Hooniverse Asks: If you were to visit the 'Ring, what sort of vehicle would you use to drive 'round it?

I recently returned from a trip to Germany where I stayed in a hotel that’s set right next to the famed Nürburgring. Sadly, my trip didn’t include a lap of the Green Hell but I was able to see a few machines turning laps in anger over the course of the many miles of twisting and turning tarmac.
A handful of outfits have a rental fleet in place should you arrive with an itch to drive. These range from lightly prepped Suzuki Swifts up to Porsche 911 GT3 super coupes and beyond. What sort of vehicle would you want if you arrived at the ‘Ring?
It can be whatever you want, you just have to tell us why you’ve chosen that specific machine. Sound off below.

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64 responses to “Hooniverse Asks: If you were to visit the 'Ring, what sort of vehicle would you use to drive 'round it?”

  1. mdharrell Avatar

    For the Touristenfahrten days they charge by the lap, but I’m more of an endurance racing kind of guy, so I’d want to make the session last long enough to get my money’s worth.

    1. outback_ute Avatar

      That’s very trusting of your fellow Touristenfahrters to not get things wrong with big closing speeds and blind crests!
      I’d go MX5, top down to really experience the place. There is always the autobahn for getting a flat out speed fix; even the shuttle bus taking us from the airport to our hotel (a high–roof VW Transporter) hit 100 mph.

      1. Jeff Glucker Avatar
        Jeff Glucker

        The shuttle drivers absolutely FLY

      2. mdharrell Avatar

        It’s not all about trust. That’s why I picked something with a cage.

        1. outback_ute Avatar

          Yes but a cage made from electrical conduit isn’t going to do much!

          1. nanoop Avatar

            There is indeed a residual risk that @mdharrell:disqus will brake out of the cage and escape into the wilderness of the Eifel (part of the Rhenish Massif, which is mostly Devonian and carboniferous sediments – not sure if he’d like that..)

          2. mdharrell Avatar

            It’s fairly thin tubing; I don’t know that I’d trust it for use as conduit.

        2. 0A5599 Avatar

          Also pedals, so if the engine fails, you can keep going, and closing speeds will only be, say, 147 mph instead of 150.

          1. mdharrell Avatar

            I’ve heard they use metric over there, which makes it only 147 km/h, which is a lot slower.

    2. outback_ute Avatar

      Actually that reminds me of a billy cart I drove once, made from two Honda 110 frames with a seat in between. Because of the weight and much better wheel bearings than the typical billy cart it absolutely flew. Luckily the brakes still worked! There was never a shortage of people to help push it back up the hill because the sooner that happened the more runs could be had.

    3. Monkey10is Avatar

      Maybe I misread the lede: Is this which car you’d drive around the ‘Nurburgring’; or around the ‘circus ring’? I’m confused…

  2. onrails Avatar

    Done it! I rented a mid-80’s V6 Alfa Romeo 75 from RSR Nurburg (they’ve significantly upgraded their fleet in the years since I’ve been there). When I was getting belted in my instructor plopped into the passenger seat and had me warm it up. Once the car was running EVERY light on the dashboard was on. Including the big scary red one that said BRAKE and didn’t go away when I put the parking brake down. I looked over and in my broken German and his broken English there was a somewhat panicked discussion:
    “Do we need to worry about any of these?”
    “Nein! It’s Italian auto! Ven zey go out, ZEN ve vorry!”

    1. Jeff Glucker Avatar
      Jeff Glucker

      I was passed by a crew or RSR cars on the roads around the ‘Ring. Lots of Porsche and BMW stuff now.

    2. LeaksOil Avatar

      LOL@the final sentence.
      Locals here would say “be aight man”.

    3. crank_case Avatar

      I kinda wish they still had the 75s, closest thing to piloting a historic racer without a historic bills if you prang it.

      1. onrails Avatar

        They were well prepped (minus the usual Italian idiosyncrasies). Sticky tires, race seats with 5 point belts, cage, and nothing else. But yeah… it was nice to know that if I screwed it up I’d only be paying them back for years, not decades.

