To go to the Nurburgring without racing, is like going to the October Fest in Munich and not drinking. You just sit there watching the others having fun, showing a happy face and pretending it’s all cool while itching to be involved.
My good friends Buzz and Jordan are racing again in the European Masters Radical Championship, sharing an SR8 in the top class. Rather excitedly I accepted the offer to travel with them, soak up the atmosphere, spend time with friends and generally kick back for a couple of days. The F1 track that they would be running on that weekend is basically a baby Nordschleife but much less intimidating, safer and far easier for people like me to make my way around
When it comes to the guys ride for the weekend – The Radical SR8, you could say it was my wet dream. Undoubtedly my favourite race car I have raced and the only machine that makes me forget about anything and anyone.
Would you believe the Radical made me drop all the interest for saloon cars and the 600+ hp super cars. That mind sound odd to you however the nimble, agile, and sexy looking little car can hang with an F3 car on every race track and needs telemetry management to really explore the limits of the downforce and of the mechanical grip.
I am staring at the cars in the garage while the Team AUH mechanics are prepping the SR8. With just over 500 Kgs (approx), 380 hp at 10,500 rpm and downforce, it’s like having 1,000 bhp in a Porsche Carrera.
Frustration is kicking in…I can’t stay any longer in the pit as I’m losing my patience. I have my camera and my new lens, so instead of sitting in the garage, I steal Tom’s (Head Mechanic) quad to move quickly from corner to corner and disappear off.
Weather is perfect, the sun is shining! What more could I ask for? It’s free practice and the 37 Radical (yes thirty seven, like Dubai, same same) are stretching their muscles on the german tarmac. I find some good spots where I can have my and start shooting in peace.
I still thinking I should be racing. I have my licence in my pocket but I am missing the most important thing. Money. Damn!
Apart from this strong itch, the show that is being put on in front of me is truly magnificent. SR3s, SR5s SR8s and SR8 LMs break the silence with their war yells.
I am in one of the very few, genuine, true motorsport temples of the planet and enjoying every single minute. I started to think about our sadly departed friend Christophe, in a place he loved. This time last year he was tearing around this track on route to winning the Masters Championship.
So to avoid getting to upset I jump on the quad and move to the Schumacher S. What a corner this is; it doesn’t look that uphill on TV but it’s seriously elevated. The cars come from the hairpin and take it flat out in 3rd or 4th gear, depending on the ratio. It’s blind and you have to trust your line. If you mess up, you go straight in the gravel to your right.
When afternoon comes, I decide that I need to drive. So not having a race car to abuse I jump into the rental. An Audi A3, and head towards the Nordschleife for a couple of laps. I have been here before and I believe I remember all the 70+ corners but I wasn’t expecting as many cars as I encountered. I count more GT3′s than Al Nabooda can sell, stacks of the locals favourite, the M3 and the usual bunch of Elise’, Clios, and Focus RS’s. I manage to bag a couple of laps, not embarrassing myself too much. As they say “To leave the Nordschleife in one piece is already a good effort”
Sunday it’s race day and I hate it. Frustratingly I don’t like going to watch races that I can’t race in. As you can see I’m a very bad spectator. I need to dig deep inside myself to keep smiling, since, at the end of the day, I am with my best friends, in a gorgeous corner of the world, far away from the humid Dubai.
Sadly the boys have very bad luck. The still manage a good 4th place in Race1, however the motor died in Race 2 while Jordan and Buzz where coming back from the 37th position to the 6th.
I feel proud of them, I really do. I’m now itching for the chance to get back…this time not watching!
- Luca Cima