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Thread: Nurburgrin trip - planning stage

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    Senior Member bellwilliam's Avatar
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    Default Nurburgrin trip - planning stage

    been thinking about a trip to Nurburgring. my wife's sister lives in Zurich, so wife and kids can go visit. Me and couple of guys can go to Nurburgring for a few days. not any time soon, but next year or year after.

    1. best time of the year ? being a SOCAL driver, I've only driven in rain on track a few times. it is a bad thing if I ever had an accident in a foreign country, either in a rental or a lease. does it snow there ? is Christmas time bad ? that happens to be the best time I can take time off.

    2. what type of cars can I rent for reasonable price ? something that can be driven on track, and not too slow on Autobahn (see below). so stock 1.6L Miata is out.

    3. I thought about leasing something like a BMW 328i. it is about ~$400/month, ~$3,500 down. I can use it for both track and a regular rental. do a European delivery. any issue in that ?

    4. how many sharing a car is reasonable ? 2, 3 or 4 ? at track day, we do 4-5 sessions. so with 4 people. and jumping in as passenger, that would still be on track 50% of the time. pretty tiring.

    5. Nurburgring charges per lap. how do they know how many laps you've done ? do you exit to pit, and come back again ?

    6. what time of the day, what of the week is the best time to go ? when do tour bus come out to play on track ?

    7. I want to do some high speed driving on Autobahn ( I truely believe in less than 10 years, high speed freeway driving will be a thing of the past, want to get it done NOW). somewhere between 120 - 150mph would be fun. when I was young, I drove quite a bit in Europe. once got pulled over in France for ~155MPH, paid a $300 fine. but I heard if you do that today, you go straight to jail. how true is that ? how lax is the speed enforcement ?

    8. how is Autobahn around Nurburgring ? I heard many area of Autobahn now has low speed limit. it would be fun if I can zip between cities at 130mph. it is only 300 miles to Zurich (2.5 hours drive), 200 miles to Stuttgart (< 2 hours), 100 miles to Frankfurt (< 1 hour).

    9. I will of course get on the driving simulator for a month before I go.

    10. are there any surprises ? any expenses I should take in account ? if I get only 5mpg (on track and on Autobahn), and it is $12 per gallon, it would get expensive really fast. toll charges on track and Autobahn would be expensive too ?

    in my business, I can only take short vacations, nothing over 10 days total including travel. so I need to try to get the most out of few days I got. thanks.
    Last edited by bellwilliam; 09-15-2009 at 05:08 PM.
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    Try to combine it with a trip to run Spa Francorchamps in Belgium if you can. That track looked incredible when I watched this year's F1 race.
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    Smack-Talkin' Member J. Tyler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bellwilliam View Post
    been thinking about a trip to Nurburgring. my wife's sister lives in Zurich, so wife and kids can go visit. Me and couple of guys can go to Nurburgring for a few days. not any time soon, but next year or year after.

    1. best time of the year ? being a SOCAL driver, I've only driven in rain on track a few times. it is a bad thing if I ever had an accident in a foreign country, either in a rental or a lease. does it snow there ? is Christmas time bad ? that happens to be the best time I can take time off.
    Yea, it snows. Nov-January/February. Check the weather.

    IIRC, rainy season is Winter-Spring. Summer is your best bet for no rain. I went in June and it was beautiful.

    2. what type of cars can I rent for reasonable price ? something that can be driven on track, and not too slow on Autobahn (see below). so stock 1.6L Miata is out.
    All the major American rental companies are at the major airports, plus a few German companies. From my research, your best bet for a good car at the best price is this company: http://www.sixt.com/ The BMW 1-series seems to be a good value.

    Keep in mind, rentals in Europe are more expensive than in USA. Also keep in mind, a 1.6L motor is not a small motor in Europe. More like average. A 2.0L is a hot-rod!

    3. I thought about leasing something like a BMW 328i. it is about ~$400/month, ~$3,500 down. I can use it for both track and a regular rental. do a European delivery. any issue in that ?
    Nope, Euro Delivery BMW owners frequently take their new BMW on the 'Ring.