        1. crank_case Avatar

          Don’t need much, they’re really well balanced to start with, but the mechanical quirkyness of them like that “changing points on a railway junction” transaxle gearbox is quite a good grounding for vintage racers apparently.

  3. Alff Avatar

    Air-cooled VW seems like an exciting choice.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xwc54G2Ur8

    1. I_Borgward Avatar

      1) Remove take-away trash and beer bottles from car prior to run.
      2) Don’t fall out.
      3) Do not drive air-cooled VW product.

      1. Rover 1 Avatar
        Rover 1

        (4) Do not drive anything with swing-axle or trailing arm suspension.
        (5) Do not drive anything rear enginned.

      2. mdharrell Avatar

        Correction: Note (1) is unnecessary, as these cars clearly are self-cleaning.

        1. outback_ute Avatar

          Note (1) may be related to the crash, assuming the beer bottles were empty

  4. neight428 Avatar

    Something small with about 150hp that handles well on sticky tires. Gobs of power would be fun on the straights, but would just have me in the trees since I have no actual driving skill.

    1. nanoop Avatar

      My train of thought exactly. I did a 100 miles run of what I think is spirited driving yesterday, in a 163hp 2+2 coupe. The car stepped out only once a tiny little bit, despite rolling on winter tires in 20degC – that’s how much of a quick driver I am, or more positive: there is a lot of potential still in the car.

    2. Papa Van Twee Avatar
      Papa Van Twee

      I was thinking of something like this. Not a specific car, but something with a manual, 200hp and good handling to go with those sticky tires.The VW GTis (Golf, Polo, etc.) would be the blueprint, but a Ford Focus, Opel Astra, etc would also do.

  5. kogashiwa Avatar

    Back to basics:
    I don’t think you could experience the ‘ring in a much more direct way than that, on four wheels anyway.

    1. SlowJoeCrow Avatar

      that was my first thought too

    2. theskig Avatar

      I was posting the same car.
      There’s an onboard video Caterham vs. Porsche GT2 on Nurburgring that’s simply AMAZING. Just take a look how the guy battles with the GT2. That’s serious fun.

  6. 0A5599 Avatar

    When I was in preschool, we played Ring Around the Rosie. Now I want to take a ‘Rossa around the ‘Ring.

      1. I_Borgward Avatar

        Well, of course.

  7. smalleyxb122 Avatar

    Opel Astra OPC. When in Germany, I’d want to do it with a German car, but something like an M2 would be wasted on me. I think the Astra OPC at about 8/10ths would be about 10/10ths of my ability, while keeping it out of the Armcos. That should be good for about a 10 minute lap. I’d be happy with that.

    1. Rover 1 Avatar
      Rover 1

      You just missed these in the US as Saturns.

      1. smalleyxb122 Avatar

        Full disclosure: That’s the other reason I chose the Astra. As an owner of an ’08 Saturn Astra, I’d like to know just how much better it could have been.

        1. Rover 1 Avatar
          Rover 1

          A bit better in every way, GM is going to regret selling their European engineering division with all it’s chassis tuning knowledge to lucky PSA, (who probably still don’t know the depth of goodness they just bought)

  8. Batshitbox Avatar

    Bentley S3 Continental Drophead Coupe.
    Because everything I might do if money & time & access were not a factor seems to involve a Bentley S3 Continental Drophead Coupe.

  9. Manxman Avatar

    Thought I’d go with what works. Always wanted to drive one of these Birdcages.

  10. Van_Sarockin Avatar

    It’s a good thing they weren’t letting civilians on the track the day I was there. We had a borrowed OG Fiesta, jam packed with travel gear and presents. I would have done a lap and might have averaged more than 30mph. Probably would have worn out the rear bumper.

  11. LeaksOil Avatar

    2001 Acura Integra Type R / 2001 Honda Integra Type R.
    I absolutely love Integras. Ive owned two and out of all th variety of cars I’ve owned and driven (including an NA Miata, ‘71 Chevelle, 240sx, 2 CRXs,…etc) it absolutely captured my heart. I wasn’t fortunate enough to have or own an ITR. But- it is the pinnacle of Intergras. It is also considered by many to still be the best car to ever wear the Type R Badge.
    (Awaiting incoming front wheel driver haters).

