Monthly Archives: February 2013

Bucket list: Trip to Nurburgring Nordschleife

SCS Attendee Rich crosses one off the bucket list:

Trip to Nurburgring Nordschleife

Rich has been following SCS since its inaugural season. With previous employment in the automotive industry he knows his way around a car. As life goes on we must make changes, for Rich that meant leaving behind the automotive industry for new ventures. Luckily for him his passion for things with wheels still lives on and when he can get away to enjoy that he takes full advantage of it.

Words by: Rich

This past summer my work travels took me to Frankfurt Germany for the tri-annual Achema Show. What seemed like a trip to not so exciting pharmaceutical trade show turned into a trip of a lifetime!

Before departing for Achema I was offered time off during the show to roam Germany. This could mean only one thing; a trip to Nürburgring! For those of you who are not familiar with the automotive world, Nürburgring is the automotive mecca; the top destinations for any enthusiast. This was an opportunity to check an item off my bucket list and fulfill a long time dream of driving the green hell!

Quickly I began researching the ins and outs of the trip and what it takes to drive the ring. Nurgburgring.uk  proved to be a goldmine of information and is a must visit site for anyone planning a trip there. I contacted Rent4Ring and RSR Nürburgring about the possibility of renting a track prepped car for laps on the ring, both of the companies were extremely helpful. RSR even had an U.S. representative give me a call to further explain some of the packages and answer any questions I might have. Needless to say I highly recommend contacting either Dale Lomas @ Rent4Ring or Antony Ashley @ RSR for Nurburgring vehicle arrangements. Dale also happens to run the all things Nurburgring blog Bridge To Gantry.

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So there I was arriving at the ring. Ask anyone familiar with the place and they’ll tell you that weather is simply unpredictable at the track. The original plan of driving on day one and roaming the area to take some pictures  on day two went out the window. A  cloud had settled on the track delivering rainy conditions and practically zero visibility.

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The weather forced the officials to close the track and it looked like it was going to stay that way for the length of my trip. I couldn’t believe that I made it all the way out here only to be defeated by the weather!

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Luckily there was still plenty to see at the ring…

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including the Ringwerks museum filled with some pretty iconic race vehicles.

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DTM cars have always fascinated me, the aero on this Opel Calibra is no joke

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The place is just filled with race car eye candy

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including some late model F1 cars

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The iconic 1984 Mercedes Benz 190E 2.3-16s,- this was the vehicle that put the spot light on Senna!

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Michael Schumacher’s Benetton Camel Ford F1 car

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Can you imagine having to fiddle with all of the adjustments and concentrate on driving?

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The dissected BMW F1 car was one of my favorite displays in the museum.

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Yup, Europeans race trucks too, youtube European truck racing; those things are insane!

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This shot of the BMW M3 race car concludes Day 1 pictures of my trip. I wish I could have taken my a time and tour the area more; however rain and zero visibility made it impossible to see anything let alone take any pictures.

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Luckily the weather did let up the next day and it seemed like I might get a chance to drive after all. My day started with a 9am appointment at RSR for the RSR Nurburgring road tour…

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A lovely Lotus Exige S was waiting for me!

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This is definitely a view I could get used to!

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The tour takes place on the amazing mountain roads around the Nurburgring. Luckily for me I was the only customer on the tour that morning so Antony took his time to show me both the historic places and some good viewing corners on the track. He drove the blue Exige and had me follow in the white one;  keeping up with him was not easy :D

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The tour gave ma chance to take a few quick snaps of the test cars lapping the Nordschleife.

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It didn’t take long to spot some new cars…

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The 2013 SL500 looked quite good.

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Oddly enough there were a lot of SUVs being tested that day.

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A new 911 Carrera made the mix…

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as well  as an Aventador, the sound of this car was pure music to my ears.

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Jaguar had plenty of cars out on the ring

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It was really cool watching the cars battle the Green Hell

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A Jaguar with fender flares?

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BMW 7 series looked quite composed on the track

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You could tell the cars were being pushed

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we even spotted some friendly competition between the test drivers.

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While at the track I ran into some familiar faces; meet Jessi and Patrick from Autoblog’s The List! I’ve been following the web series since the begging and I instantly recognized Jessi & Patrick. Meeting them made my trip even that more exciting and I am super stoked to see their web-series turn into a TV show.

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This ultra quiet R8 sneaked up on me

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I must say it was quite odd seeing the car at speed without the sound of a roaring engine.

