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I was driven around one of the world's best known race tracks that featured in Top Gear


There are many ways to test if someone is a true car person. For some, you cannot be a true petrolhead if you have never driven an original Mini. For others, car fanatics need to know every difference between a Ferrari 348 GTB and a Ferrari 348 GTS.

Whilst a lot of these claims are completely baseless, I was pleased to add a feather to my motoring cap when I was driven around the Nürburgring on a recent trip to Germany.

Having first opened in 1927, the Nürburgring is one of the world’s longest race tracks, with the most popular north loop spanning nearly 13 miles. Over the years it has been the home of the European Grand Prix, the World Sportscar Championship, and various challenges on Top Gear.

With significant elevations and tight corners, the circuit was considered a challenge for even some of the greatest racers of all time, with Jackie Stewart famously naming it “The Green Hell” and undisputed champion of the ring Sabine Schmitz saying “it’s really fun to scare people” on the track.

So, when the vehicle scanning device manufacturer Carly offered to take me around the track in one of the Ring Taxis, I wholeheartedly accepted their offer.

Located around an hour and a half away from Cologne, the first thing that really took me by surprise was the sheer scale of the track. Before even reaching the starting line, I went under a seemingly standard bridge.

“That was the Nürburgring,” the coach driver stated. Somehow, we had driven underneath the circuit and were now in the centre of one of the world’s most famous circuits.

However, we were far from the only ones. There are no fewer than four villages located within the track, which does feel a little odd – a bit like having a block of flats in the middle of Silverstone.

One of the coolest things about the Nürburgring is that it is technically a one-way toll road. Tourists can pull up in whatever they own, pay €30 (£25) and speed their way around the track.

Those who do not feel up to driving, however, can pay a little bit extra and take a Ring Taxi which, in my case, was a BMW M5 CS. Compared to the standard model, this sporty saloon is slightly lighter, yet makes a very impressive 626bhp.

The result is a practical five-seater that is capable of accelerating from 0-62mph in as little as three seconds and reaching a maximum speed of very nearly 190mph.

I cannot confirm that we truly pushed this BMW M5 CS to its absolute limits, however, the run on the initial part of the Döttinger Höhe saw the speedometer reach 205kph (127mph).

However, what really felt fast were the corners. In its full form, the Nürburgring has a staggering 154 corners, all of which need to be memorised if a driver wants to get a decent lap time.

Of these, perhaps the most infamous is the Carousel, a 180-degree banked corner that, unlike the rest of the Nürburgring, is made out of concrete. The constant turning, potential rise in altitude and sudden increase in bumpiness can certainly feel disconcerting.

Rather concerningly, one of the most infamous parts of the track, Adenauer Forst, has been dubbed YouTube Corner due to the amount of amateur racers losing control. Indeed, there was one driver who crashed whilst we were heading around the track, causing all traffic to slow down for a small section of the track.

Completing the circuit in about 10 minutes, I am pleased to say that I survived my trip around the Nürburgring in one piece – even if I was feeling quite grateful I had skipped dinner.

Having a spin around the track, it is no surprise why the Nürburgring is regarded so highly by petrolheads around the world. It may be a challenge, even for passengers, but is great fun for all drivers.

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