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Premiere on the Nordschleife: first drive in a sports car

Rossen Gargolov
Premiere on the Nordschleife
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  • Auto: Porsche 911 Carrera 4S
  • Over 520 kilometers of the Nordschleife
  • This is how the chassis works
  • S chalten by PDK

' 2 km 'is on the white sign. Below this is a shock absorber pictogram plus Bilstein lettering. You aim your car at the sign. A white point is sprayed on the ground shortly afterwards - the steering impulse must come shortly before that, otherwise you won't grab it: the apex. These are two of dozens of reference points that you need to curve properly over the mountain, race and test track in the Eifel.

Guard rails, curbs, signs, asphalt colors, route markings, masts, lines and graffiti . You need them to hit turn-in and vertex points as well as corner exits. You cannot see a considerable part of the 73 curves according to the official count; many racing drivers count over 100 corners. You should also know the curve names - around 40 of them. Otherwise, when talking about the monumental 20.832 kilometers of asphalt (... and concrete) you will be immediately out. And you cannot ask the connoisseurs any precise questions.

After my first, extremely spontaneous and bumbling round, it was a matter of heart to me to remedy this situation for me. For months I meticulously hammered the line, including reference points and curve names, into my head: with an instruction video for beginners and Project CARS on my PlayStation. For this you need a high threshold for frustration to work. After 70 touring laps on the real route - some of them with an instructor in the passenger seat - it then fits: Even under the immense stress of the Nordschleife, I can reliably call up a reasonable dry line. Which doesn't mean that mistakes won't happen. And under no circumstances is that synonymous with “I know the Nordschleife”. Not even close.

It was enough to convince Porsche to take me to a driver training session on the Nordschleife. They brought Timo Kluck with them as an instructor for our small group. The Eifler was a racing driver, part of the Porsche 918 record team and is currently responsible for Porschethe tire development. A guy who can explain every inch of the Nordschleife to you - and who makes the whole group romp with his sayings. He can also drive a car. So right. So really right.

Rossen Gargolov
Porsche 911, Thomas Hellmanzik and instructor Timo Kluck park for the photo on Döttinger Höhe.

Rossen Gargolov
Tire whisperer Timo Kluck drives up in the 2S, our editor Thomas Hellmanzik behind in the 4S - recognizes the all-wheel drive model one on the continuous light band.

Thomas Hellmanzik
1.59 g lateral - is that actually an accurate value? The grip is enormous for a road tire.

But this brutal traction is almost even more fascinating. And it doesn't matter how difficult the circumstances are. Mirror curve, Ex-Mühle, on the curb of the ice curve or even out of the small carousel: these are all difficult places in terms of traction, where you can stick the pedal to the carpet at the exit without feeling too much. It's not like you realize what the fully variable all-wheel drive is all aboutstraightened out. However, the result is easy to understand: The Swabian shoots out of the corners with tremendous force. And he knows how it works with the difficult sections on the Nordschleife. He shows this impressively at Plant Garden II. Here it is particularly important to only loosely grip the leather steering wheel, which is not flattened and has three spokes without buttons. The 911 has to be able to balance out what it wants to do over the undulating gradient. Definitely don't mess it yourself! The front becomes light on the crest, the steering forces are reduced for the moment. Feedback. YES! The 911 rushes to the Stefan-Bellof-S, causing almost no unrest in the structure, rolls cleanly to the curb with the initial steering angle. Perfectly positioned to aim for the next reference point: the mast, which is a good bit further on the right side next to the guardrail.

Thomas Hellmanzik
Right im The picture shows the “5 km” sign. The references have to be right, otherwise it won't work.

Fine-tuned ABS, hot tires

Despite the stressful Outside and asphalt temperatures, the feeling on the excellently adjustable brake pedal remains constant, the performance of the brake system does not decrease even with this permanent torture. Shimmy along the control limit of the ABS? Can you give yourself a gift - the ABS software (Bosch ABS 'ESP 9 plus') can do this better than most of us. In the third fast lap at an outside temperature of 29 ° C, the deceleration performance in the mine and before the steep stretch was a short time in coming: 'If the tires are overheated, the ABS can take a moment in the wavy braking zones until it is again correct data. ”Timo doesn't talk nonsense, because I should have recognized that the tire was close to heat stroke. Despite the correct air pressure, according to the on-board computer, there was some understeer here and there, and cornering speeds were lower overall. I didn't think much about it because it wasn't a problem until then and the braking performance was still good. Anyway, after a short break, the tires are working well again. And in the end it is impressive how little the profile edges have suffered after 25 laps. Also interesting: How much more imprecise and slower the 991.2 converts the steering impulses when the air pressure is too high. This is an absolute contrast when you set the correct air pressure again after two or three warm-up laps.

Thomas Hellmanzik
Plunge into the Fuchsröhre at 235 km /h feels like a rollercoaster ride.

Virtually indestructible

Compared to the compact athletes, the 911 is easier to drive on the Nordschleife despite the sometimes significantly higher speeds. The drivability is remarkable - the Carrera 4S requires extremely rough maneuvers or amateurish driving errors before there is a risk of losing control. Or maybe he corrects them himself - it never happened. Yes, that's right ... a shoulder tapper is due. But it didn't go bad either! After tire whisperer Kluck felt every lap sweep around the ring faster, he announced a (compulsory) break over the radio. Which is good for me, because even though the professional driving up ahead gives me additional security and no wild west conditions like on the tourist trips raise my pulse: With the unusually high speed my adrenaline level is still above the usual Nordschleife level.Perhaps that is even helpful, after all my teacher makes an almost satisfied impression: “We were on the road usable, the pace was good.” I only understood Ritterschlag and the Carrera Cup contract offer. Back in reality we go on a farewell lap. Schwedenkreuz: 256 km /h. Fuchsröhre: 235 km /h. Kessel: 230 km /h. Without the Rhineland steering wheel samurai, I wouldn't even think of pushing like that. But that will be fine, right? Mr. Kluck won't drive up anything that he doesn't trust me to do - after all, the Rüffel, if you have to scrape me and the 4S off the guardrail, he won't be keen either. So I'm not afraid. Which doesn't mean that the Sparco on my head wouldn't rather be on a helmet dryer. Anyway, enough talk. We have arrived at the Döttinger Höhe. At the end of the 2.6 kilometer straight, the speedometer reads 281 km /h. There is the orange-painted part of the guardrail: turn in.


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