kill it over there and I'll be sure to follow your articles on AutoGuide (only after reading GTP though :P).

And echoing what the other writers have said, I really do appreciate all the help you gave me during my stint. Also, that Vegas trip will always be one of my favorites, especially partying until some wee hour of the morning only to get on an airplane, fly back to Salt Lake and go to work feeling like I was hit by a bus.

Joe! Vegas was such an incredible experience, and I still can't quite believe you stayed as long as you did given that early flight. Really glad the three of us got to do that, it was awesome. :D

Amazing post!

I have thousands of kilometers worth of virtual experience on the Ring but as you write actually being there and feeling the forces of this rollercoaster track is another thing.

Been wanting to drive there for real as soon as I first "drove" there in Gran Turismo 4, and it's a life goal to do it.

Outside of a handful of tasters in GPL, GT4 was my first real taste of the 'Ring too. If I had to guess I'd be well over 7,500 laps there since in various titles, which equates to roughly 1000 hours. Hopefully you can make it there too some day!

Bravo, sir. I loved every word of this piece and I smiled ear to ear the entire time I read it. I even got misty eyed for a moment at the thought of just how cool it must have felt to have achieved such an important life goal. Thank you for sharing and best of luck in your new adventure!

Reading that makes me happy — I'm glad the feeling came through. :)

I remember joining GTP many years ago, back when I didn't have any friends who were into cars, racing, or racing games. I didn't realize just how many people were out there with the same passions as me. It was awesome to find a community of GT players and car/racing fans!

Then, one day, I came across a fellow Torontonian, @SlipZtrEm ! He seemed like a really cool guy - chatting in the forums, writing front-page articles, and running sweet photo mode competitions. I wondered how cool it would be if I ever got to meet him.

Well, fast-forward to today, and I'm so happy to be able to call you a good friend now, Kyle. It's been awesome meeting you through GT events, and spending time together this past year. Of course, all while reading your great stuff on GTP.

Fantastic send-off article, that sounded like one hell of a journey! So happy for you to have achieved that huge goal of driving the Green Hell, and best of luck at AutoGuide! :cheers:

Jamal! It's been a hell of a ride hanging out at all these events, and I think it speaks to the quality of this little hobby of ours that these sorts of bonds form. I'm proud to call you a friend too man — get ready for the Rec Room. :D

Damn. You definitely saved your best for last, Kyle. If AutoGuide had not already hired you they would definitely be calling now!

For reasons I can't quite explain, the Nurburgring is a very special place to me, and your words captured that sense of excitement and magic that I also felt on my first visit. In this world of billions of people, most of whom don't care about this kind of stuff, it gives me a warm sense of belonging to know there are other people who feel the same way I do.

It reminds me of why I created GTPlanet in the first place, and how grateful I am that it has allowed me to meet so many like-minded people like yourself. I'm sad that you'll no longer be writing for us, but I'm happy to call you a friend.

:gtpflag:

Friends 'til the end, sir. :)

Being there was like an amplified version of being at a car meet in my mind. I love the attitude of acceptance at things like Cars & Coffee, where nobody cares what sort of car you brought, so long as you like cars. The 'Ring really felt like the mecca of that movement: every person I talked to had this sort of reverential tone about just being there. It's hard to not want to go back right away when it feels so natural.

A kick ass trip to sim-racers' heaven to mark the end of a kick ass tenure as a GTPlanet author. It was great working alongside you and the rest of the writing crew. Good luck at AutoGuide, Kyle!

Ah, Ameer, I don't get to tell you this often, but you were missed in the writer ranks. You were a natural, and I hope you'll use your skills for good, not evil. ;)

*snip* Again, thanks Kyle for making that masterpiece of an article stand out all the fantasies of a nurburgring fan, and thanks for your work here man! Hope you stay here talking more like one of us! :D

I will! I'm taking a bit of a breather now to focus on real-life stuff, but I'll definitely be around. I might even — gasp — play more sim racers now. :lol:

What a great read! Thanks. And even if you've been there many times and don't live far away from the Nürburgring... you'll feel like a kid the evening before Christmas. Everytime. Again and again. It is just a magic place...

