I'd like to post my 2p worth
First of all thanks very much to the forum guys for setting this up and giving me and my good friend Steve a chance to join in the great Nordschleife Experience (even got the lingo).
We journeyed over on Saturday, by chance an hour after the Dino crew set off and had a really easy trip through France, Belgium and Germany although our choice to take the shortcut through the forest road between Belgium and Germany was punishing on the suspension (apparently caused by tanks ripping up the road, although why they can't tarmac it is beyond me...). Stopped in Tienen for lunch (and again on Monday - couldn't resist the charms of this little Belgium village square).
Steve decided on getting to the Ring to have a couple of laps and thrashed his Vauxhall round without incident, giving me a flavour of what this crazy experience is all about. We also walked the perimeter, witnessed the eerie silence that descends when they close the track and took a chance to view the DMT on the Nurburgring from a distance.
My only regret is not being organised enough to meet up with any other people although the intent was there. Having said that, the attractions of our hotel (the Wilhelmshöhe in Auderath) are not be to be missed. Fantastic food, a very friendly and welcoming hostess and great, relaxing country views. Next door is a very handy petrol station and we could have used the garages for any repairs, changes etc. but fortunately didn't need to.
I did get to say "hello" to Ant and Matt on Track Day so not a complete loner!
Sunday was my first two laps and combined a mixture of fear (as the GTA3 appeared from nowhere in my mirrors), exhilaration at getting a couple of corners sort of right and complete apprehension that I would end up stacking it. We also took in the local villages and sites, 'enjoyed' getting lost trying to find alternative viewing points and admired the guts of the person taking their G reg Ford Escort round on TouristenFahrten. Until something broke.
Finally, the big day dawned and despite getting up at 6 and cramming a breakfast PDQ, we arrived late for the briefing! Not to worry, we got the gist and Dino had helpfully explained beforehand all the rules and what to do. Slightly concerned about the story of a Ring Car blowing a head gasket the day before due to the 34-38 degrees temperatures, I only completed single laps to start.
Best fun I've had in living memory. The last three laps were stitched together and although other forum members will I'm sure only remember me as that "slow git in the 335d" I put as much into it as I could and was buzzing at the end of the session.
Very, very glad I upgraded the brakes and put the Goodyears on all round (thanks Dino!). It was all over too quickly.
And in common with the rest of the posts, here's proof I was there! That Carousel is..... interesting.