    1. salguod Avatar

      I was actually thinking my RSX Type S would be a lot of fun, an ITR would be even better.

  12. Zentropy Avatar

    I’d go with an E30 325i. That was my favorite handling car.

  13. Rover 1 Avatar
    Rover 1

    I’d like to take this one back. Now that it’s sorted out.
    or one of these, just to see if there are any BMW635s around.

    1. Don Karnage Avatar
      Don Karnage

      One of my fantasies was to build an SD1 “tribute” road rally car like the ones raced with the US-spec lights. This little photo from the RoverSD1 site in the Netherlands is my favorite SD1 action photo of all time. Wish I had a large hi-res copy of this:

      1. outback_ute Avatar

        I’m pretty sure a local guy has run one of those in historic rallies, there has definitely been a P6.

        1. Don Karnage Avatar
          Don Karnage

          But it’s a good rear end, and it swings very nicely!

  14. Jkedz Avatar

    Mg metro turbo. Though nowdays it is a very rare and expensive car.

  15. I_Borgward Avatar

    For a street car, a first gen MR2. Not the most exciting, hair-raising chariot one could choose? After watching the wipeouts and rollovers in the previous u-tube videos, it seems like a fine choice. I had one in the same color and spec as the one in the photo, and wish I still did. Predictable, linear and neutral, not overpowered, making it easy to explore its limits without killing yourself. You’d really have to do something stupid to get it out of sorts. Warming up the 4AGE a bit would make it more fun in the straights, but the real joy would be found in the turns.

    1. Borkwagen Avatar

      I wonder if my 2ZZ Mk1 would be just enough or too much.

  16. crank_case Avatar

    Seeing as the Caterhams taken and I’d like just a little more side impact protection on this nutso track https://s1.cdn.autoevolution.com/images/news/lotus-elise-cup-250-104722_1.jpg

  17. Alff Avatar

    Yes, but can one really too visit the ring?

    1. outback_ute Avatar

      Would it make a lap without needing to refuel?

    2. Sjalabais Avatar

      That’s one hell of a photo, too. Looking real fast on what essentially could be a continental driveway.

  18. Troggy Avatar

    I’ve driven a clapped-out 200,000km Corolla around Mt. Panorama, a Holden Crewman (with trailer) around Queensland Raceway, and my current ‘track vehicle’ is a 400,000km LWB hi-top Toyota Hiace (It’s the motorcycle recovery vehicle at the track where I volunteer).
    What I’m saying is, I’ll track anything. I wouldn’t care care what I was driving on it, as long as I get to drive it one day.

  19. Spongebob Squareback Avatar
    Spongebob Squareback

    To lay down an actual lap at the ‘Ring, I’d be happy with just about anything. Even in a Pontiac Sunfire with an automatic transmission, I’d have one hell of a smile on my face. BUT, ideally, something with low power but engaging handling and quick responses would be my choice vehicle. Something like a MkI or MKII GTI, or an NA or NB Miata. Anything more than that and I’d be far too afraid to really push the car at all ,and consequently not be able to really engage with the experience.

    1. Krautwursten Avatar

      Well, how about something that doesn’t bottom out or gets its front splitter taken off on the ‘Ring?

  20. duurtlang Avatar

    I’ll be driving my own 1987 Peugeot 205 CTi on the Nürburgring soon. It’s been somewhat restomodded and isn’t on the road yet, but soon will be.
    We’re even organizing a trip for a larger group to the ‘ring, following a few days through the Alps. Everyone is invited. https://oppositelock.kinja.com/oppo-ringmeet-swiss-expedition-2018-roll-call-1825995170 https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6ad3894cf8fe3ad5a6caac87d573a7ed66319bb3cd1752b412910ec96de58d49.jpg

  21. Monkey10is Avatar

    BTW: Nice Isdera in the photo accompanying the original post. The ‘Ring might be one of the few places where this car makes sense.