Took the M to the Nurburgring last weekend with a group of friends and had an AWESOME time!!
Drove from London to Folkestone to catch the Eurotunnel train to Calais in France. Then drove through France, Belgium, Netherlands and into Germany to the Ring.
The weekend was showery so it was difficult to to get a dry lap but I did get a couple of dry laps where I was really able to push the car and I have to say it performed brilliantly!!
The handling was superb and the real winner was traction and acceleration out of the corners which is key around the 140 corner ten minute lap of the Nordsheilfe.
Met several other E92 M3 owners and a E90 335i owner, all great people and enjoying their BMW machines at one of the best circuits in the world. They are on this forum so I hope they pop in and say hello!!
The journey back was brilliant too with stopovers at Zolder Race Circuit in belgium and the lovely town of Gent, also in Belgium.
EDIT - MORE DETAILED REPORT ADDED
We went from Saturday to Monday. There were about 12 cars on the trip. I convoyed over with about 8 of those cars as some of the others took the ferry the night before.
Yes, we drive our cars onto the train and the train goes under the English Channel. It takes 35 mins and we drive out the other side straight onto the French roads! Its about a £100 return. The other alternative is a 3-4 hour ferry and sea sickness. No chance of me doing that as time is critical on a trip like this.
The journey time from the train in Calais, France to the Nurburgring in Germany is about 4-4.5 hours. We got to the Ring mid afternoon on Sat. Checked into the hotel and then headed to the Ring for the evening session from 17:30 to 19:30. I had some passenger laps only to re familiarise myself with the track. Headed to nearby restaurant for the famous "Steak on a Stone" - you cook your own steak on a red hot stone on your table!
Sunday, the Ring was open all day from 08:00 to 19:30 but the forecast was cloudy with showers so it was a case of picking a good time to go out for a dry lap. I did 4 laps in the M3, slowly getting quicker and quicker. My quickest lap (my 4th) I was really hot and completely on it and was probably in the low 9 mins.
My car is stock performance wise. I had the M settings as follows:
Power: Sport Plus
I wished I could have used MDM or had DTC off completely but believe me the conditions were too scary to contemplate either of these. The car was moving around a lot even with DTC on and one mistake and your in the barriers.
The car was brilliant and I'm now falling in love with it having tracked the car in the UK the week before and now the Ring. I had several passenger laps in 335i's and I can tell you the M is so much more balanced, far less roll, and bags more grip!! The M is phenomenal in the cornes and where it really wins is its drive and acceleration out of the corners. This is key on a 73 corner, 10 minute lap!! I have to say, this car was made for the Ring and it shows that it is where the M3 was tested and developed. I loved every moment of driving the car round the Ring, absolutely epic!!
Yes, I saw the Porsche crash. He came down the hill which you can see in the picture of the White M5 Ring Taxi. As he took the right hander his back end stepped out and he was fightting the car to correct the slide but ended up over-correcting. There was tyre screeching for about 50 yards as he fought the car but ended up hitting the barriers at a good 30 mph. Both airbags deployed. Both driver (man) and passenger (blonde woman) appeared unhurt but looked shaken by the incident. Took 30 mins before the car was recovered and removed so the yellow flags were waving for some time.
Steak on a Stone again Sunday night
then we had some fun and games in a tunnel on the drive back to hotel recording our engines. The M3 sounds brilliant in a tunnel!!!
(video on page 2)
Monday we had a leisurely drive back to UK (but just 3 cars this time) with stopovers at Zolder Race Circuit and the town of Gent, both in Belgium. There was a nice memorial at Zolder to Gilles Villeneuve who died there in 1982. There was some bike testing going on so we soaked up the atmosphere for an hour. Awesome circuit by the way.
Gent is a beautiful Belgium town. Typically European and we had a nice lunch in the main square beneth the main cathedral. Then it was back in our cars to Calais in France for the train back under the English Channel to the UK.
All in all, it was an absolutely AWESOME trip. It was my second time at the Ring and I'm definitely going back next year!!
It is a absolute MUST for anyone who has an interest in cars. The Ring is a very special place indeed.
Here's some pics from the trip, hope you enjoy!