I figured that'd be the case. I'd like to test it to be sure, though...

MXH
Good luck with your future endeavours, Kyle! Great read!


As long as you keep the speed limit on the highways surrounding the citites, the popo doesn't seem to mind (as long as the weather conditions are good) if you're going above the speed limit. That's what I read prior to and experienced during my trip to the Nurburgring. That meant I was doing 180 up to 240km/h on the Autobahn as soon as the traffic eased up.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I noticed that later on in the year when I found myself there a second time. Well, not quite there: when I went to Salzburg for the FIA GTC event, I stuck around for a few days after and did another road trip to Stuttgart and the Porsche Museum. Austria seemed pretty strict in terms of speed, but I just followed the flow of traffic on the Autobahn. Getting on the road at 4:30 in the morning was one of the smartest decisions I've ever made...

Had my own experience at the Ring just last week, on October 10th! Private trackday, run by SkyLimit Events. Rented a 1990 MX-5 Miata, with nearly the same mods my own 1990 Miata has. Their's had coilover suspension, mine just has Flyin' Miata Lowering springs on Bilstein shocks. I also have a short throw shifter with polyurethane engine mounts, their's had the stock shifter with rubber mounts (so I grinded some gears). But same style Sparco seats, similar harnesses (they had 4pt with street-style latch, I have 5/6pt with camlock latches) and rollbar.

View attachment 858053

I did 10 laps, over a period of almost 4hrs. There was 1 track closure, thanks to a race spec BMW crashing around L-26, which is just before Hohe Acht. Broke the suspension and left fluid on the track. I had completed 8 of my 10 allotted laps at the time. I was able to finish my final 2 laps with 30mins left in the event, with Touristenfarhten happening immediately after. Within that time, another high-end crash happened, this time a Lamborghini on the outside of R-20, which is just after Breidscheid. Not Red flags through, just local yellow with recovery crew members putting down cones and directing traffic around the tow truck.

I do have Go-Pro footage of most of my laps, courtesy of Hotlap Nurburg supplying the camera and having it all setup before I even hit the pitlane. I'm currently trying to edit together the segments, the recordings are in weird 3-12min intervals. There is also some overexposure I'd like to try and edit out. So far, I've only found 2 pics of me on track. I'm trying to work out how to pay for them without having to wire the funds, and thus pay more for the wire transfer fee than the pictures themselves. Had I shown up for the full day session in the morning, or even just stayed for Touristenfahrten, there may have been many more pictures to choose from, based off the galleries I've found from that day.

One question I have for Kyle is why did you fly to (and drive from) Hamburg? Did you hit any other destinations along the way, or was it just a matter of wanting to do A LOT of Autobahn driving? I too did a very short trip to Germany, in part because I went with one of the cheapest flight tickets I could find, which gave me 2 layovers both arriving and departing back. So I arrived at Cologne-Bonn airport right around 5pm local time on October 9th, and left to do an overnight layover in Stansted on a 10:20pm flight October 10th. A whopping 30hrs or so in Germany, but I still got a lot out of it, and even kind of enjoyed the layovers.

Now, why Cologne and not Frankfurt or somewhere else? I wanted to attempt to explore the city in general (which I really did not have time for) and at the very least, check out the Michael Shumacher car collection at Motorworld. I did just barely achieve this, with only about 1hr to spare before they closed and then I decided to head off to my hotel in Nurbug (the Motorsport Hotel in my case, which was a few minutes away from the Nurburg castle).

Ah, that looks awesome @Whodoyouthink, how cool was it to run the track in a car so close to your own? I too have GoPro footage but I avoided uploading it on account of the ban and this being an article instead of for personal use (even if I had visited off the clock, so to speak). The in-car stuff is almost useless because of the vibrations, but it's still special to me.

