Tag Archives: Deutschland

Mazda MX-5: Nürburgring Miata Cruise and Dinner with NB Owner Maggie from mx5-roadsterfun.de

My most epic Mazda MX-5 Miata Road Trip took place this July in conjunction with my Motorsport Euro Trip to volunteer a few races in Western Europe. Stop 2.5 was also in Germany, and right at the race track. Maggie came directly to my post at Nürburgring.

European MX-5 Miata Road Trip Overview:

f-netherlandsPost Card from the Dutch MX-5 Miata Road Trip

f-netherlandsAmsterdam to IJmuiden Miata Road Trip

f-germanyPost Card from the German MX-5 Miata Road Trip

f-germanyCologne to Dusseldorf Miata Road Trip

f-germanyNordschleife, Nurburgring Miata Road Trip 

f-belgiumPost Card from the Belgian MX-5 Miata Road Trip

f-belgiumLiege MX-5 Miata Road Trip

f-francePost Card from the French MX-5 Miata Road Trip

f-franceParis by Night Miata Road Trip

 

I have to admit that trying to organize this Euro Trip was quite a frustrating experience. Right up to my departure day I wasn’t sure whether or not I would actually meet someone. Germany is a country that embraces the MX-5 Roadster. For a place that has other fantastic convertibles like the Mercedes-Benz SLK or the BMW Z4 (Z1, Z3 and Z9 before it) as well as Opel Roadsters and a number of other European options, the Japanese Roadster is king! Well, one of the people that was very vocal in my posts about meeting up was Maggie who lives somewhere outside of Hamburg and wanted to meet up with me at the N-ring… but where could we meet? I generally didn’t think I would find WiFi while there, or have a phone number, etc.

What happened?

Maggie found me at the track! How? She spotted my American flag hanging on station, so after watching the practice on Saturday, she came right to the post to say hello. How awesome?!

From the N-ring we went for a little spirited drive around (not on track but literally around, using small country roads) the Nordschleife to have dinner in Adenau. It was fantastic! It was also my first time in an NB and I got to make a brand new friend in Germany who has a very nice web site: mx5-roadsterfun.de/

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The drive around the Nordschleife was amazing!

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The dinner was at what was my favorite restaurant Giulia’s… unfortunately she’s moved on to other things and her son changed the place completely… and now it sucks! But the view was great from our table… I didn’t even realize that the garage just outside near my old post for the Nurburgring 24 hour is a Mazda service center!

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What an awesome experience. Thank you Maggie!

Mazda MX-5: Düsseldorf from Köln (Cologne), via I.L. Motorsport German Miata Tuner and Dinner with MX-5.de Forum Guys

My most epic Mazda MX-5 Miata Road Trip took place this July in conjunction with my Motorsport Euro Trip to volunteer a few races in Western Europe. Second stop was in Germany.

European MX-5 Miata Road Trip Overview:

f-netherlandsPost Card from the Dutch MX-5 Miata Road Trip

f-netherlandsAmsterdam to IJmuiden Miata Road Trip

f-germanyPost Card from the German MX-5 Miata Road Trip

f-germanyCologne to Dusseldorf Miata Road Trip

f-germanyNordschleife, Nurburgring Miata Road Trip 

f-belgiumPost Card from the Belgian MX-5 Miata Road Trip

f-belgiumLiege MX-5 Miata Road Trip

f-francePost Card from the French MX-5 Miata Road Trip

f-franceParis by Night Miata Road Trip

 

The plan for this stop over was to meet with at least one local MX-5 owner in Cologne before heading to Nürburgring for WEC 6 hour. Lucky for me not one but two owners showed up! David from Cologne and Andre from Dusseldorf who works in Cologne. David was kind enough to drive me to I.L. Motorsport in Hürth, a world famous Miata tuner based in just outside of Cologne. (the other business we didn’t get a chance to check out was Mazda Deutschland which is also just outside of Cologne).