    4. how many sharing a car is reasonable ? 2, 3 or 4 ? at track day, we do 4-5 sessions. so with 4 people. and jumping in as passenger, that would still be on track 50% of the time. pretty tiring.
    The 'Ring, when open to tourists, is not grouped into sessions; it's just always-on track time (except for course closures to clean up accidents). You purchase track time by the lap. You can buy 1-lap, 5-lap, 10-lap, etc, tickets. Buy more laps at once = pay less per lap.

    5. Nurburgring charges per lap. how do they know how many laps you've done ? do you exit to pit, and come back again ?
    Yes. Pit/exit/go through toll booth/go back on.

    6. what time of the day, what of the week is the best time to go ? when do tour bus come out to play on track ?
    Tour buses are out there all the time during the "Touristenfahren" (tourist-driving). Look on the official Nurburing website for the track schedule... they only have tourist-driving on certain days.

    7. I want to do some high speed driving on Autobahn ( I truely believe in less than 10 years, high speed freeway driving will be a thing of the past, want to get it done NOW). somewhere between 120 - 150mph would be fun. when I was young, I drove quite a bit in Europe. once got pulled over in France for ~155MPH, paid a $300 fine. but I heard if you do that today, you go straight to jail. how true is that ? how lax is the speed enforcement ?
    From my recent experience there, they are very strict on speeding. But, there are still lots of sections of Autobahn that are 100% de-restricted. I got passed by a Porsche Turbo that I swear was going 200mph. Just make sure you are on a de-restricted section if you're going to speed (there is a special sign for de-restricted; it's a circle with 3 lines going across it diagonally)

    8. how is Autobahn around Nurburgring ? I heard many area of Autobahn now has low speed limit. it would be fun if I can zip between cities at 130mph. it is only 300 miles to Zurich (2.5 hours drive), 200 miles to Stuttgart (< 2 hours), 100 miles to Frankfurt (< 1 hour).
    The A5 south of Frankfurt was de-restricted for a looooong distance....you'd probably take that driving from the 'Ring to Zurich.

    9. I will of course get on the driving simulator for a month before I go.
    Gran Turismo 4 has by far the most realistic track model I've seen. It's damn close to the real thing.

    10. are there any surprises ? any expenses I should take in account ? if I get only 5mpg (on track and on Autobahn), and it is $12 per gallon, it would get expensive really fast. toll charges on track and Autobahn would be expensive too ?
    Look on the official Nurburgring website for the cost of tickets. Buying in bulk will save you. I never ran into any tolls on the Autobahn...

    You should have bought Euros 5 months ago when they were only $1.20...now they are $1.46.....

    Hotels in Nurburg were a bit pricey but not outrageous.



    Have fun!! Let me know if have any more questions.

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    Senior Member bellwilliam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard EVO View Post
    Try to combine it with a trip to run Spa Francorchamps in Belgium if you can. That track looked incredible when I watched this year's F1 race.
    only 100 miles away !!

    but the issue I see with SPA, is it is very high speed flowing track for F1, but doesn't that mean it is probably a very boring track for a slow street car ? or not ?

    Tyler: damn.. you want to be to tour guide you answered most of the questions:

    on car rental - but isn't most car rental companies specifically prohibits Nurburgring ? or they just don't have to know


    back to Nurburgring
    how about track logistic ? do I bring my own brake pads ? can I buy locally ? or they only have Pep Boys selling cheapo parts ? or is Germany like track car heaven, that corner 7-11 sells Motul fluids only. is there a place to buy track tires locally ? with 3-4 guys for 2 days, I am sure we will worn out a set of tires and a set of brake pads.
    Last edited by bellwilliam; 09-15-2009 at 05:31 PM.
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    Senior Member granth's Avatar
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    Go after the summer travel season at the end of Oktoberfest, drink some beer and drive like a mad man. Did this a few years ago in a Honda Civic did like 210/220 kph not too safe but hey it was a rental....

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    Senior Member bellwilliam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J. Tyler View Post
    your best bet for a good car at the best price is this company: http://www.sixt.com/ The BMW 1-series seems to be a good value.

