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sport auto perfection training on the Nordschleife: Over 40 party with drives in the limit area

Gargolov, Tannert
sport auto-perfection training on the Nordschleife
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T ropensturm Isaac stops on the coast of Louisiana too, it has just been classified as a level one hurricane. Franco is actually out of the woods, he has a few jewelry stores in New Orleans, and Franco is beside himself, but not because of the storm. “You Germans are totally crazy.” The American has just thrown himself down the Fuchsröhre for the first time in his life, then the passage to Breitscheid and, last but not least, over the hill behind the Pflanzgarten. “It's not a race track, it's a ski slope,” he grumbles in awe. Instructor Uwe Nittel asks over the radio: 'Should I drive a little slower?' Franco reacts immediately: 'Is this a damn funeral procession?'

A lesson in humility on the Nürburgring

He crossed the pond with two friends. They have been driving together in the American Ferrari Challenge for many years, and are now sitting in racing cars with slicks and yet they feel like little learner drivers: “When you drive in Daytona, it's a test of courage; in humility, ”says Franco. This also includes a dash of admiration: “Now I realize why German cars are the way they are,” says buddy John.

A ring weekend as a learner driver

The Nordschleife novices from overseas are rather the exception , 70 percent of the 117 participants in this perfection training are notorious repeat offenders. Fred Pendelin is there for the first time. He had dreamed of the Nordschleife since childhood and bought an old BMW M3 as an adult. 245 hp, carbon fiber hoods, cage and chassis, everything is already there. He has already driven many laps around the ring and still booked a weekend as a learner driver. “I'm here to work on my lap time. Driving here is much more intense than in tourist traffic, where there are a lot of cars and motorcycles. ”On these two days in late July, only the 22 groups of sport auto training are on the slopes, but From Bergwerk to Hohe Acht they by no means ensure silence.

Around 20 laps are driven per training day, that's around 400 kilometers, the distance of a long-distance race. “People want to drive. If you do a theoretical analysis after each round, they'll feel cheated, ”saysNittel. And so colleague Christian Menzel knocks on the roof again and calls out: 'Let's go.' And do the learner drivers feel? “Sure,” says Menzel. “I'm an authoritarian guy too.” After the saying, he just manages to stay serious for just under a second.

In the past, the Nordschleife was used to train in sections, driving over the same section of the route, turning around and off front. 'That cost an incredible amount of time, and you never managed to get a whole lap together because important connectors were missing,' says instructor Peter Corraza, who just before the Antoniusbuche leaves group by group on the track, the slow one behind a fast one no one gets stuck in a traffic jam after a few kilometers.

Emotional congestion and overstimulation

Most participants suffer after a few Laps under emotional congestion and overstimulation. So Nittel orders his men to take a break at Döttinger Höhe and explains how important it is to change to the right side of the lane after changing the pavement in front of the Schwedenkreuz so that the car doesn't get restless beyond 200 on the hilltop. The Americans look at him with big eyes. “Do you know from what point I'm talking?” Franco converts an automatic nod into a violent shake of the head in a flash: “No, I don't know.” Nittel knows: “It takes about 40 laps to get to the route.” The Former rally professional actually drives his BMW M3 all weekend with the left, the right one holds the radio, the eye focuses on the rearview mirror, and the voice repeats the sections of the track lap by lap. “We come to the gallows head. Turn in early, at sign 186 is the turn-in point, 187 is the apex. Hey, there was still a whole meter of space, my friend. ”

If at the end of the two days he really gets on the nerves of the participants with his endless announcements, Nittel has done everything right. “The goal is for them to know what's coming in their head before I say it,” reveals the Swabian. Nittel is one of two dozen instructors who are among the best there are on the Nordschleife. From 24-hour winners like Frank Schmickler and Christian Menzel to Le Mans winner Marco Werner and the former Formula 1 driver Karl Wendlinger. Finally, Walter Röhrl also came, on whose right-hand seat in the Porsche GT3 some participants took their place after the lottery the evening before. A TV journalist appeared on the very first day and since then has sworn: “I just drove with God.” Even Röhrl is still enjoying the Nordschleife after 40 years. And he reveals: “This is no job for me here.”

Walter Röhrl as a taxi driver during the perfection training

Kim Hyungsoon clenches his fist like Boris Becker once did. He also won a Röhrl round. Kim came specially from Korea and has a racing Sciroccorented to get a good shudder. “We have some really intimidating videos about the Nürburgring on the internet. I've wanted to do this for a long time. You just don't know what it's like if you haven't. I'll do it again. '

Fred Pendelin also followed suit, gained 15 seconds on the first day and made a few realizations:' There were a couple of corners that I had completely driven into before. ' Instructor Jens Richter confirms: “He was already at a good level. It has increased from a 2.5 to a 1.5. 'Fred says:' The goal is the eight-minute limit. 'He will be back. The Americans want that too. Franco's knowledge of the area has developed rapidly, he shot through Brünnchen with pretty good momentum and also has no problem with braking point and line at Pflanzgarten. Driving instructor Nittel, whose tires scream for mercy at some point, has more problems. “In the end, the guys were jostling with their slicks.” But now they have had enough and parked the cars while a small group of steadfast people are still driving lap after lap.

Most are experienced and sedate people who know their limits. Except for two small sheet metal damage, all participants and cars leave the Eifel without scratches. Franco has good news from home. The storm wasn't that bad. And so he will probably be the one who has more to tell than those who stayed at home. “If this route were in America, it would be closed long ago and a nuclear waste dump. I've done a lot before, but this was the best experience of my life. ”And what about Daytona? 'Pah, I'm going to do that with my left knee.'


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