I met David in Deutz across the river Rhine and we proceeded on a short drive to IL, which turned out to be a very impressive facility.

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After IL Motorsport we decided to head to Dusseldorf for dinner, the alternative was American BBQ near to Cologne, and that just didn’t fit my foodie plans at all… so off we went on a road trip.

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While looking for a parking in a parking garage we came across this gorgeous Niseko MX-5.

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The garage was full of other little gems… like this Abarth Punto and the Peugeot RCZ.

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PS. the food was delicious!

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Huge thanks to both David and Andre for an awesome time. David was super cool to pick me up and drop me off back in Cologne. And then on the walk back to the hotel, I stumble upon a nice ND!

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Planning my Biggest Euro Trip Yet this Summer: July 2016, Stay Tuned…

I am never going to find a real job… just when I thought I would focus on settling down and searching some meaningful employment on the Gulf Coast of Florida I went ahead and booked my flights back to Europe.

While this is still the very early stages of my planning process I know exactly what I would like to do.

The goal is to marshal the following events:

f-netherlands DTM at Zandvoort, the Netherlands

f-germany WEC 6 hours of Nurburgring, Germany

f-belgium Spa 24h at Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium

 

The Netherlands/Holland would be my 15th country to volunteer in.

Besides the races I’m really looking forward to exploring Amsterdam which I’ve visited a few times but only for a few hours each time. And another trip to Adenau is in order to have a nice schnitzel at Giulia’s. Belgium is my favorite country in Europe at this time and another trip to Brussels is something I can’t wait to do.

While I failed in the past, I’m really hoping that some MX-5 get togethers in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium will materialize this time around. There are a ton of Dutch MX-5 owners, juts as there are a ton of German Miata owners, and I’m sure we can scrape a few in Belgium too.

So for anyone reading this that are interested, please get in touch, we have a few months to organize a meet up!

Stay tuned for more…

miata car wash adenau

Fascination Nürburgring – 24 hours of Passion (Gran Turismo TV)

The official Gran Turismo TV channel on YouTube has published an 11 minute video from this year’s 24h of Nürburgring where I had the amazing opportunity to be interviewed. I’ve blogged about my top ten favorite events and top ten favorite circuits, but thanks to this video forget the Singapore GP or Malaysian GP, forget Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi; the 24h of Nürburgring on the incredible Nordschleife is my #1 favorite event and circuit, bar none!

GRAN TURISMO TV

The world’s most grueling touring car race; the Nürburgring 24 hour race was held again this year from Thursday May 14th to Sunday May 17th. At the race hosted for the 43rd time this year, a speed limit was introduced due to some heavy accidents that occurred on the track in March. With the level of the top teams brought closer together due to the cap in performance, the competition was more furious than ever before. In the race final there were multiple accidents due to heavy rain on random parts of the track, and the victor was only decided after 35 race interruptions, the most number of interruptions to be seen in years of racing on this spectacular course.
This video is a documentary of the fierce battles that took place on the tarmac, reconstructed through the voices of the people at the Ring including drivers, team staff, course marshals and spectators.

Have a look and listen to that wonderful commentary. I love how the folks at Black Monkey Media (facebook.com/blackmonkeymedia) integrated driver interviews along with spectator interviews and sprinkled in a little bit of marshal interviews into the mix. What an amazing concept, and a great and accurate overlook of the event as a whole. It doesn’t get any better than that!

For me personally, to be in the same video as Sabine Schmitz or Jim Glickenhouse is pretty awesome – in a goosebumps and chills down your spine kind of way. I’m so glad I didn’t stutter or eat words during the interview itself and the level of excitement I wanted to express for the event actually came through. They quoted me twice in the video which is freaking cool!

24h rennen nurburgring nordschleife black monkey media interview gran turismo
My first appearance around 1:30 minute marker where I comment on how this is one of the best tracks in the world: “For sure!”
24h rennen nurburgring nordschleife black monkey media interview gran-turismo
And another appearance during some amazing slow-mo race footage of the beautiful machinery including a field GT-3, GT-4, etc. My comment is about how N-ring squeezes a bunch of cars into the available garages, often mixing cars from different teams in a tight space 6+ cars per garage.

