Road Race of a Summer Lifetime

Fern Brady — author and, now, race car driver!

NOTE: Imagine speeding down the road, knowing you’ll never get a ticket. RoadBroad Fern Brady crossed the Atlantic to experience this once-in-a-lifetime high. 

Guest blogger Fern Brady is the founder and CEO of Inklings Publishing. She’s worked as a foreign correspondent, schoolteacher, and realtor. Fern’s publishing credits include two children’s picture books, and multiple short stories and poems. Coming next is her debut novel, United Vidden (Book One in herJornian Chronicles Series). Follow Fern’s writing at: 

Thank you, Fern, for joining our RoadBroads team today!  — Melanie & Ellen

Road Race of a Summer Lifetime

A highlight of this year’s summer vacation occurred in the small German town of Nurburg.

I mention the town’s name and people immediately think Nuremberg. That place is well known for its post-WWII Nazi trials. But Nurburg is neither as popular nor as large as the former.

Nurburg boasts the ruins of a wonderful example of High Middle Ages castles, but that is not why we traveled here. Located in the Ahrweiler district, in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, Nurburg’s claim to fame is its 24 kilometer (15 mile) Grand Prix racetrack known as the Nurburgring. Built in 1984, car manufacturers routinely use the track to test engines

My family and I came to Nurburg for one reason: to race.

The Nurburgring track is open to the public, for a fee, on select Friday afternoons. If you have your own car, you can drive the track as many times as you like, paying the user fee for each lap. If you come from overseas—like us—rental car businesses will rent you a race-ready vehicle. Costs vary, based on the car and package perks you choose.

Fern readies for the drive of a lifetime.

My brother and father drove in one car while my sister-in-law, Mariely, and I took the beautiful BMW you see in the picture. Yes, helmets strapped on before buckling in.

We purchased four laps each. One lap included an instructor who offered driving feedback plus tips for handling the less-than-90 degree turns on this dangerous race track. My brother also purchased the Go-Pro camera option so he could watch his performance afterwards. Mariely and I skipped that choice because… well… what happens at Nurburgring stays there.

There is NO SPEED LIMIT on the thoroughfare. Speed aficionados can enjoy letting loose on the track without fear of receiving a speeding ticket. However, the track’s numerous blind turns temper any love for speed. Some turns are extremely tight. The asphalt of the roadway grows slick in some cases from accidents and/or rain.

And yet, it’s an adventure worth enjoying. The thrill of being free to floor the gas pedal, plus the nerve-wracking agony of keeping the car on the road and steady as you take one road curve after another offers a once-in-a-lifetime high. No doubt, there are repeat customers hooked on that feeling, destined to come again and again.

There are many crashes on the Nurburgring. Some are deadly. Others are costly, especially if you rent the car. I suspect repairing your own damaged vehicle can’t be too cheap, either. Cars can flip over on the raised track curves, smash into roadway barriers, and even run into each other. The track is often closed for hours to clean up oil spills.

Cars are not the only vehicles on the course. Motorcycles are also allowed. During my final lap, I witnessed a car merging back into the right lane, driving a motorcycle in its blind spot onto the raised curb. The biker hurled Evil Knievel-style over the track barrier and crashed on the other side. As we left Nurburgring, a helicopter was taking the driver to the nearest town for medical care.

All in all, I am glad to check off this experience from my bucket list.

Once is more than enough for me.