About Hamburg: it was because I was there for an F1 2019 game preview event. That's what started the ball rolling, really.

Great article, Kyle. It was awesome to meet someone who shares the amount of enthusiasm for their passions.

I for one will definitely miss your contribution to GTP both on the front page and in the forums.

All the best for the future. :)👍

Cheers, Adam. Thanks for always staying cool when I'd pester you for an interview, and for giving priceless insights into the events. It's been great watching you at each one, and I'll keep cheering from back here on future ones too. :cheers:

Excellent write-up, SlipZ, and congratulations on your landing a post at AutoGuide! I will echo others’ comments in this thread and say that it will be sad to see your name missing from the front page of GTP, but it’s also great to see you getting hired by a proper automotive news source (no offence or malice intended to GTP’s writers :P). I think niky also got his job as an auto journalist by writing a lot here and then eventually getting noticed by a major local auto news outlet, which is the way I guess you got hired...? :confused:

Anyway, I have more to say other than congratulatory offerings, as I agree that everyone should pursue their dreams, circumstances allowing, not just in going on a road trip, but also in other aspects in life. You don’t necessarily have to follow your dreams down to the last letter, because that can be a bit too difficult to achieve for most people, but at least you can compromise with your realistic needs and fulfill it in some way, without disturbing others. I still remember 10 years ago when my sister asked me what I wanted to do as a career, and I, like every other boy that was interested in cars, answered that I wanted to be a renowned race car driver. When she replied with a no, and cited safety concerns as a reason, I quickly brushed off her dismissal, and believed that I would progress on my way and eventually reach that ultimate goal. But little did I know that in the years since then, I would gradually lower my dreams to being a race car driver with little fame, then to participating in the Nurburgring 24 Hours in one of the cheapest classes, then to driving around the Nordschleife once in my life, before reaching recently to perhaps just owning an exotic supercar that I’ve always wanted. And before I even reach this goal, I’m already procrastinating on learning to drive and acquiring a driver’s license, using busyness with schoolwork as an excuse. While I haven’t reached the point of being too late to realize my dreams (and I hope I won’t), I won’t count against it either. :indiff:

So I’d say this to everybody that they should pursue their dreams, or at least fulfill it in some way, while they still can, rather than completely ignoring it and calling it impossible, because it can serve as a huge source of motivation for you to accomplish things you never could.

May I wish you every success in your new post, SlipZ. 👍

That's correct on how I snagged this job, yes.

Don't give up. Your last paragraph sums everything up IMO: if the opportunity realistically presents itself, go for it. The biggest push I got for this whole road trip was my girlfriend. I was hung up on how much money it'd cost for such a short little taste of the 'Ring. She insisted I do it: money comes and goes, but an experience like that will last forever. Sure enough — as with most things in our lives :P — she was right.

Some of us used to work in the same team of writers, so big hello to everyone out there, and Kyle, good luck with your future job. This article inspired me to dug up an old Evo magazine this morning and read article about two Croatian chaps who took a trip to Zakspeed Formula school at Nurburgring for track day sessions. Such a wonderful track.

It's good to hear from you Matej, I hope everything is going well over there. :cheers:

I may have missed it, but you’re not leaving the site entirely, are you?

Nope, just relinquishing editorial duties. I'm just a regular ol' member now.

Echoes of my own experience in Germany. :) What a warm and welcoming culture.

This story is also similar enough to my own experience of the Nürburgring. Almost no plan, getting on the track by luck, and having time for two laps...and realizing the roads surrounding the track are a treat themselves. :cheers:


I had no idea you'd done that, Wolfe! Glad to hear it was such a similar experience. I'm sure I wouldn't have disliked more time, or better planning, but there's something about just winging it that makes these sorts of trips so memorable.

Since then I've been lucky enough to do the afore-mentioned Salzburg-to-Stuttgart-and-back trip, and then a Mustang GT convertible all over the coast and mountains just north of San Diego. Both just involved light planning once I was on the ground, and they were fantastic. That sense of freedom is something else.