Of all the events to consider for next year, I want to go back to N-ring the most! Special thanks to my Belgian friend Pol for helping me organize this trip for the past few years. Thanks to Patric my post chief for allowing me the opportunity to work on his team. And big thanks to all of our Belgian and German fellow marshals that I’ve had the privilege of working with and sharing an amazing time together at Post 120 in Breidcheit – Adenau. What an incredible venue! Can’t say enough great things about it!

Top 10 Reasons I Love <3 Nürburgring

There are many reasons I love the Nürburgring, I will attempt to list the Top 10 of them in this post. I highly recommend marshaling at the Nürburgring to anyone in the position to do so, just keep in mind that your experience may be very different from mine. But at the very least I hope the knowledge of what is possible would encourage you to give it a Go!

#10 There’s a castle in the middle of the circuit!

nuerburgring post cards

Oh yes, there’s a medieval castle perched atop one of the Eifel peaks in the village of Nürburg that the the rest of the circuit is named after. The coolest thing about this landmark is that I could clearly see it from my post while marshaling. It’s an amazing sight. It looks pretty impressive in the day time. You lose sight of it in the fog or clouds when the rains roll in. And it looks majestic all lit up at night on the graveyard shift during the 24 hour race. I love it! Other tracks have their magnificent landmarks like the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore or the Queen Mary 2 at Long Beach, but nothing really comes close to the castle of Nürburg.

#9 There’s like a million cars racing at the same time, maybe more!

Yep! There’s an insane amount of cars that take to the track during the 24h of N-ring weekend. And I’m not just talking about the 159 car field that took to the track for the 24h race. There’s also a huge field of cars for the 24h Classic support race. A huge field of identical Porsche Carrera Cup GT3 cars for the single make race representing Germany… so far I’ve worked Carrera Cups in US, Canada, France, Asia, Australia and the Porsche Supercup in UK and US that follow F1 series. The German field was impressive and raced much cleaner than their international colleagues it seemed. Besides the competitive series taking to the track we also saw a Formula Truck go by us at speed as a demo, with it’s impressive water shooting in a mist around the front wheels. There were Bugatti’s doing demo laps, and tons of amateur drivers doing a lap in their BMW’s, Mercedes-Benz, Nissans, Toyotas and others. I was hoping to see Mazda MX-5’s but they never came. Of course driving around Adenau and Breidcheid there were a ton of cars and bikes that spectators brought to show off in front of all the attendees of the race weekend. The car culture is alive and well in Deutschland!

#8 The drivers respect the flags, religiously.

nurburgring 3.5

Having experienced plenty of incidents of drivers not respecting my flags it took me by great surprise how well the drivers reacted to whatever flag I displayed during the 24h weekend. Even though the 24h of Nürburgring does not utilize safety cars, every incident is handled under a local yellow using Intervention/Medial/Extrication Cars and the famous Jeep tow vehicles. We still managed to perform a debris run with my colleague Pol. A little Renault Clio Cup car lost it’s rear diffuser just past our post and Pol went up to get it while I waved double yellow flags to “cover” his presence on the track. Boy did the drivers drop their anchors to slow down to crawling speed once the double yellows were out. The post before ours had a Code 60 flag held stationary and a Yellow waved to back us up, and every car that came up on the incident slowed down immediately. I was impressed and very happy to see this happen.

#7 It is the Nürburgring! It’s the incredible  Nordschleife!!!

nurburgring 24h 2015

I don’t think there’s a more famous circuit in the world. Sure, 24 hours of Le Mans may be the most famous endurance race in the world and Daytona 24 hours may be famous on this side of the Atlantic, neither Circuit de la Sarthe nor the inner track of Daytona International Speedway can hold a candle to the Nordschleife. It’s in a league of it’s own. So whatever one thinks of the Nordschleife, or Nürburgring… rest assured that you are participating in an event on a historic and iconic track with a reputation that doesn’t require an introduction or an explanation of why it’s famous. It’s simply legendary!

