Nurburgring Nordschleife August 2013

It had been 3 years since our first and only visit to the notorious Nurburgring Nordschleife. Our annual email request for dates was despatched to the Nurburgring management in late 2012 and no offer was forthcoming. By the end of January it was looking decidedly unlikely that we'd be offered dates again this year, so we set about organising the Italy trip in October in lieu of any dates at the 'Ring.

Low and behold, a matter of days after we sign the contracts for Monza and Mugello we get an email from the 'Ring management offering us 1st & 2nd August. Sods law! We'd moved our Spa-Francorchamps track days from 29/30th July to earlier in the month - how perfect could that have been to have Spa and the 'Ring in the same week! Nevertheless it was deemed an opportunity not to be missed, so we duly signed the contract and set about planning our second visit to the Green Hell.

For our first visit (19th July 2010) we had adopted a roaming marshals system, whereby we had half a dozen course cars circulating all day acting as extra eyes on the lookout for any incidents. BaT are unique in implementing this idea and everyone I spoke to agreed it offered an extra level of comfort and safety to the participants, knowing they were never more than a couple of minutes from being attended to by BaT staff.

When your only complaint about a track day is the blistering heat and lack of shelter - you know you've got a good event on your hands. With temperatures nudging 40°C it was unbearable for most and any more than 2 laps at a time in a car without air-con was considered somewhat suicidal. As a result, the track was unsurprisingly quiet, with many drivers telling of totally clear laps without coming across a single car (other than the BaT Marshals cars which were circulating religiously at a sedate pace).

The day didn't get off the perfect start for a couple of our clients however. Adam & Shane had managed to trailer the 400 miles to the Nurburgring and forgotten the keys to their Caterham - DOH!

We had just 2 complaints about driving standards, both of which were dealt with promptly and fairly by my trusty Chief Instructor Spike. Suffice to say that a couple of our European friends don't appreciate how differently we run track days in the UK and how seriously we take overtaking breaches.

With the relentless heat, we anticipated a few problems with the BaT Cats but were pleasantly surprised by how well they all coped with just a couple of very minor niggles which were easily resolved. As we always do, we had the spare car with us anyway so downtime wasn't an issue for the arrive & drive clients.

We managed 9 hours of track time Thursday without a single red flag - indeed there wasn't even a single scratch on any of the 100 cars we had in attendance. The extent of Thursdays damage was a little gravel rash on one regulars 911 GT3. The cause of the excursion into the gravel is too comical not to reveal - "excessive floor mats leading to a fouling of the throttle when applying the brakes". Sorry Nick - couldn't resist but share that little gem!

Friday morning was equally uninterrupted with no red flags and just a couple of very quick recoveries required. By 12:30pm on Friday our course cars had managed 800kms each around the Nordschleife and the fuel consumption from the cars ranged from 11mpg (25 year old instructor driving) to 21mpg (49 year old instructor driving) - make of that what you will!

When the BaT team head out to Europe, we normally hang around on the night after the track day to let our hair down and enjoy the post-event release of stress. Unfortunately with a big event on at Donington Park on the Sunday, we had to fly back on Friday night to prepare for the event. One of the trucks left the circuit promptly at 1pm and arrived back at our workshop at 5am in time for the mechanics to prep the cars for the Sunday track day.

BaT regulars will be aware that one of our junior mechanics Danny is referred to as "Boy Band Dan" due to his trendy haircut and metrosexual attire. When boarding the plane we couldn't help but laugh as the air-stewardess commented "blimey, we've got One Direction on board tonight".

A great couple of days made even better by such a fabulous team of staff and some fantastic clients. I just hope it doesn't take us another 3 years to get dates at the Nordschleife again.

Jonny Leroux
05 August 2013

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