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Unfortunately my time on the tour ran out and it was time to return the Exiege back to RSR. Big thanks to Antony for the tour!

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I left RSR still wanting to drive the ring; however the Exige S is way to much of a car for my first time out on the Nordschleife. Luckily Dale from Rent 4Ring called to let me know that the MX5 I had reserved the day before was available for the public session that afternoon. I postponed my drive back to Frankfurt and jumped on the opportunity to finally drive the  famous Nurburgring Nordschleife!

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a shot of me in action from  NURBURGRING-PHOTOS.COM

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I found the pictures on  ringportal.nl , a great resource with a list of all nurburgring photographers and available galleries indexed by  dates.

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While in the paddock I ran into Jessi & Patrick again, this time in the company of the  “Queen of the Nürburgring” herself, the one and only Sabine Schmitz! Meeting Sabine absolutely made  my Nurburgring trip am experience I will cherish for the rest of my days.

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I even surprised Dale with returning the car free of any damages. He mentioned I was among very few customers who they’ve let take the MX5 out on their fist ring outing. I even got to sign one of the doors in their showroom to commemorate my trip!  Unfortunately I do not have any video of my driving the ring, but I can defiantly tell you that the planing for the next trip has already started!

Thanks For reading.

Rich

Supercar Spotlight — SCS On Site at McLaren P1 Preview

McLaren P1 Unveiling at Lake Forest Sports Cars

Photo By Matt Magnino | The Photomotive

As automotive enthusiasts we all go about our daily lives sitting in traffic behind econoboxes, walking past endless aisles of crossovers at the grocery store, and once in a while (when we’re lucky) running across something that gets our engines running. For me it can be as simple as driving past a car my father once owned during my childhood, receiving a friendly wave or “Hey whatcha got in that thing!?!?” from someone at a red light, or seeing a car maker introduce something brand new that resonates back to a car that has always held a special place in my heart.

Petrol heads are often asked what our favorite cars are. Like most, I have many favorites: favorite classics, favorite muscle cars, favorite contemporary cars, supercars etc. Atop my all-time consolidated list of favorites lies only one, the McLaren F1. A car so special, few outside the enthusiast circle have even heard of it let alone know any small morsel of its illustrious, impressive story. I remember hearing rumors in the late 2000’s of a new McLaren and my heart was set aflutter. When the design was unveiled in 2009 it evoked memories of my plethora of McLaren F1 desktop wallpapers long since forgotten.

Photo by Dan Chmielinski

As the first cars were completed and the press tour began I watched videos and read articles as the McLaren MP4-12C became the talk of the town. The car received rave reviews; presenters stacked it up against the Ferrari 458 Italia, the Porsche 911 GT2 RS, even the Ariel Atom, but for me something was missing. The car didn’t give me the warm fuzzy feeling I get even to this day when I so much as hear the name “McLaren F1”. If it wasn’t the confusing name (which by the way is completely ridiculous, MP4-12C, give me a break) perhaps it was that everyone had simply caught up? Maybe Ferrari and Porsche had covered ground that McLaren had lost while taking a break from street cars for almost two decades; or maybe I simply missed the third seat.

Photo by Dan Chmielinski

What it was, I decided, is that McLaren had produced a mainstream car. Not mainstream in the sense that it suddenly fell within budget of the masses, but mainstream in the world of supercars. The F1 didn’t compete with Ferrari nor Porsche, it was in a class of its own and therein lied the problem. The Mp4-12C may have been and may still be the best street car on the market (I wouldn’t know, my invite to drive one may have been lost in the mail) but it’s not in a class of it’s own as the F1 was, literally.

Photo by Dan Chmielinski

Fast forward a few years and murmurs of a new car, the P1, began to abound. P1 sounds like F1; maybe I had been looking at things the wrong way. Maybe McLaren had introduced the MP4-12C to get their name back on the map in the eyes of consumers whilst secretly working on the next generation. Could the P1 be a true successor to the F1? When the exterior design of the P1 was officially unveiled at the Paris motor show in 2012 it became evident to the world that this was not intended to be an ordinary car, anything but. The design was futuristic enough that it appeared as if it could have been a far-reaching concept car yet the people at McLaren insisted it was slated for production.