#6 International Marshals.

International marshal participation isn’t unique to the Nürburgring, many circuits allow foreign marshals to participate at their events.  Nürburgring event organizers, ADAC and other clubs that staff such major events like the 24h of Nürburgring are especially welcoming to visiting international marshals and I can’t say enough how much that is appreciated. Their application is simple and straightforward. Doesn’t require the international marshals to jump through hoops to receive the opportunity to marshal there. Of course you are privileged to participate but they don’t rub it in your face like some circuits do. I love them for this. I learned this year that my cheerleading efforts on facebook resulted in 7 Canadian marshals registering for the event and all requesting to work my post. Of course none of them contacted me about this opportunity so I had no idea until my post chief told me. And it made me feel pretty proud that someone would take my advice to heart. Ironically they were scattered around to work with other teams around the track and I didn’t get a chance to meet any of them, but I do hope they had a good time working the Nürburgring.

#5 Paddock Access and the Tour of the Garages.

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This is perhaps my favorite feature of the event. Buses are provided from Adenau to the Nürburgring Grand Prix Circuit where another shuttle takes you to the Nürburgring Paddock and general offices area. It resembles an exhibition center with multiple stores and attractions. A full size Audi R8 Playstation simulator is available for kids to climb in and race with big screen TV’s for windows. There’s a ton of great German food and beer on offer. Lots of souvenir shops. And of course full access to the Garages for the marshals. Pol and I wandered around for more than an hour checking out up close and personal the Audi R8 teams. The Lexus and Mercedes-Benz teams. The Bentley teams, etc. It is simply amazing. I took a ton of pictures and Pol took a ton of pictures of me taking pictures. At one point we climbed to the roof of the garages to watch the Top 30 shootout of all the fastest GT3 cars qualify for the race. One at a time the cars were released and peeled out onto the 20km lap. It was sweet!

#4 Proximity to supermarkets, cafes, and other attractions (creature comforts).

nordschleife adenau breidcheid

We are incredibly lucky at Posten 120! The station overlooks a  turn that races over a bridge. The bridge acts as a border between the village of Adenau and Breidcheid Ex Muhle. The outskirts of Adenau is where the village shopping centers are, and they are all within a very short walking distance to where our post is. There’s a local supermarket REWE. There’s a Lidl across the street, and there’s an Aldi, the same German supermarket that we now have in the US. Besides the supermarkets we are camped directly next to Cafe zum Nordschleife whose parking lot we use for all the campers. (I like to use their bathrooms because they are so much more convenient than the portapods we get). There’s an ice cream shop directly across the street from Cafe Nordschleife. Next to it is the Cockpit Cafe. Across the street and on the other side of the bridge, about half way to the supermarkets is Giulia’s Restaurant where Pol and I go to for some amazingly delicious schnitzels, Warsteiner beer and of course FREE WiFi! It’s such a convenient place to work especially after an experience at Le Mans where there was nothing around the village where our post was situated… at least not without driving, which most people weren’t too keen on, or at least didn’t do too frequently. Being walking distance to everything is fantastic!

#3 The beer. German beer!

foodie germany beer nordscheleife

Yep. Beer was good. Last year we frequented Giulia’s cafe so often (every evening) that she gave me a Warsteiner stein (glass) to take home as a souvenir. This year our German hosts had beer on tap, and it went really well with the Pig during Friday’s dinner. Pol also brought some Belgian Kriek beer which I really love. And one of the German colleagues let us try beer from his local region called Karlsberg not to be confused with the famous Danish beer: Carlsberg. I’m pretty confident anyone that likes beer would find anything to complain about volunteering in Germany. I hardly drink but I really enjoyed a few cold ones in a nice social atmosphere.

