On return to the car park the all red line up had now been joined by a red UK Mk1 MR2, a red Alfa 156 and a shiny red Norwegian Volvo, whose owner Matt had been making friends with. Turns out the Volvo was only a week old too. We found Matt in typical Renault fashion with the bonnet up, cleaning and stickering up the engine bay and trying to eradicate the mouse that had chewed the wiring and eaten half of the warranty sticker. The first trip back to the dealer is going to be interesting...
As we patiently waited for the track to open at 2:30, lunch was served in house, finally making use of the cheese and meat we had bought on our first day. It was clear I was the only one to have made ‘car sandwiches’ in the past. As the others scrambled around for a knife, I broke open my roll and utilised an expired lap card to spread my butter. Like a pro.
It was soon time to make our way up to the entrance. It was a Friday afternoon, the town had been deserted most of the week, it was end of season. It was going to be quiet, right? Of course not. The sweltering hot sun probably had an effect, but the main car park being packed, we settled for the gravel patch on the opposite side of the roundabout. We were early and the track was still closed, so we wandered around the paddock instead, admiring the metal on show. M3, 911, Corvette, M3, 911, California, M3, 911 etc...Sat outside the Devils Diner was a beautiful 458 Italia, in Giallo (yellow for the non-Italian speaking) on the much nicer standard wheels (rather than the optional ones that most 458s seem to wear). The combination of an Italian supercar on Russian plates, with an oriental driver speaking with a German accent seemed a little odd, but we were impressed all the same.
With Woz’s car out of action, I bought his remaining three laps. A muffled announcement came over the tannoy which would mean only one thing. There was a dash on as everybody flooded up to the entrance barriers. Having made this mistake in the past, i waited for the initial rush to die down. We had four hours today, I wasn’t wasting a lap going at at it’s busiest. Rich and Adam took the track a couple of minutes later. Not long after, the ambulance and tow truck were called. Oh dear. Please not one of our guys. Cars piled off the track and as the time went on, the joke of Rich spinning became more serious concern. There was a brief pause of cars through the exit and we still hadn’t seen Rich or Adam. This was quite worrying. Moments later, a red MR2 exited and shortly after that, Rich made his appearance. It was a relief.
The loudspeaker sounded again. “The Nordschleife will be closed for at least 45 minutes”. We sat in the car park, I could feel myself getting sunburnt. I even attempted to raise the soft top, before realising I’d fitted the tonneau cover. Rookie error.
Another 10 minutes of burning the side of my head, I decided the head back to the hotel to rest on the balcony and wait for the track to open. The others followed suit. We waited for almost an hour, constantly refreshing the webcam feed before seeing cars racing down the hill to Breidscheid. Getting late in the day, I was going out of my only lap. The initial rush would have died down by the time I reached the entrance and I decided to go straight on. Rich parked up and hopped into the passenger seat as I queued in the traffic.
The barriers were quite clear, and the lap started fairly quiet. I was a little nervous on my way into Tiergarten on my first lap since the spin there, though it was apparent that the track had much more grip today and I soon found a comfortable pace, taking all of my favourite kerbs and giving Rich a ‘medium’ lap. It got a little busier after the hotel and I stuck the indicator on a few times for faster cars to come through but it had been a much better experience for both of us. I came off track where the car parks were all now full and found a space in the field next to anther New Formula Red pre-facelift S2000. Car friend! With a whole day of the track being open tomorrow, I called it a day. Not long after, another announcement was made and the track was to be shut for the rest of the day. Just as Matt had purchased another lap and made his way through to the barrier.
After the drive back, we had a decision to make regarding our final two meals. Only one place would be fitting for the final night, we’d eaten in Pinocchio’s the night before, so we decided on Blaue Ecke for the penultimate evening. We drove down and parked in the layby / bus stop in the centre of the town, a little unsure whether this was allowed. An Italian Mini was already there, but I know from previous experience that the Italians make up their own rules.
As we were seated in the restaurant, on an uncomfortably low table, we enquired with the waiter who reassured us it was fine, before discouraging us moments later as it wasn’t his problem. Slightly odd sense of humour. He soon came back to tell us off as pyromaniac Rich started to burn the beer mats. I left the biggest surprise for Woz and Matt who were slightly freaked out by the knight at the top of the stairs on the way round to the toilets. He seems to have lost his head and an arm since last time.
Various unusual dishes were ordered, some local speciality sausages and noodles that looked like chips. I played it safe with a ‘plain’ cheeseburger, or so I thought, forgetting that ‘plain’ to Germans means you still get some odd flavoured sauce. I let Adam help me out with part of it as I’d couldn’t cope with any more of the sauce flavour and he’d not got on too well with his sausages.
On our way out, we crossed the road to look at the sign that I have missed on all my previous trips, pointing the directions to various racetracks across the world. Crossing the road to the parked cars, which hadn’t been towed away thankfully, Matt faced some more bad German sense of humour as a drunk guy started to apologise for some damage to the Clio. His friend reassured us that it was OK, to which Matt retorted “It’s not OK!” The front corner was checked for damage but with nothing being found it appeared that it was some kind of joke. Either that or some beer had been spilt on the car, probably actually cleaning it a little. I got in the drivers seat and took us back, still slightly confused by the car that does everything for you, not having to put the lights on, or the keys in the ignition.
Back at the hotel we were on watch for the Volvo security car now, to make sure it was a regular thing and not just somebody after us. Being still relatively early, we got a DVD on for a while. I’d love to tell you how good Outsiders is, but having fallen asleep half an hour in and not waking up until the laptop battery was minutes from dieing, I didn’t really see much of it. Matt was now also fast asleep. Woz and Rich went to bed and having woke up from my power nap full of energy, I sat out on the balcony to keep a watch out. 10 minutes later, bright lights came down the hill from Wehrseifen and as I looked into Ex Muhle I could see the unmistakeable shape of Volvo tail lights. Mission complete, it was time to try to get some more sleep.