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Friday 26th July 2013


RINGSIDE SEAT: TESTING, TEASING AND EXPOSING

Working at the Nurburgring means you get to see the latest cars, or at least hear them from your desk


The last few weeks have been a real feeding frenzy for the spy photographers and supercar spotters. But working at the Nurburgring really does mean working for me. I've been flat out in the office from dawn 'til dusk each and every day and I nearly missed it all.

918 with a new exhaust? Yep, Dale missed it...
918 with a new exhaust? Yep, Dale missed it...
Mostly I've been kicking myself over missing the McLaren P1. Or, rather, the P1 XP2R. As far as I can figure out, this near-mythical beast of a hypercar might have only made just one lap of the Nordschleife. One lap!

If it's true, that single lap still bounced all over the world in a matter of hours. What a great way to 'leak' your new car. Such a fleeting appearance of the latest version of your hypercar, being driven properly hard, has to be worth a sale or two. You can watch it here, captured by a fellow 'ring resident who did actually make it trackside when the rumours began to circulate.

Then there was the new Caterham/Renault Alpine beast, which looks like it was being run out of the Ohlins workshop in recent photos.

Winding down after another long day
Winding down after another long day
Similarly, I also missed a brand new, almost-undisguised M4 plus the new Porsche 991 Turbo. Or what about a Porsche 918 testing a new exhaust configuration? Eargasm in here. I did actually hear that car, from behind two walls and over a mile away. And again, I kicked myself.

I've also heard rumours that the new Alfa Romeo 4C was on track too, and judging by the insanely happy grins on the test driver's faces, it's probably pretty damn good.

Luckily for me, one of the crazier new models to be tested at the 'Ring in the last couple of weeks did come and knock on my door. Well actually, the MD and CCO did the knocking, the car just sat outside. Warmed up and ready to go.

Graham MacDonald and David Ridley asked me if I'd like to lap the final development mule of the new 620R just before the official unveiling. Even with a stinking cold, I could hardly say no.

Even with man flu, Dale couldn't turn this down
Even with man flu, Dale couldn't turn this down
I gave a big thumbs-up, grabbed my helmet and GoPro. Graham even jumped in the passenger seat! And in doing so, we both took our place in the parade of Nurburgring PR, teasing and testing by thrashing the arse off it in a very public fashion.

Not that I care. I bloody love the Nurburgring, I love the cars that lap here and I love the people that still care enough to make decisions like 'Let's throw a million-pound hypercar around the world's most mental racetrack. It'll be worth a few photos.'

Cynics will point to the Nurburgring as some sort of worthless media circus full of both real spy photographers as well as bought and paid for PR equivalents, but the cynics don't have as much fun as real petrolheads. Enjoy the lap. I did. [Yes, not the first time it's been up on PH but worth another viewing! - Ed.]

 

Author: Dale Lomas
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