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Featured Ride of our Life: Jaguar XJR 575 Nurburgring Nordschleife Lap

Discussion in 'Car Culture' started by Paul Jeffrey, Sep 30, 2018.

  1. Paul Jeffrey

    Paul Jeffrey
    RaceDepartment Editor-in-Chief Staff Premium


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    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.

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    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!
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2018
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  2. Stnry


    Oh hell Yeah i do :D it was unbelievable
    • Like Like x 4
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  3. Sporadik


  4. Paul Jeffrey

    Paul Jeffrey
    RaceDepartment Editor-in-Chief Staff Premium

    Hey @Daiman Patel

    You look a bit like Ringo Starr in that video. @Bram Hengeveld keeps saying I look like one of the Beatles too.

    Maybe we should start a band?


    Bloody exceptional fun lap btw, really love it and totally recommend it to anyone! Dale was a class act, and the car is a beast !
    • Haha Haha x 4
  5. Nigel Mansell

    Nigel Mansell

    Just saw this on YouTube earlier on, before coming to the site. Great vid guys, of course I love the Nord, but it's still a great watch for anyone...
  6. Ricoow

    Assetto Corsa Competizione Club Staff Staff Premium

    We should do a lap in the Porsche 911 next year :p
    • Love Love x 1
  7. Frank Lehmann

    Frank Lehmann
    ... usually known as Ernie Premium

    ... and burn some rubber (and more :sneaky:)
    • Haha Haha x 2
  8. Kenny Paton

    Kenny Paton

    Jammy sods:p
    • Haha Haha x 3
  9. vilivili


    Paul, if you really want to blur the line between real and virtual, you should next time grab the wheel by yourself ☺️
  10. Paul Jeffrey

    Paul Jeffrey
    RaceDepartment Editor-in-Chief Staff Premium

    Would love too, however the costs involved if something goes wrong are simply staggering. I'm confident in my own driving, but imagine coming over a crest flat chat to find a burning Porsche or something in the road... damn that's a crash waiting to happen :D
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Chris

    Administrator Staff Premium

    Amazing guys! Very jealous :inlove:

    That burning Pork though! :confused:
  12. Serge.M


    Yeah, the costs are prety huge if it goes wrong. I braved it years ago and got an E92 M3 from the guys at RSR for 12 laps. Was an epic experience, just need to respect the track and drive a fair bit under the limit, one of the RSR guys came along for the first lap to make sure you had the right attitude (my guess). If I remember correctly though the excess was Something like 10000 euro and track barrier damage would be 150 euro per meter per level of the barrier (up to 3 levels so can be 450 euro per meter). Those numbers certainly do well to slow you down, also it was raining...
  13. Andrew Harper

    Andrew Harper

    I'd been window shopping for a Jaguar XJ Supersport recently (depreciation makes them a bit of a 2nd hand bargain). Talked myself out of it, and then I watched your video....damn it! :laugh:

    Great video BTW. Many years ago I tried filming my Dad driving his Jaguar around Le Mans on an owners day special (we were allowed a couple of laps before Le Mans warm up). Even though the speeds were much lower (I think the French Police took a complete dislike to us and wouldn't let us go over 60mph on the track). It's surprisingly difficult to keep a camera steady! :roflmao::)

    What a great experience and what a great job to have as well, driving the greatest track in the world as your daytime job. Lucky git....:D
    • Like Like x 2
  14. Daiman Patel

    Daiman Patel
    rFactor 2 Technical Assistant Staff

    HAHAHA! Now that you mention it I can see what you mean - there is a slight resemblance in appearances... the sunglasses certainly help! :cool:

    As for Bram's rather whimsical observation, I can definitely agree with this! :p

    It's funny that you should say this, and draw a comparison between me and Ringo - I actually used to be a (wannabe) drummer back in the day! :roflmao:

    Let's do it! ;) Let's form the RaceDepartment Band! :giggle:


