I'm not in Germany though. I'm in my living room, reaping the benefits of a recent switch to freelancing. And access to the beta test version of Gran Turismo Sport. Nothing could possibly go wrong with these two events coinciding. Nothing whatsoever.
Only I'm not living out fantasies. I'm recalling actual memories. And this is the weird bit. There's a generation of virtual drivers with a forensic knowledge of every last inch of the Nordschleife, but who have never seen the actual track in their lives. The dangers of what happens to those who do are well documented. Like the friend-of-a-friend who span a 350Z on one of the scary fast left-handers on the way up Kesselchen "because it looked faster than that in Gran Turismo".
I've had an on-off and occasionally intense relationship with Gran Turismo over the years. Similar to that I've had with the real Nurburgring to be fair. Currently it's very much on with both and I'm attempting to re-learn the track for the game. But I realised the other night I'm kind of doing it the other way around from most, because I'm leaning on track knowledge amassed from real life and applying to the virtual representation. Not the other way around.
The boundaries are sufficiently blurred now that this is entirely possible, in both directions. Jann Mardenborough and other GT Academy winners have proven gaming talents can translate to a successful racing career in the real world. And at a slightly less glamorous level my Gran Turismo schooled knowledge of Tsukuba helped massively when I unexpectedly found myself racing there for real. And my pre-race warm-up at Polyphony's HQ ended up being to within tenths of my actual race pace.
What does this prove, other than having time on your hands and a games console is a dangerous combination? Well, all those years of driving to Germany, terrifying credit card bills, awful experiences in Belgian motorway service stations, endless steaks and beer in the Pistenklause and the company of a great bunch of blokes to share it with weren't entirely wasted. Because my living room is now a waft of stale Bitburger away from being a teleportation device direct to the 'ring.
Two things to draw from this. One, I need to get out more and start earning some money. Two, I may have to start pricing up ferry crossings. Because there's another itch to scratch.