    Keep in mind, rentals in Europe are more expensive than in USA. Also keep in mind, a 1.6L motor is not a small motor in Europe. More like average. A 2.0L is a hot-rod!.
    that's the problem I see. most rental are SLOW. many won't do 120mph, even a 1 series 1.6L engine ($100/day) can probably only do 125mph, it will be kind of boring even a Z4 with 2L engine ($200/day), I remember it tops out at 130mph.

    for me. 1/2 of the fun is Nurburgring, which I can play with a low hp car. but for the other 1/2 of the fun is Autobahn. I have this 150MPH+ itch I need to scratch I once drove from Paris to Cannes (that's 900km) in 6 hours, including 2 fuel stop, 1 cop pull over, 1 fast food/lunch stop. with cruise control set at 240kmh that's the memory I value a lot
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    Smack-Talkin' Member J. Tyler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bellwilliam View Post

    Tyler: damn.. you want to be to tour guide
    Yes please

    on car rental - but isn't most car rental companies specifically prohibits Nurburgring ? or they just don't have to know
    No. Most insurance companies specifically exclude the Ring from their coverage. I.e., if you crash on the Ring, the insurance co won't cover you.

    People take rental cars on the Ring all the time...At their own risk.


    back to Nurburgring
    how about track logistic ? do I bring my own brake pads ? can I buy locally ? or they only have Pep Boys selling cheapo parts ? or is Germany like track car heaven, that corner 7-11 sells Motul fluids only. is there a place to buy track tires locally ? with 3-4 guys for 2 days, I am sure we will worn out a set of tires and a set of brake pads.
    Eesh... If you're going to be going fast enough to burn up a rental car's brake pads, I sure would recommend being insured. There is a lot of traffic on the Ring during the Touristfahrten, too...and that Armco barrier is close....

    My rental was an Opel Astra 1.6L. I was full-throttle about 95% of the lap, so I didn't have an issue with the brakes. I think if you rent something like that, with a small engine, you're not going to have to worry about brakes on the Ring. Unless you spend a lot of money on the rental, you are going to have a car with a tiny motor.

    There are a couple of shops in Nurburg that rent racecars (something like a Spec E30 BMW) that you can use during the Touristfahrten. They might have some parts for sale (but probably only stuff that fits their cars).

    Maybe do a google search for a Nurburgring forum? Almost all Germans speak English so once you're there, I'm sure you could find what you need just by asking people at the track.

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    Senior Member bellwilliam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J. Tyler View Post
    My rental was an Opel Astra 1.6L. I was full-throttle about 95% of the lap, so I didn't have an issue with the brakes.
    damn, I currently owns an Opel Astra 1.8L, and that thing is SLOWWWWWW
    can't imagine what a 1.6L would do.

    ok, spit it out, what was your lap time ? so we have a goal to shoot for

    I thought brake pads would be a good insurance. I have a tendency of destroying pads.
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    Senior Member bellwilliam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J. Tyler View Post
    wow, an E90 330i is about $1,000 per day (+ mileage over 250km) !! may be lease deal with Euro delivery is a better idea.

    21km per lap, so 250km mileage limit means 12 laps. and for each additional lap, it is $42 per lap for car mileage.

    cheapest track rate with multiple lap tickets I see is about $25 per lap.

    it is not going to be cheap !!

    so let's say 3 sharing a car. each driver doing 10 laps. that would mean 30 laps.

    2.1km x 30 laps = 600km.
    so mileage fee is 600-250km = 350km x $3 = $1,050
    gate fee is $25 x 30 laps = $750
    car is $1k per day
    so minimum is about $3k per day
    Last edited by bellwilliam; 09-15-2009 at 06:00 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bellwilliam View Post
    damn, I currently owns an Opel Astra 1.8L, and that thing is SLOWWWWWW
    can't imagine what a 1.6L would do.

    ok, spit it out, what was your lap time ? so we have a goal to shoot for
    You know, I don't know. I only did a few laps because I was trying not to spend a lot of money. But, from playing GT4 so much and having the track memorized before I got there, and because it was a slow car, was able to confidently go 95-100% by the second lap. So, whatever a 1.6L Astra can do with a passenger and some traffic... I did that


