TRACK VERSUS MODIFIED
The difference between a road car and a modified track car is difficult to get your head around. But, as Edd Straw explains, Rsrnurburg offers a chance to do so
Ever wondered how different the kind of off-theshelf production car you drive every day to work or on the school run varies to a real track car? You might be surprised by just how different two similarlooking cars might be.
That’s exactly the premise Rsrnuburg’s Standard vs. Modified track day packages are built on – albeit using cars that are at the ‘hot’ end of the day-today use scale to start with.
Nurburgring-based Rsrnurburg can trace its roots back to 1995 and specialises in running track days, among other things. Run by experienced racer and test driver Ron Simons, the racing school has operated since 2002.
At another legendary circuit, Spa-francorchamps, customers, be they individuals or corporate groups, have the chance to back-to-back a production car with an upgraded version. For those a little less racy, there’s also the chance to do the back-to-back test on public roads.
The premise is simple; six laps behind the wheel of the standard car, six in the modified machine. Those taking the road option get up to three hours behind the wheel, but at a more sedate pace.
The improvement simply from a far better set of tyres and highspecification suspension will come as a surprise to those without experience. With so much focus on straight-line speed and acceleration, it’s actually in corners where laptime can really be found in a way that the driver can enjoy.
“When you look at an exhaust, you don’t hear it,” says Simons. “When you look at a spring or a shock you can’t get excited about it no matter how nice and shiny it looks – you have to test them to understand them. All these things you can buy mean nothing until you can test it. And what’s even better is if you test it back-to-back with the standard car. That’s the whole idea behind this.”
Taking the BMW M3 as an example, the switch to the modified version improves laptimes by several seconds, with suspension, wheels and cut-slick tyres among the upgrades – as well as an Akrapovic exhaust that helps the engine breathe a little easier and increases power and improves the noise.
“The suspension is KW Clubsport, so it’s also usable on the roads but also very effective on track regardless of the conditions,” says Simons. “It’s not totally focused on what you would have for full slicks, but is something of an intermediate setting. But it’s worlds apart from the comfortable stock shock on the road car. It brings a lot of stability and a lot more traction.”
As well as the Recaro race seat fitted, customers also benefit from the Race Navigator system, which allows them to compare their performance in the road car to that in the modified one.
“It’s not an ultimate data logging system, but it’s very approachable and easy to use,” says Simons. “The most important things are the entry, apex and exit speeds to show you what you gain from the tyre and from the suspension.”
But the BMW M3 is just one of the cars Rsrnurburg offers. The range starts with the Renault Megane RS265, which is a far more impressive piece of kit than it might sound to those used to seeing a basic Clio on the road.
“We wanted to do an entry-level car because people without the experience should not drive the Porsche,” says Simons. “The aim is to test the difference between an original car and an after-market product and, actually, the Megane is the best for that in our thinking. It’s an award-winning car and very quick.
“The chassis is so good that it deserves to run on the upgraded suspension and tyres and run more track-focused components. It flies compared to the standard car and you have so much more control, so much more feel. And with 260270bhp to start with, it’s very quick.”
The next step is the BMW M235i, which Simons describes as “a real driver’s car”. It’s the first rear-wheel drive machine in the range and offers good value. If anything, there’s a bigger gain to be had in the step from standard to modified because the standard car is built more for comfort than for speed.
The next step is the V8-powered M3. But Rsrnurburg is shortly to take delivery of the new M4, which is powered by a three-litre, twinturbo straight six engine.
“Then we got to the Porsche GT3 991,” says Simons. “These are more track-focused already but there’s still a difference with the tyres and the suspension. The 991 is a quick car and you have to have absolute track knowledge because the speeds are serious.
“Exiting Pouhon and at Blanchimont you are travelling at 200km/h. It’s a car that you need experience for.”
The track comparison programme offers six laps in the standard car, and six in the modified car and covers all fuel and entry fees – as well as an instructor. The price starts at 995 euro for the Megane, rising to 1495 euro for the M235i, 1695 euro for the BMW M3 E92 and 1995 euro for the Porsche. All of those cars are also available for standard track rental, both at Spa and the Nurburgring.
There’s the chance for a hot lap ride once you have tried the standard and the modified car to get a feel for just how quick it can go.
For more information, visit rsrnurburg.com, search for RSR Nurburg on Facebook or follow @ ron_simons on Twitter
Customers can trace their performance at the wheel
Rsrnurburg offers a range of rear-wheel-drive BMWS to drive