LMES - Nurburgring 1000 Kms
The ‘Ring, Seikel, Wolfgang Kaufmann and a VERY Impressive
the REAL Nurburgring, 14 miles of twisting, turning, bucking, tarmac
that makes a modern race circuit look and feel like kiddytime stuff.
The dsc crew
had been offered the opportunity to sample the track, with Wolfgang
Kaufmann in charge of the brand new AWD version of Volvo’s
S60R, with 300 horsepower of turbocharged five perhaps the ideal
weapon to attack ‘The Ring’.
But whilst Wolfgang
lapped the track to entertain some other guests, the dsc boys were
treated to a procession of sportscar drivers who popped by to have
up were Mike Newton and Tommy Erdos, Newton at the wheel of a Mercedes
E Class. Johannes Gauglica hitched a ride and pronounced himself
highly impressed with Newton’s knowledge of the circuit and
his running commentary.
The Editor meanwhile
hitched a lift with Eric van de Poele in a 3 series BMW turbodiesel
estate. This was surely proof if it were needed that god given talent
makes up for an awful lot of horsepower – with a myriad of
BMW M3s, Lotus Elises and Porsche 911s out on track, the BMW was
passed by “Nothing, nothing even came close!” said a
grinning Cracknell, as he bailed out a surprisingly short time later.
enjoy yourselves with Wolfgang, he really knows his way around here,
I’m never really sure which way the circuit goes!” said
Eric as he made his farewells.
The best parts
were when Eric said “I don’t know whether it’s
a left or a right hander coming up,” commented the Ed.
Next up was
a Porsche 911 with Emmanuel Collard at the wheel. His passenger
load however was worthy of note too, Messrs. Ortelli, Pompidou and
Franchitti (above) the Younger.....
... all grinning
like schoolkids as the Porsche factory driver queued to buy his
14 euro ticket. This combination would reappear after a remarkably
short interval, Franchitti jumping from the car to exclaim “F***
me that was fast! Ortelli was holding onto me screaming all the
Behind him in
the queue was one David Warnock, co-driving his new charge aboard
the JWR Porsche 911 RSR: their weapon of choice however was somewhat
less glamorous, a Ford Ka! Maximum attack from Liddell would be
the order of the day.
The Paul Belmondo
Racing squad were out on track too (above, Gosselin), in a BMW 6
series Cabrio and Ferrari 360, with the Team Jota drivers also all
having a go, together with Gian Maria Gabbiani, in what might, or
might not, have been modest hire cars.
Then it was
our turn. Kaufmann glided to a stop to offload passengers, who were
notably quieter than they were when boarding. First lap was David
Lord up front with yours truly in the rear, Wolfgang explaining
the finer points of the Volvo as he (very rapidly) brought the car
up to speed.
Turn in was
pinpoint accurate and traction was utterly phenomenal. My ‘day
ride’ is a turbocharged Volvo C70 but the company has clearly
not been standing still in their development programme. I don't
chase motorcycles though...
After two corners
you just had to laugh, this was comic book stuff, Kaufmann and Volvo
combining to create poetry in motion, albeit very rapid poetry.
As for the circuit
– What can be said that hasn’t been said before? It
is unbelievable, utterly and insanely improbable that Formula One
and Group C cars raced around this place. In most countries in the
world they would say this track was too dangerous for rally cars.
On our lap one couple had found out to their cost that it can still
bite back. A brand new rented Opel Vectra Estate having been somewhat
remodelled by a sizeable impact with the barrier: other than the
tears borne of the realisation that this will have to be explained
away somehow, there was evidently no harm done to life or limb.
to Mr Kaufmann and the fruits of Volvo’s labours. It really
is this simple. I have never, ever been so impressed by a combination
of car and driver at first hand. His constant commentary was an
added bonus “David, you should get a good shot as we make
this jump.” Nice theory Wolfgang, but Lordy was having difficulty
even holding the camera up, let alone getting the shot!
There was applause
from members of the public at the ‘best’ corners as
Kaufmann passed. The sight of something as incongruous as a Volvo
massacring the efforts of BMWs and Porsches was clearly appreciated.
a Porsche ahead, let’s have some fun,” was the next
worrying utterance: the 911 though was despatched almost instantly,
and would arrive back at the end of the circuit a good 90 seconds
after the Volvo had pulled up.
put to the Volvo sword was the Seikel Motorsport team bus, driven
by the eponymous team owner Peter Seikel It was a thumbs up and
a wave along Dottinger Hoe as around nine minutes of the most impressive
driving I have ever experienced at first hand came to an end.
Next up it was
the Editor’s turn (with Wolfgang), Cracknell up front with
Lord and Gauglica in the rear of the car.
less than 10 minutes later they were back, but not before Mike Jordan
had started off around the circuit solo in a Ford Focus, a quiet
anticipatory smirk on his face.
The Editor emerged
with a wide grin on his face, but poor Johannes emerged with his
lunch in his hands: a seatbelt had tightened at the wrong moment
and in an instant it was time for a diced carrots surprise. Wolfgang
found that very funny.
After five laps
of the most demanding circuit on the planet the Volvo was still
rock solid (Darling, can we trade in the C70?) and Kaufmann was
still utterly calm and collected. Yours truly however hasn’t
stopped smiling and giggling since!