By James Wong
Although I woke up at 6am, I instantly snapped to attention at what lay in the day ahead.
A Swift Sport for 4 laps around the Ring on a private track day, and a Lotus Exige 240 S for another 4 laps on a public day session.
As the day wore on I got increasingly sceptical about my decision to try the Lotus – on the Swift the track felt manageable, but I imagined the Lotus to be a downright riot.
To put it plainly – if you are going to the Ring for the first time, don’t go out in a car you cannot control. A Swift is easy to learn in and will forgive you when you make mistakes. In fact it is so darn good that I can’t praise its handling enough. Four wheel drifts are meted out in easy fashion. There is an abundance of grip from the R888s that will temper any N/A power of the 1.6, of which there is very little. I’d say more, but then I’d have nothing to write for my article for Rev Magazine – so do watch out for that, which will be out in the July issue.
The Lotus, wow. To be honest, I felt overwhelmed by the experience. The learning curve is really steep. It was my first time in a Lotus, let alone a supercharged Exige, so it was quite scary. Couple that with a LHD car and a public session – it was utter chaos.
The Exige felt fast, but I did not have the skills to exploit it to its max. But it is nearly impossible to push without knowing the track (88 corners!) and when bikes are overtaking you from everywhere. So from the start my intention was not to set any lap times.
But in a way, if you are driving 4/10ths then somehow it just doesn’t feel too good. So back to my point – rent what you can control on the Ring. You’ll have more fun in something you can drive well and drive confidently. Anyway, read my article about the Lotus in the next issue of AFTMKT!
Other observations: it was simply amazing seeing expensive and rare cars getting pushed to the limit by their owners. And needless to say the Ring was Porsche land, more specifically GT3 territory. No other car numbers as many at the car park.
The track is also huge. Its size just cannot be put into words. You only see sections of it at any one time from the outside, and you have to trek miles across the forest before you can find your favourite corners (we did a bit of that and got really tired). The elevation changes are legendary – lowest point of the circuit is only about 300 metres above sea level while the highest reaches up to 600m. And the increases/decreases in height is pretty dramatic, always over very short distances.
Every petrolhead needs to see this track and drive on it. But perhaps once is enough – I can vouch to say that it feels truly dangerous if you tempt with fate there.
Always had a fondness for the B7 RS4, especially in this colour.
Loud and fast but somehow not very interesting to me.
This has and always will be my choice saloon.
Yes, that’s a Revo bus on the track… It was quick, mind you!
One had to come to represent GB.
Whether they were driving a 458, or a GT3, they’re all in it for ultimate driving pleasure.
Clio RS Cup car sitting at the gravel car park.
Plenty of GB cars about, they must have made up at least 50% of the attendees.
Tyre replacement on the spot!
Oh yes, right car mate.
Stupendously quick, and sounds the boss too.
Took all the E92 M3s for you, Chor!
This 4.0 was lapping at least more than 8 laps the whole day – it was unstoppable. What a car, what a sound, what a driver.
Yep, it’s a CRT.
See what I mean about Porsche land?
That’s the Lotus I went out in later in the day.
Unassuming peaceful hotel had all sorts of motorsport detailing in the interior. Awesome!