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sport auto perfection training 2015 on the Nordschleife

Roman Domes
sport auto-perfection training 2015
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F rank is nervous. He lights the second cigarette within a few minutes. 'Am I badly underpowered here with my car tomorrow?' He asks while he sneaks around a - not his - black Porsche Cayman GT4. In his orange BMW E30 325i, he came to the Nürburgring from near Zurich in the early afternoon. The slightly modified and almost 180 hp youngtimer is parked in a meadow, directly on the B 258. A roll cage stretches through its interior.

First learn, then drive freely

' This is my first driver training session with you on the Nordschleife, 'says the 36-year-old Swiss and puts out his cigarette. 'I'm a little excited.' Night falls over the Eifel with a drop in temperature to five degrees Celsius; the last perfection seekers in 2015 have arrived and park their cars in the underground car park. It gets quiet at the Nürburgring.

The high-frequency buzzing of the starter puts an end to the sleepy atmosphere, drowned out by the engines, which communicate their passion for the Nordschleife with a pithy cold start. As they leave their shelter, the headlights pierce through the fog that has conquered the small town of Nürburg overnight. Nordschleife ace Friedhelm Mihm said in the evening: 'If you don't see the castle in the morning, the weather is bad. And if you can see it, the weather is bad.' But even the opaque white mush in the air does not last long.

On the Döttinger Höhe, the 120 participants formed into 23 groups. Near the end of the line, at the ring novices, Frank's orange E30 flashes out. The BMW is in a group that also includes a black Maserati Quattroporte and a Porsche 968. During the morning briefing, the participants are told the daily routine: 'Free driving begins at 3:30 pm. Then you can implement what you will learn in the next six hours.' The announcement from head instructor Ruben Zeltner is clear. Collective nod of the head.

Then the Döttinger Höhe trembles

As in the 24-hour race, a few minutes prevail The start of training was the hustle and bustle on the Döttinger Höhe, which is now the start-finish line. With a length of more than 2.5 kilometers, it is the longest straight race track in the world.In the middle of the field, Arvid folds the trunk lid of his Ferrari 599 GTB up. 'I still have to change,' he says with a Berlin accent.

Shoes, ski mask and today's mandatory helmet. Arvid has had his head protection for a long time, but not his Ferrari. 'This is my first time with the 599, I've only had it for a few months,' notes the Berliner, while he slams the trunk shut again with a dull 'click'. The six-liter V12 engine of his Ferrari has a lot in common with the engine of the Ferrari Enzo, raging under the hood with a massive 620 hp. 'Let's see how he does,' says Arvid, who earns his money in the pharmaceutical industry off the racetrack. So far, the 42-year-old has driven a BMW E46 M3.

The Nordschleife is new territory for the Ferrari. 'I have to drive it in here first,' he says. Then the door closes behind him. Please resign! The brake light flickers briefly, then the twelve-cylinder raises its bassy voice only when idling. Countless boxer six-cylinder engines rattle off with him. And the high-frequency singsong of the ten-cylinder can probably still be heard on the gallows head as the drivers rush under full load into the depression after the Antonius beech.

Long before the first groups break over the small hilltop at the Schwedenkreuz, you can hear the whine of the engines already at the Aremberg curve. After the long bend it goes down into the Fuchsröhre. The section is also called 'T88' - a name that is common among the marshals. One of them is still standing on the Aremberg today and paying attention. His name is Günther Ley. 'Ley means 'the rock,'' he says. That fits. He is tall, with a strong stature and a funny face, leaning against his wine-red VW Golf, which he has parked in one of the many security bags.

'This place is something special!' Günther has to scream this sentence as the cars brake with cheeky, sometimes hellishly loud, intermediate gas bursts just a few meters away from him. 'Fresh air, that sound. It's easy to forget everyday life. I love motorsport at the Nürburgring,' says the 60-year-old with a smile in the dialect that is typical for the Eifel, in which 'sport' becomes 'Spocht' . A walkie-talkie is stuck in his breast pocket. Every now and then, scraps of words crackle and creak from the loudspeaker.

Dissatisfied with a Ferrari

Also drivers and Teachers talk to each other over the radio. Frank should get tips and hints from instructor Domenico Solombrino in his E30. At least that's how the communication was planned. After the first few laps, Frank recognizes the disadvantage of an empty car, namely the unimaginable volume in the interior. 'Unfortunately, I didn't understand much - my car is too loud. I also had enough to do with myself and the track,' says Frank, imitating steering wheel movements with arms and hands. All the more soThere is more need for clarification now, during the short lunch break.

Ferrari driver Arvid is also sitting at the table with instructor Ruben Zeltner and video analyzing his line on the laptop. Zeltner is quite silent - a good sign. 'Yes, there isn't much to say, Arvid already knows his way around, the line fits.' Only the famous mirror curve - a technically demanding triple right after the Kallenhard - he could approach better. But that belongs to the very high art, believes Zeltner. Despite the praise, Arvid seems dissatisfied - not with himself, but with his Ferrari.

Bitchy, moody, wonderful

'The 599 is not a racing car. The body wobbles and the brakes cannot always cope with the heavy weight,' he complains. To make matters worse, the electronics then twitch and put the 620 hp out of action for a few minutes. Explanation attempts: 'Something was in the display with 'catalyst temperature'.' And now? The V12 starts perfectly, then roars away with dull shifts and a shrill exhaust note. 'Despite all the quirks: The feeling of driving a Ferrari is just great - and it's really super fast,' he shouts from the driver's seat. Shortly after the mine, he overtakes a Porsche 911 Turbo. Just because. Outside around.

Frank is not quite that quick yet. He still passes Hohe Acht in the afternoon much faster and at the same time more relaxed than in the morning. 'A great day,' he says. Forgotten is the fear of being completely underpowered. 'It's a nice feeling to get to know this racetrack better in my own car,' he said after a little over eight hours. Does he already have a favorite curve? Frank shakes his head: 'There are so many impressive places. I couldn't even remember them - I had to drive!' He'll have to come again for that.

Marshals Günther Ley will definitely be back. But now - when he's finally finished work - he's doing what he's been looking forward to all day: he's going home. His way home takes him over the Nordschleife and its 73 curves. And honestly: Who wouldn't be happy?

Our instructors were so sporty this year

Our instructors are one thing above all: experienced in racing and the nordschleife. The manufacturers also know this very well. That's why they made their sports car elite available to us for perfection training - from the Audi RS 6 to the Nissan GT-R to the Porsche Cayman GT4. At the wheel were VLN ace Marc Basseng, Nordschleife hero Patrick Simon, Eifel veteran Christian Menzel and rally legend Ruben Zeltner.

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