Words and pictures by Geoffrey Viot
I spent satursday's night in Cologne, Germany - fiefdom of Porsche and just an hour's drive from the Nürburgring. It was raining quite heavily thirty kilometers away from the circuit and I could see from far away that the Eifel region was overcasted by a large grey sky. I drove through the forest and just can't miss the several Nürburgring signs along the way.
Coming at the Nürburgring for the first time ever, the facility looked huge to me. I am used to go to Spa-Francorchamps but the Nürburgring offers way more shops and stalls, and the covered sections are numerous. And... there is less French.
After a walk through the paddock, empty due to the rain and this early hour, let's go to the media center to watch the second Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 race of the weekend. Sacha Fenestraz won that race by a large margin thanks to a stunning performance under tricky conditions. The series features a 30-car grid, which is impressing when live at the circuit.
The World Endurance Championship organizes a 30-minute autograph session for the fans in the paddock. And despite the rain, there were no lack of fans. Especially in front of the LMP1-H drivers of Porsche and Toyota. The drivers were all kind and friendly with the fans, giving them time to take photos and even having a little chat. Among them, Bruno Senna was all smiles and relax. He finished the race second in his LMP2 category.
To observe the World Series Formula V8 3.5 race 2, I decided to go to the main grandstand (the BMW M-Power stand) in front of the pitlane. In spite of only thirteen cars on track, there was some action during the race mainly due to the changeable weather conditions and particularly thanks to a rookie named Alex Palou. For his first weekend in the category, the Spaniard snatched the two pole positions and a superb victory by dominating the field and having a great car control on a damp track. Then, the audience started to fill up the grandstands to be prepared to watch the most important race of the day, the WEC 6 hours of Nürburgring.
Getting some food with just two euros and a credit card in the pockets might seem legitimate, but the food stalls at the Nürburgring do not accept credit cards. So I found myself ordering a 4-euro potatoes ration without any valid form of payment. But thanks, I am in Germany. And a random German lad just gave me the two missing euros so I can eat. Danke schön Herr. That made my day even more pleasant.
Back to the media center to watch the start of the 6 hours of Nürburgring. The room was almost empty so I managed to get a good spot to take a few pictures from above the pitlane. The race was full of unexpected development, as always with these endurance races, but sadly I had to go back home at its halway point. Plenty of driving hours were awaiting me, and furthermore when a closed motorway forced me to drive an hour longer.
That was a magnificent day at the Nürburgring. A day I will remember.
PS: I would like to thank the WEC family, the World Series Formula V8 3.5 family and the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 family.