Hubby has developed a taste for fast cars and racing as part of his MLC. This puts demands on me to smile and nod or go along and develop a new interest. To date, smile and nod has been my strategy but after a direct offer to come and see a race, I thought it best that I check it out.
The first time hubby went to Nürburgring I had no idea what it was. I mentioned at my testosterone filled workplace that hubby was going there. That sparked a lot of interest and discussion. I learned that anyone could drive as fast as they wanted on the track and one particularly well informed fellow told me how many had died on the track in the past month and it’s nickname was Green Hell. *ahem*
After checking that our insurance was up to date, there was a fire extinguisher and helmet in the car Hubby was then allowed to go off with his friends. When he returned safely, with benign stories, my mind was put at ease and I never really thought much more about it. Hubby has visited many times now, to both drive and see races and now it was my turn.
Friday night we stayed in the town of Adenau, which is small with quite a few old timber and mortar buildings. Our hotel Blaue Ecke was perfectly located in the center with several pubs and a nightclub within walking distance. If you end up with a pounding headache after a night of drinking there are no less than four pharmacies/drugstores within 50 meters of the hotel. The neighboring church has a bad habit of ringing the bell in the middle of the night so I would recommend closing the window before you turn in.
We ate dinner at the hotel’s outdoor restaurant. I had the surf and turf salad and hubby with a juicy burger. It was satisfying and the beer was refreshing and cold! Our room was large, nicely equipped, and perfectly cleaned. The breakfast was not as impressive with dry rolls but the coffee was strong and the breakfast room was cheery. The hotel staff for the most part spoke English and was friendly and cheerful. I would definitely stay again.
In the morning, we were off to the track to see the Langstreckenmeisterschaft. The point of this race is to see who can drive the most rounds in 4 hours. To qualify one must have a Racing license either internationally issued or from the DMSB and a car meeting the regulations. Requirements for the car include appropriate safety equipment ie. roll bar, approved seat with harness, fuel cell, and fire extinguisher. The capacity of your engine determines in which class you drive. Any car can enter the race in the appropriate class. We saw a Suzuki Swift, a Ford Fiesta, a few Mini Coopers, many BMW, and Porsches and my favorite because of its sound effects a Dodge Viper. Brumm brumm! All had qualified for the race the day before.
If you are on a budget you can go almost anywhere around the track for free. If you have 12 Euros to spare you can buy an armband that gets you into the tribunes and paddock. Wandering around the paddock is a real treat. We could go behind the scenes, watch all the action in the pit, and see the teams working, sleeping, and eating. There are several tribunes with seats. Mercedes has a tribune in the middle of 2 turns and a big screen to catch action from the rest of the track, there is a large tribune at the start/ finish overlooking the paddocks and VIP lounge and a smaller one on the other side of the paddock. It is a new facility with good accessibility. The chairs in the tribune are plastic and we were glad that we had brought a foam cushion; otherwise, it would have been to cold on the tuchas to sit for any period. You can also buy one for 5 Euros at the gift shop.
The day we went to the races it was 25 degrees Celsius and sunny in town, but the races are at a higher altitude and the temperature dropped to 17 degrees. I saw some lovelies wearing tank tops and they did not last long, so dress in layers to be sure that you can stay warm. There is a lot of walking on concrete so make sure you have good shoes. You can bring a picnic basket with you or at least the couple next to us did and no one seemed to mind. On busy days, they have stands with hot dogs, french fries, beer, and beverages. The museum has a cafeteria, there is a Subway by the gift shop and outside the fence, and there are hotels and restaurants. You are not going to starve but I was surprised at the lack of vendors. I would bring a thermos with coffee next time. Restrooms are abundant and exquisitely cleaned which is good to know if you bring the coffee.
The race went wonderfully after I got my earplugs in place and I actually enjoyed it. There is very little information available about who is racing except for the German commentator on the speaker, so good thing for us Hubby went online before we left and printed off the list of the teams racing. Hubby’s favorites were all Porsches (quelle surprise) two of which driven by Norwegian teams. One of the teams included a driving instructor hubby had taken a class from so that made it extra interesting. For the 24-hour race, they had an iPhone app so spectators could keep with who was leading the race. I do not think they make the effort for shorter races. If I could have changed one thing about the facilities, it would be to have big screen with the stats. Only occasionally could decipher the information over the intercom so we could figure out who was leading the race.
As I have mentioned there were few people on race day but here is a summary of what I saw. 70 / 30 men to women ration. All age groups represented and one of the most impressive parking lots I have ever seen, above average quality cars here. It was comforting to see that, like in Norway, stag parties are pretty much the same. Friends of the groom dress him up (usually as a woman) and make him do silly things to make money, presumably for the wedding. I am pretty sure the 5 Euros I gave a charming drag queen- in-training went to purchasing more Korn but I did get a nice wet kiss on the cheek and a picture.
A fog crept in on the race during the last hour. It started to rain during the last half hour, which meant everyone had to get new tires. Racing tires are not good on wet asphalt. It was great fun watching the crew change tires at record speed so their cars could get back on for the last few minutes of the race. We stayed until the last car had passed the finish line but I think we were the last to go, the cold and rain took its toll on the spectators.
It was exciting and I would definitely go again, maybe next time to cheer for hubby as he careens around one of the many curves and turns on the track.