#2 The food. German food!

nurburgring pig on a spit breidcheid

I have already mentioned the schnitzels at Giulia’s, this year our German hosts surprised us with a Pig on a Spit. Yeah! A full-size pig on a rotisserie that spread delicious smells as it cooked for at least 8 hours maybe more. One thing we did differently this year compared to last year was pay our hosts a set fee to provide meals for every day of the event. Which meant there were less schnitzels from Giulia’s like last year, but more sausages and sandwiches and of course the big pig feast for our Friday’s dinner right in the marshal tent. The pig was delicious. There were potatoes to go with it, and a variety of Curry sauces that I made sure to stock up on to bring home. I’ve searched all over US supermarkets and couldn’t find curry ketchup. Now I’ve got plenty of it to last me until the next trip.

#1 The people. German people. Belgian people!

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I’m not usually one to say I volunteer in this hobby for the people. Generally, I volunteer to quench my thirst for the machinery, for the cars, for the racing atmosphere that exists at an F1 or a 24h event. But in Germany I really feel like I am wanted there, I am part of a team and other people genuinely want to see me return. Others have always claimed that there’s a camaraderie, it was always the big theme for Singapore GP, but with every year I felt that I was treated more and more like an outsider, just another Ang Moh that comes to Singapore to compete with the locals for the volunteering positions available. There were a ton of events in the US where I felt I was not wanted there at all. The animosity, and hostile treatment was apparent and it wasn’t a pleasant feeling that I’d want to experience again. But at Nürburgring I feel wanted. I feel welcome. And I cannot wait to go back to work with my German friends. With my Belgian team that has adopted me as one of their own. I am forever thankful to them for the opportunity and the warm and fuzzy feeling I get when working together with them. It’s a feeling that I’m sure other volunteers cherish and I wish it was more evident at other events I volunteer also.

So I hope my 2 cents worth of opinions encourage other people to volunteer events, wherever the people reading this live or wherever they wish to travel to to be a part of the action.

I personally cannot wait to return to Nürburgring for 24h next year!

Planning my 2016 Marshaling Calendar

It’s never too early to start planning next year’s marshaling calendar. And I hope to do more endurance events in 2016 specifically return for the Bathurst 12h race at Mount Panorama, go back to Germany for the Nurburgring 24h and introduce a new event I haven’t done yet: the Dubai 24h season opener in the UAE.

dubai sunset

I’ve come pretty close to volunteering at the Dubai Autodrome in December 2013 when I went there for the Gulf 12h at Yas Marina Circuit and a side trip to Bahrain for the 6h WEC event there. But it never materialized. This time I’m ready to add it to my calendar, and hopefully the organizers would be open to the idea of having me participate there.

bathurst

Bathurst 12h is a familiar event because I’ve visited Mount Panorama quite frequently when I first lived in Australia in 2009 and have worked this very event back in 2013 as part of my two month long visit to Australia and New Zealand. It would be really nice to participate there again.

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And as far as Nuerburgring goes, I can’t rant and rave more about it, it’s such a fantastic experience I wish I could participate in more events there.

This year I’m down to one event per month and I have to say it’s a reasonable strategy to manage with a weekend job that I’m holding currently. Next year I may cut down more events from my calendar just to make Dubai and Bathurst a possibility.

So stay tuned and if there are any suggestions please leave them in the comments below.

Media from the 24h of Nürburgring 2015

One of the best souvenirs I bring home from a race weekend are pictures to help me preserve the memories of the event.

I was extremely lucky at Nürburgring to have my Flemish buddy Pol take some fancy shots of me at the track with his Canon DSLR. The pix include some shots of me working:

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Eating:

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and of course checking out the paddock/garages:

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I will share some cool videos I shot with my GoPro in another post:

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One of my favorite moments was watching a Formula Truck vehicle go by our post with the water spraying around the wheels to keep the brakes cool. About the coolest thing I ever saw on the racetrack!

More pictures will be added as I get them.