    You are going to love it. It's such an awesome track... unlike anything in the States. Very very cool. Everyone there was really nice, too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by J. Tyler View Post
    The A5 south of Frankfurt was de-restricted for a looooong distance....you'd probably take that driving from the 'Ring to Zurich.
    The A5 between Basel and Frankfurt is just about the best stretch for pure speed...not built up, and south of the A8 cutoff to Stuttgart/Munich fairly low traffic. When I was going to school in Freiburg we used to make the Swiss border in less than 20 minutes.

    Do be careful in Switzerland. Speed cameras there are plentiful and they are downright mean in the amount they fine you.

    You should certainly plan on turning off from the A5 and visiting the Sinnsheim museum (just past Hockenheim) as well as going into Zuffenhausen to see the new Porsche Museum, as well as the Mercedes museum in Stuttgart itself. (do be more careful on the A8; it is legendary for accidents)

    Once you have gone to the 'Ring you might want to go to Luxembourg as well...it's kind of a neat little city to see...it's like a giant landlocked island.

    Steve
    Last edited by SteveLevin; 09-15-2009 at 06:34 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveLevin View Post
    Do be careful in Switzerland. Speed cameras there are plentiful and they are downright mean in the amount they fine you.

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    Senior Member bellwilliam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveLevin View Post
    Do be careful in Switzerland. Speed cameras there are plentiful and they are downright mean in the amount they fine you.
    Steve
    yes, I've heard that. I drove in Switzerland, remembering something like $500 fine for passing on the right and over $1k for speeding.

    how lax is Germany enforcement ? speed camera on Autobahn ? where there are speed limits ?

    I must think of a way of doing 10 laps around the Ring for less than $1k per day.
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    Master of Disaster SteveLevin's Avatar
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    In Germany, there are definitely speed cameras around. When there is a posted limit (and sometimes it's variable...you will see the big LED signs, and whatever they happen to display is the speed limit at that time; usually 80-120kph).

    As always (and obviously you've experienced this) just keep an eye out for traffic. All the scary moments I have had over the years have involved closure rates on people (often French ) jumping out into the left lane at 100kph as I'm cruising along at 260kph.

    One time I was sure I was going to replace the hood ornament on an S500 with a VW Golf; I had the ABS going and was braced for impact and came up about 5 feet off his bumper.

    Steve

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    Spa Francorchamps has official "test days" at which GT and saloon cars can run (they may have to be fully prepped race cars--not sure). 475 Euros for the whole day, which gives you about 3 1/2 hours of track time! I'm not sure if you need an FIA license. But there's plenty of time to check it out.

    linky http://www.spa-francorchamps.be/en07...ays/racing.php
    Last edited by Richard EVO; 09-16-2009 at 01:59 PM.
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    Great thread and info. My wife and I are planning a trip to Ireland and Germany in the coming years and I have thoughts of the Ring as well. Take good notes please.
    I was in Germany for the month of October years ago and it seemed to rain most of the time and we were all over the place.

    e

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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard EVO View Post
    Spa Francorchamps has official "test days" at which GT and saloon cars can run (they may have to be fully prepped race cars--not sure). 475 Euros for the whole day, which gives you about 3 1/2 hours of track time! I'm not sure if you need an FIA license. But there's plenty of time to check it out.

    linky http://www.spa-francorchamps.be/en07...ays/racing.php
    SPA is definitely my favorite "SIM" track. very flowing and high speed. anyone has experience there in a slower car (or at least a slow car in a sim), does it get boring or it is as exciting in a slower car ?
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    Senior Member bellwilliam's Avatar
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    with European delivery. is BMW 3 series basically the cheapest deal out there ? or are there other good choices ?
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    Quote Originally Posted by bellwilliam View Post
    with European delivery. is BMW 3 series basically the cheapest deal out there ? or are there other good choices ?
    1-series. Same motor/chassis as 3-series, but a little smaller & lighter & cheaper.

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