    Going back to the topic of the lap, I would definitely recommend a Ring Taxi ride to anyone who visits the Nordschleife and has not yet been around the track themselves! :rolleyes: ( Driving around the circuit in a game does not count! :whistling: ) As you can probably tell by my face in the video, I absolutely loved it! :D All of the giggling, at various stages during the lap, was due to my sheer astonishment at the speeds we were travelling through some of the corners, especially those with which I was familiar... though I must admit there were a few surprises! :laugh: In addition I was astounded by the forces, even in a car as big as the XJR, as it tore into and around corners, flew over crests, and barrelled into dips - a feeling that you seldom experience in a simulation, unless you are lucky enough to own a motion rig! I could not wipe the smile off my face for the entire day... I'm still smiling a little bit now! :x3: Meanwhile, as @Paul Jeffrey has said, Dale was brilliant - he seemed completely relaxed, and his composure behind the wheel was itself amazing! I cannot wait to do it again next year, should the opportunity arise!

    Anyway, I shall say no more about the lap, except that you should go and experience it for yourselves! You definitely will not regret it! :sneaky:

    Finally I would once again like to say what a fantastic job @Davy Vandevenne has done to compose this video! :) Great work mate! I look forward to seeing more from our weekend at the Ring!
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2018
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  15. Zytok


    Got the chance a few years ago to go round with Michael Vergers in the world record Radical. Unforgettable experience to go round with someone who knows what theyre doing.
  16. Domagoj Lovrić

    Domagoj Lovrić
    Reiza Studios

    Been there for the first time on last day of this year SimExpo. With my own familiy estate diesely thing.

    My few subjective observations (or rather mostly comparison of RL/SIM):
    1) in a __name_your_sim_here___, i always got the impression the track is very narrow, but in reality it's pretty wide, enough to comfortably push car around it. I've been told by my fellow @Renato Simioni that this is probably issue with my FOV setting / monitor size.

    2) how much camber corners have is almost laughable - you literally "dive" into many of them - this is also something i could not sense in any sim

    3) At the time i was there, yellow flag was waved all from front of entry to Schwedenkreuz to Aremberg, which immediately diffused my thoughts of how to apprach it, since this was the section where i had alot of faster traffic approaching, my top speed there would not be higher then 180 km/h.

    4) oh the Fuchsroehre - that funny feeling, going downhill then sudden uphill (thought then Eau Roughe must've feel similar) - of course there is no sim that can reproduce this, motion might give some brief impression, but this is something we'll probably never have in a sim.

    5) even tho my car is ordinary, normal brakes, normal tires, lack of power - in slower corners, up to about 120 km/h ones you can push it through, hear those tires singing struggling / on the edge. Issue here is, acceleration on exit - there's not much of it.

    6) Second part of track, where you normally blast with your 400+ HP machine choice was a bit of a pain for me, as car was struggling to go over 120 km/h. Was driving safely on the right of track, with few really fast cars "flying" next to me.

    7) Karussell makes you laugh in uncontrolled manner. Well many parts of track do.

    8) Somehow i think it's better to be there with your own car for the first time, one that is not a fast sports car. But something you live with every day, is reasonably slow. I guess anyone who knows how a car behaves on the edge can safely do a lap. Then sometime, after many eons you might get familiar with the track and rent something ...faster. Or bring something faster of your own.

    9) I did not turn off stability and traction control. Wrecking guardrail on the ring is quite expensive!

    Would i do it again? Yes for sure, even if again it would be only in a seriously-lacking-power-for-the-ring diesely estate :)

    Just to mention, after the ring, did two sessions with electric indoor karts next to a GP track. These were awesome! Acceleration is miles better then standard 4-stroke 270cc rentals - if you don't hit the apex and take the proper line - pressing the accelerator pedal on corner exit it's either understeer or oversteer. Also, these have engine sound playing from a speaker behind - done and synchronized very well, except for that loud loud backfires proper gasoline engine makes.
    Any simracer should at any point, whenever there is a chance, try karts. Of any sort.
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