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

Motor Sport News - - Rsr Track Day Packages -

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

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