By on May 21, 2008

green-hell.jpgToday's editorial on the Nissan GT-R's Nürburgring record (second fastest-ever lap by a production car) raises some interesting questions about the veracity of that claim. On one hand, who cares? My first experience in a proper car on a proper track– riding shotgun in a tail-happy 911 with Jody Scheckter at Porsche's Weissach test track– taught me I could never do what professional drivers do to get a car around a track in as short a time as humanly possible. Nor, for that matter, did I want to. (Scary is just a word for nothing left to think.) Even if the GT-R can lap the 'Ring faster than a Porsche Carrera GT, I can't. Paint me respectfully unenthralled. On the other hand, what about the truth? Nissan knew full well that setting a 'Ring record would guarantee positive PR. If they cut corners or fudged the protocol to do the deed, they should be held accountable. In fact, Nissan should make a public statement on the issue, so that we may expose their weasel words, or murmur appreciatively over their mea culpa or issue an apology for besmirching their good name. The ball's in your court, Carlos. 

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9 Comments on “Daily Podcast: The Green Hell With It...”


  • avatar
    B.C.

    How long until someone trying to set a record turns himself (or herself) into a Darwin award winner? They stopped hosting F1 races on the ‘Ring for a reason …

  • avatar
    JJ

    @ B.C.

    Unfortunately, several people die on the ‘Ring every year. I believe in total the number is 200+ since they built it. And not many serious races have been going there these last decades, so they’re not all 50s/60s/70s F1 drivers.

    Still, hundreds of people drive there every year. Some drive there practically every day of every year, like Sabine Schmidt. So, what are the chances, right?

    I guess you can choose to accept the risk and not complain when you hurt yourself or your 911…Or not.

  • avatar
    Jason

    I fully expect that the more people that die on the ‘Ring, the more awesome it seems to those that are into that sort of thing. I’m in the majority of people where I’d cave in to fear long before my GT-R (or whatever else) met the limits of it’s traction.

  • avatar
    HEATHROI

    I suspect the reason it was dropped as a grand prix circuit was cost rather than the number of deaths.

    Mind you you’ve got to go sometime and dying in some glorious but futile attempt to break the 7 minute barrier beats having your brains dashed out all over the Interstate because somebody made a mistake at 70 mph.

  • avatar
    JJ

    I suspect the reason it was dropped as a grand prix circuit was cost rather than the number of deaths.

    Yes and no…

    At the time, the dramatic incident Lauda had when he burned his face was the direct cause of it being dropped. There were some deaths there before that, particularly late 60s early 70s.
    Given that the track is little over 20 kilometers (depending on the configuration) long, a good 5 times longer than any regular F1 racetrack (Spa is the longest current track at about 7km), in those times without camera coverage on large parts of the track, it was hard for the safety people to adequately supervise and secure safety measures on the whole track.

    However, in recent years, with all the money in F1 and the unbelievable safety of the cars themselves (You would have a hard time killing yourself in one if you tried) I’m convinced they could stage an F1 race there…But the lack of perceived safety will probably stop that. Mind you, F1 drivers like to emphasize it’s a dangerous sport because in a way that ‘accounts’ for some of their MM$ paychecks, while in reality, doing construction work is probably more dangerous.

    Another disadvantage would always be that people sitting at the track will see the cars come around about 15 times after every about 5.5 minutes (!?!) in a standard 300km race. Then again TV coverage would be the ultimate awesomeness…

    Completely agree on your 2nd point by the way, personally.

  • avatar

    Maybe I’ll get a response this time, but is something bothering Justin? Is he sick? Recovering from something (physical or otherwise)? He sounds way different than he did before he finished with his schooling.

  • avatar
    Martin B

    @RF: “Jody Schecter”

    That would be Jody Scheckter, also known as “Sideways” Scheckter from his racing style.

    He was from the Eastern Cape in South Africa. Many years ago I was hitch-hiking through there when he picked me up one evening, driving an old Chev panel van pulling a trailer carrying a beautifully-prepared racing Ford Escort. The first few miles I tried not to have a heart attack at the speed he was going. Those Transkei roads are twisting and narrow, with the odd stray goat. But I realised he was a master — completely in control, smooth and focused, the best driver I’ve ever known. No drama, just very, very fast. We never spoke. He dropped me outside Umtata. I said, “What’s your name please? I’m a motor racing fan and I think you’re a fantastic driver. I’d like to follow your career.” A few years later he was F1 world champion with Ferrari.

  • avatar

    Martin B:

    That would be Jody Scheckter, also known as “Sideways” Scheckter from his racing style.

    Oops. Text amended. He didn’t say much to me, either. But then I wasn’t particularly conversational at the time.

  • avatar
    rtz

    Nissan needs to get another GT-R and do it again to set the record straight.


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