Anyone who visits the Nürburgring just has to have a go around the famous old circuit, we at RD are no exception – taking to the track in the epic Jaguar “Ring Limo”. Driven by works Jaguar driver and experienced racer Dale Lomas, RaceDepartment had a wonderful chance to experience the 73 turn, 20.8 KM Nürburgring Nordschleife circuit how it is meant to be experienced – absolutely flat chat in a performance vehicle driven by a fast and experienced driver. Those laps, coupled with the anticipation and the thrill of those few short hours trackside in Germany, will surely be a memory that will take a very long time to fade from the minds of the 18 strong group of RD members in attendance that magical Sunday afternoon. Now before we talk about the actual experience itself, it might be worth recapping slightly about what sort of event we are talking about here. The legendary Nürburgring is rather unique in that although it still regularly hosts endurance and touring car races; for the most part of the year the track is open to members of the public to try their hand in either rented performance racecars, or heading out on to the track in their own vehicle. This makes for a busy racetrack, and one packed full of wildly different performing cars, bikes and… vans! So with that in mind, especially strapped into something with 575 horses under the hood, it feels like the best place to be when out on the track itself is firmly wedged into a car driven by an experienced racing driver… rather that the admittedly appealing but rather risky adventure of going out on track behind the wheel yourself. So moving on to the morning of Sunday 16th September, the roving RD party of staff and community members visiting the Sim Racing Expo this year had our turn on the Ring, many of whom would be experiencing their very first lap on a real race track – which surely made the experience all the more special to those involved. So how about the car then? Well this year we moved away from our trusty BWM of RSR to the iconic British Jaguar XJR 575 run by Dale and his Jaguar Race Taxi team. The Jag has more power than last year’s BMW, but with those extra bhp comes a significant increase in both size and weight, the car we were using being a standard issue road version of the XJR 575 and weighs in at an impressive 2.5 tonnes! That, plus four people strapped in, might make for something of a more sedate run around the circuit… or so we thought! Noticeable immediately was the sheer grunt of the 575bhp engine under the hood of the big Jag, the thing took off from the end of the pit lane like a rocket ship (emitting a very satisfactory growl from the exhaust as it did so), literally eating up the tarmac in front of us as we made our way towards the opening section of the lap. What impressed me the most however was the incredible level of grip and stability of the car – remember this is a fully road going spec Jaguar, nothing trick or racing applied – the thing just wanted to turn in and power through the corners like a (very big) racing car. Rarely did you feel even a hint of understeer from that big front end, the car seemingly able to rotate equally as well as cars half its size, before Dale stamps back on that loud pedal and the thing just lifts off out of the corner and away down the next straight. Defying all expectations that a car of this size can shift so damn quickly, the 575 really is an outstanding piece of kit in the hands of someone like Dale Lomas... I’m pretty sure that outright lap speed this year was slower than in the BMW, the experience in the big Jaguar was certainly different compared to the German car, but in those differences one gets to really understand and appreciate the range of feelings and feedback drivers of differing brands of cars have to deal with out on the racetrack. With such very different characteristics between just these two cars alone, it again amazes me to think that several brands competing in the same series can end up with such close lap times and competition on circuit – incredible. I think for me personally however, the biggest takeaway from our trip around the fabled ring this year was not what I experienced myself, but more seeing the joy on the faces of our party when they eventually disembarked from the car. From the reactions of some of the people, I know they had that same feeling as I did just 12 months ago, having stepped out of the car following my first ever experience of this legendary German venue in real life. Nothing will ever feel the same again after this, it truly is one of those experiences that dramatically alter ones perception of what motorsport is all about. Smiles, cheers, and shakes of the head in disbelief… these were just some of those emotions felt by our group as we put feet back on solid ground once again. Epic, truly epic. (Thanks to the guys for sharing pictures from the weekend. Apologies but I'm not sure which photo is accredited to who - so a general thanks!) If you go to the track any time in the future, trust me, you really want to get yourself a ride in a taxi lap – it really is something very special indeed. Like what you see here at RaceDepartment? Don't forget to like, subscribe and follow us on social media! Instagram Twitter Facebook Youtube Twitch Have you been around the ring in either a taxi lap or driving yourself? What are your experiences of the epic track? Do you recommend a lap to people who haven't yet been? Let us know in the comments section below!