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16-19th September 2011

Only my third trip out this year, but in a new car. I bought a 924 Carrera GT replica that had previously spent a lot of time at the Nurburgring. It's a 924S shell with 968 engine and transmission. Fully stripped out, it weighs about 1,000kg and has about 240bhp. Even EMC Motorsport , which prepared the car, called it "The Widowmaker", so I took it to Bedford Autodrome on a Circuit Days track day to make sure I was man enough for the car.

It turned out to be very quick, and surprisingly easy to drive, the only drama being a tendency to lock up the rear under hard braking. It has fantastic grip on the semi-slicks included. Unfortunately, the weather forecast at the Ring said there was a chance of rain over the weekend, so I swapped the semi-slicks for road tyres on D90 wheels. They don't look as good as the Fuchs that are normally on the car, but I wasn't going to risk the Ring on the wrong tyres.

I left work Friday lunchtime and got to the Ferry for the 4pm ferry. I met Rob Clarke and the guys on the Porscheball trip. The ferry docked at 7.45pm CET and by 8pm I was on the road at a respectable 80mph average through France and Belgium. The roads were heavy but traffic was fluid and the weather stayed dry. The roads in Belgium go from smooth to dog rough, and by the time I reached Brussels I was getting a bit tired of the tyre roar and lack of stereo in my stripped out car. After four hours on the continent I reached the Nurburgring at 12am.

Saturday was dry in the morning and slightly wet in the afternoon, I managed four laps in the dry and another two in the wet. The Porsche is a new car to me, and I'm still not comfortable at the Ring in the wet, so I left the tally for that day at six and spectated and took passenger laps in a stripped out BMW E36 328 for the rest of the day.

There was a lot of traffic at the Ring, but the queues to get on track weren't long, and in fact it took longer to get off than on. It seemed that a good proportion of the Porsche GT2s and GT3s were at the Ring this weekend. Obviously they flew and I had no hope in keeping up with them. I think there must be a lot of pressure to drive these cars fast on track as well. Saturday night I had steak on a stone at Pistenklause and met Jochen from Frozenspeed.com , then over to Fuchsroehre to see Michela and have a few more drinks.

Sunday started wet after overnight rain but dried out by about lunchtime. It wasn't raining in the morning but the track was greasy and there was still a lot of moisture in the air. I tiptoed around the first lap, trying to remember where the track was slippery and finding the braking limits. After rain the Ring can dry in some places and remain damp in others. Corners shielded by trees are particularly risky, because the sun can't get through to dry the tarmac, and cars pounding round can't clear all of the water.

Another five laps to make eleven total for the weekend. Not a heroic effort, but the wet track kept me away more often than I'd like.

Thanks very much to Jochen from Frozenspeed.com for the photos. If Jochen is out on track when you are at the Ring, you can usually catch him in the Pistenklause in the evening where he sells his pictures.

More shots from Rob Clarke of Porscheball.com


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