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Friday 23rd March 2012

Ringside Seat: Ring testing shifts up a gear

Nurburgring 'Industry Pool' takes 16 weeks of track action this year



You've no doubt noticed that amid a global 'lack of growth', sales of premium sports cars and luxury vehicles are still booming. And that's great news for the Nurburgring. Because alongside public driving and racing, industry testing is one of the staples that keeps this place going.


Manufacturers from all over the world join forces to hire the whole 21km Nordschleife for extended periods. By forming this 'Industry Pool' or i-pool, they can secure massive slots of the calendar at very reasonable prices. This year they've booked a whopping 16 weeks of solid Nurburgring Nordschleife testing. Two to four weeks more than previous years, and rumours are that more dates could be added soon.

All the big names are sat around the table of i-pool. Companies such as BMW, Porsche, Mercedes Benz, VW and Audi are all obvious. But there are plenty more than that; GM, Aston Martin, Jaguar Land Rover, Ford and Chrysler are present alongside many or all of their sub-brands. Fiat, Hyundai, Alfa, Ferrari and Lamborghini have all been increasing their Nordschleife test time in recent years, as well as British firms like McLaren and Lotus. I've still not even come close to naming all the car manufacturers here, and there are dozens more specialist parts and tyres manufacturers, and tuners too, that I haven't mentioned.


But what I found so interesting this year, despite a massive increase in track hire cost, and that prevailing financial climate, is that 2012 will be one of the biggest years ever for industry testing. Last week the first i-pool session got underway, and despite it being early in the year and only attended by local firms, there were often dozens of cars going past in a minute or less. Leaning against the fence, trying to recognise heavily disguised cars by brake disc size or exhaust configuration, I was expecting a couple to trundle past per 10 minute 'lap'. Instead I was watching up to a dozen camouflaged prototypes howl past every minute. Click the video below to see what I mean.

Whether this method of testing makes your car better or worse for the purposes you buy it, I have no idea. That's a massive question for another day. But you've got to admit, that the sight of the latest 911s and M-cars being pushed around the Nordschleife for hundreds or thousands of laps is at least slightly impressive. And the manufacturers show no signs of slowing down on that approach...



 

 

Dale Lomas
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Original Poster:

3,363 posts

61 months

[news] 
Friday 23rd March 2012 quote quote all
Good God there's some good noise in there...

Oddball RS

1,431 posts

104 months

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Friday 23rd March 2012 quote quote all
Just what we need, more new car testing done at the ring. Now if only my local council can up their game at tarmac maintenance.

Aids0G

109 posts

35 months

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Friday 23rd March 2012 quote quote all
love the mini hanging on to the bmw's very funny would love to watch the whole lap and see how muc of a diffrence there is!!

mattharvey12

5 posts

48 months

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Friday 23rd March 2012 quote quote all
Looks awesome, Love this track.

I am worried though, with more testing being done, does this still mean less track time for tourists like myself??

or is this being sorted now the nur mafia have been given the boot..

ghibbett

1,412 posts

71 months

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Friday 23rd March 2012 quote quote all
Last time I was there it was industry pool feel - brilliant for spotting prototypes. This last time was Aug 2009 and there was a McLaren Mp12-C there. Shows how early you can see the cars.

I will be back at the 'Ring a week today, but don't think it's pool week, however I don't think there's the touristen fahrt either confused
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4340BB

756 posts

94 months

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Friday 23rd March 2012 quote quote all
Last year we enjoyed watching the I pool testing but did not enjoy them eating into a TF evening session.
The noise from the AMG Mercs was sublime though.

DodoRacing

390 posts

93 months

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Friday 23rd March 2012 quote quote all
I always wondered, whether they get the urge to race with each other or not?
When I had a BMW Training few years back, the instructor said he had done 150K Km on the Ring testing new models.

Irrotational

644 posts

74 months

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Friday 23rd March 2012 quote quote all
Most importantly - how do you get to be a driver for this test pool!?

adz13091982

165 posts

54 months

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Friday 23rd March 2012 quote quote all
Nice noises going on there, Is it me or did the BMW's seem to be going at it harder than the Porsches?

CarsGoVroom

105 posts

34 months

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Friday 23rd March 2012 quote quote all
Absolutely love seeing them go round in convoy like that.

Picard

38 posts

66 months

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Friday 23rd March 2012 quote quote all
Oddball RS said:
Just what we need, more new car testing done at the ring. Now if only my local council can up their game at tarmac maintenance.
Can see how this might be frustrating for the average customer.

At least they are sending out 2-3 examples of the same vehicle (bar the mini) so are probably assessing different chassis set ups, tyres, engine maps etc.

With the reduced track time, they are able to put up the cost of lap prices as demand is the same if not increased.

dhf

1,103 posts

80 months

[news] 
Saturday 24th March 2012 quote quote all
Whats all the writing on the tarmac ?

PascalBuyens

2,868 posts

168 months

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Saturday 24th March 2012 quote quote all
dhf said:
Whats all the writing on the tarmac ?
Markings left behind by visitors. Usually done at night... (Not that I would know LOL)

ukaskew

875 posts

107 months

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Saturday 24th March 2012 quote quote all
Do Renaultsport test there? They seem to set up cars quite nicely for UK roads (that still handle brilliantly).

Dale Lomas

152 posts

41 months

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Saturday 24th March 2012 quote quote all
All the recent Renaultsport models were 'finished off' at the 'Ring with a setup and quick laptime. They don't do the whole cycle here, just the polishing I believe...

peteO

1,599 posts

71 months

[news] 
Saturday 24th March 2012 quote quote all
just makes me realise how sh!t my job actually is!

EDLT

14,716 posts

92 months

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Saturday 24th March 2012 quote quote all
Excellent, more cars unable to cope with bumps without snapping the driver in half.

F1GTRUeno

2,501 posts

104 months

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Saturday 24th March 2012 quote quote all
The M3's sound so good.

paranha

606 posts

128 months

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Saturday 24th March 2012 quote quote all
While you are all saying how wonderful this news is---YOU are shooting yourselves in your right foot, due to LESS time for TF-YOU will suffer and LESS time for closed circuit one and two day deals that are the Safer way to drive NS---So Whats GOOD???

tommy vercetti

8,059 posts

49 months

[news] 
Saturday 24th March 2012 quote quote all
Nice video, beemas sound good.
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