Photo by Dan Chmielinski

One day in early January, Zach Chapman, a loyal SCS attendee and frequent poster to our Supercar Saturdays Facebook group posted a photo of a P1. The car was not on stage at an auto show nor at an elaborate event, it sat simply parked under a lift at Lake Forest Sportscars / McLaren Chicago a few minutes drive from my house.

McLaren P1 on Lift at LFSC

Photo by Zach Chapman

Almost instantaneously, I received a text message from Jeremy Cliff of The Photomotive saying he’d do anything to photograph it. I made a few calls to the great people at LFSC who were extremely generous in extending invitations to an very exclusive event — the Chicago unveiling of the P1 design. Here, without further adieu is the result courtesy of Jeremy Cliff and Matt Magnino of The Photomotive. After you finish drooling over these poster-worthy shots, scroll down for a video of the P1 in testing.

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What to expect at the 2013 Chicago Auto Show

For those of you who missed it, we’ve been covering the 2013 Chicago Auto Show on Twitter and Facebook and Jeremy made a quick post from the road yesterday. The show runs for 10 days and tickets are available everywhere from Groupon to your local dealer and even, believe it or not, at the event itself! It’s a great, family friendly activity that shows you the current market trends and even predicts the future of the automotive landscape.

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Note the outline of the Nurburgring embossed in the Viper door pull!

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Jeremy waiting in line for coffee in the VW booth

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Tanner Faust

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Ken Block

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Behind the scenes

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Quick and Dirty: 2013 Chicago International Auto Show via Camera Phone

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This morning the SCS team is very excited to be at the Chicago International Auto Show for 2013 Media Day! We have been (and will continue to be) providing coverage across our social media outlets (you know, Facebook and Twitter) throughout the day as well as making some subsequent blog posts with more respectable images later in the day. This is just a small preview of what the show has to offer, so check it out over the next 10 days at McCormick place!

 

Cadillac ELR? ATS-V? What could it be? EDIT: It's an ELR

Cadillac ELR? ATS-V? What could it be? EDIT: It’s an ELR

...an ELR parked here in the parking lot on purpose with a dirty window?

…an ELR parked here in the parking lot on purpose with a dirty window?

You'd never guess what this is! But It's the best looking Corolla we've ever seen!

You’d never guess what this is! But It’s the best looking Corolla we’ve ever seen!

The future is near!

The future is near!

Excited for the Toyota pickup concept unveil later in the day!

Excited for the Toyota pickup concept unveil later in the day!

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FANTASTICALLY engaging display by Honda

FANTASTICALLY engaging display by Honda

The new Viper

The new Viper

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From over Function? Maybe, but we wouldn't object to some off-road CPD YouTube clips!

From over Function? Maybe, but we wouldn’t object to some off-road CPD YouTube clips!

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We like the Rally Miata

We like the Rally Miata

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Cool Frost Blue wrapped Beetle

Cool Frost Blue wrapped Beetle

 

Brendon with Ken Block and Tanner Faust

Brendon with Ken Block and Tanner Faust

 

Modified Ford Fiesta ST

Modified Ford Fiesta ST

 

Modified Ford Focus ST

Modified Ford Focus ST

 

Sure a Touareg towed a 747 on Top Gear...

Sure a Touareg towed a 747 on Top Gear…

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The best, most ingenious piece of media swag

The best, most ingenious piece of media swag

 

Laguna Seca...ish

Laguna Seca…ish

 

Nismo Juke, better than the plain Juke but still not enough power for me...come on Nissan, make a more powerful, stick-shift  Juke I can afford.

Nismo Juke, better than the plain Juke but still not enough power for me…come on Nissan, make a more powerful, stick-shift Juke I can afford.

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I'm a sucker for orange!

I’m a sucker for orange!

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Nicely Customized Lexus LS, Would you call it VIP style?

Nicely Customized Lexus LS, Would you call it VIP style?

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...I have my doubts about this car, but I'm still a sucker for orange

…I have my doubts about this car, but I’m still a sucker for orange

 

Another of my favorite displays

Another of my favorite displays

 

If the ELR is in here, why is it dressed in camo out there?

If the ELR is in here, why is it dressed in camo out there?

 

LF-A, Always a show-stopper

LF-A, Always a show-stopper

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The TURBO Camaro

The TURBO Camaro

2013 Camaro SS 1LE, makes us wonder how the upcoming Z/28 will top this one!

2013 Camaro SS 1LE, makes us wonder how the upcoming Z/28 will top this one!

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