Road Trip: 24 Hours of Nürburgring
By Sarah Forst
Images by Sarah Forst and David Evans
Motorsports bucket lists are a funny thing. Most of us have the same events on them from Pike's Peak to an F1 race so it's no surprise you travel 4000 miles and find peeps you know doing the same thing. Bill Caswell posts his Motorsport Road Trip of the Summer on Jalopnik and it looks like he stole my itinerary. Though I booked airfare just 3 weeks in advance so it's probably just me stalking him…
|Transportation in Amsterdam is a wild assortment of bikes, trams, boats, and cars. 4 cars out near right is a Buick Le Sabre that I'm sure is a joy to park in spaces designed for Smart cars.
I landed in Amsterdam from Philly at the same time as his flight from Chicago got in, navigated past the red light district and “coffeshops” the same days, got some culture in at the Van Gogh museum as he did, and also drank local beers at t'Arendsnest bar. We were going to meet up but our sleep schedules (or lack of…) never lined up. Of course then he was handed the keys to a Fiesta ST but since I was flying out of Brussels and returning a rental car in another country entails a fee equal to my beer budget for the week- or Greece's economy for a year- I needed public transportation to complete my trip.
|Need a rental car in Amsterdam? How about a busted up Sulky M1! Think Big Wheels with a body. I expect it's missing the floorboards so the passengers can propel it forward like Flintstones.
|In case you thought Citroen only made small cars I present the Citroen DS, a pickle on wheels.
Train to Cologne, Germany (mecca of the kölsch beers) and since I wasn't visiting the former Eastern bloc this time, I could get something more powerful than last year's Volvo V60. The BMW 335i was a much sweeter ride. Google it and you'll come across all sorts of videos of them speeding (and crashing) on the autobahn. 3 hours sleep, the rain, and traffic kept the 335 unleashing up to it's top speed all the way to Nurburg but it's the autobahn- you gotta throttle the throttle! It did start flashing some sort of speed warning on the dash around 230kph though the engine was still pulling pretty hard. I also enjoyed the seats that can adjust for less Rubenesque bodies and the interior wasn't so sporty but sleek and leather wrapped like a dominatrix chamber. Freebie- a GPS with one of those annoying dial adjustments to find the Ring.
|Assfart (ausfahrt- German for exit) towards Nurburgring
|Nurburgring traffic jam was about 7 miles long 3 hours before the race.
|A quarter of a million spectators visit the Ring for 24 Hours. That doesn't include the 200 cars and teams. Parking for peons is located down these narrow roads in the middle of the German Forst (German for forest ;p). Even better is the walk back in the middle of the night. I took a picture but it was basically a sea of black. Bring a small flashlight or use your cell phone camera to find your car and fend off Bigfoot.
|Bucket list… and check!
|Coming or going- it's all the same traffic.
In my elementary German (where everything looks like weinerschnitzel and sounds like hacking up a hair ball), I discerned if you want to buy food/drink, get yourself a Ring card. Using Euros or your credit card (which is unlikely b/c it's hard to find a person with a swiper than accepts the States crappy pin-deficient credit cards), fill up your Ring card to use at pretty much every vendor of something consumable. Put your card on the reader at the cash register and no dirty money exchanges hands.