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Active Coaching

on the Nordschleife


28 August 2023 | Member stories

On 4 August, the time had finally come again. Trackday on the Nordschleife for the first time this year. A late start to the season, but the new car still had to be run in. So many things were new: new car, first trackday on the Nordschleife after a year and also the first time organised by the Pistenclub.
  • Text:
    Alexander Wiechert
  • Photos:
    nordschleifenbilder.de

I have been driving trackdays privately for four years, mainly on the Nordschleife, but also on other tracks such as the Pannoniaring, Red Bull Ring or Salzburgring, and on that day I would "celebrate" my 200th lap on the Nordschleife. But only about 50 of those were on my own drive, the rest were guided laps at events organised by various car manufacturers like BMW or Jaguar. After it had been a year since my last trip on the Nordschleife, I decided to take part in "Active Coaching", because you can always learn something and I'm still a long way from being a professional. After I last drove a BMW M6 Competition (great car, but not a track tool) on the Nordschleife, this year it should be a bit sportier.

The new car is based on an M4 Competition xDrive G82 with a few modifications:

  • Hamann Motorsport wheels, aerodynamics and sports exhaust system
  • AC-Schnitzer ECU (610 hp, 750 Nm) and Flics
  • Eventuri intake
  • KW Clubsport suspension V4
  • Michelin Pilot Sport 4S in 20/21 inch

The day started early and with mixed feelings we went to the track, because the sky was grey, it was damp and the weather forecast didn't promise anything great. On the Nordschleife in the rain - great.

Anyway. Registration in the car park in front of the entrance went smoothly. Everything was well organised, the team from the Pistenclub was always on hand, relaxed and competent, and just a few minutes later I was already standing on the track at the Döttinger Höhe with my start numbers stuck on. After being divided into groups of four to five vehicles, we started with the guided laps.

And as always, it was an experience that immediately draws you back in. Full throttle on the track, slightly to the left in the direction of Antoniusbuche, up the Tiergarten, braking, combination of turns, drop anchor, sharp right, throttle, past the grandstand, braking and left down the Sabine-Schmitz curve in the direction of Hatzenbach and at the latest then you realise again what a sensational track you are on. Pure pleasure and adrenalin! The group was homogeneous and with increasing speed, led by Manfred, coach at the Pistenclub, we went round and round safely and with more and more speed over the course.

The run-in was over far too quickly and with the subsequent driver briefing in the Pistenclub tent, the longed-for driver's ribbon was presented and with it the free pass to, thanks to Open Pitlane, virtually unlimited free flight on the Nordschleife.

The day-long Active Coaching was excellent and very intensive. One coach and only two drivers or cars. First the basics: check out the car - what is it, what can it do. Then seat position - seat down and get to the steering wheel. Then engine on and off onto the track. A common familiarisation lap, more and more throttle and information and tips from the coach. Some corners were perfect anyway, some weren't so bad, but I definitely took the wrong approach to one or two turns. We worked and practised intensively and even the critical corners got better and better. You can feel it immediately when the turn is right, and the tyres thank you for it. There was also praise from the coach: "Great, you're implementing the tips really quickly".

On the track with Coach Manfred.

It was also an experience to recognise and experience the performance of the vehicle more and more. In addition to the fantastic engine, which delivers that extra kick thanks to the power increase, and the very emotional Eventuri intake, I was more than thrilled by the KW Clubsport suspension, especially as it was probably the only M4 Competition xDrive G82 with KW Clubsport suspension in the world at the time. In June and July, the car was KW's project vehicle for the development, testing and approval of the V4 Clubsport suspension for this type of vehicle and therefore (still) a real rarity. The car was perfectly tuned at KW during the project development, with a focus on the Nordschleife. The tuning drive took place with racing driver Tim Heinemann personally in intensive dialogue. Unbelievable, what a high grip level the suspension generates on the uneven Nordschleife and how safe the car feels with it. Pistenclub coach Manfred said: "They've fitted you with a great chassis, now you just have to develop the right speed for it. Well, thanks, I'm working on it, that's why we're in the car together.

In changing line-ups, sometimes alone, sometimes with a coach, we went round and round the Nordschleife in increasingly good weather. At first I was a bit sceptical about the open pit lane. I don't like it when the speed difference between the cars is too big and you're more interested in the rear-view mirror than looking ahead, or when the freaks run away. But the Pistenclub knows what it's doing, and so do the participants. I got to drive a lot and everyone behaved decently on the track. No comparison to the chaos during a full tourist ride. Interrupted by the usual "Devils-Diner-coffee-breaks" and refuelling stops, I managed 20 laps, my lap "200" was also included.

Back from the track.

To sum up: It was a perfect day at the Nordschleife. Very well organised, relaxed atmosphere, decent drivers on the track and a car that excited me. The intensive Active Coaching has helped me progress, but I also know that I still have a lot to learn and I'm really looking forward to the next trackday with the Pistenclub.

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  • Alexander Wiechert
    Author

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