Stories > I was the King of the Nurburgring - for three minutes. Then, I almost totaled my car.
I was the King of the Nurburgring - for three minutes. Then, I almost totaled my car.

I was the King of the Nurburgring - for three minutes. Then, I almost totaled my car.

Published 2020-01-03 by Peter Ternström

Want to know how NOT to behave the first time you visit the Nurburgring? Look no further. Let my confession be your guiding star in the skies of humiliation and over-confidence. My first contact with the most challenging track in the world - the Nurburgring. Pretty much everything went wrong. I should be happy to be alive.

We start by rewinding the tape all the way to 2004.

I confess. Nurburgring scares me to death. I don’t have a problem with other racing tracks, but the Nurburgring makes me really scared. And happy. At the same time. It’s hard to explain this to someone who hasn’t been there. The euphoria in your body after a great lap on the ring can’t be described in words. You have to try it to understand.

I got my first lap from my friend Jonas Carlsson, who already was a good driver on the Nurburgring. I was his beifahrer - passenger - during a driving course on the track.

I was hooked immediately. My life started revolving around finding the correct racing line through the corners of the track. Corners and sections that sounded like German profanities - Schwedenkreuz, Fuchsröhre and Pflanzgarten! Thank god for the Internet. I found vast amounts about the subject here.

Just one year later, I went back to the Nurburgring. Now with my own car - a newly purchased turbocharged rice-boiler-device. A grey Mitsubishi EVO IX with a gigantic wing in the back. I had prepared it with a remap and a titanium exhaust. The engine now had 400 BHP. I had also purchased really expensive coilovers (Swedish brand) with some insane camber settings. I had the fastest car in the world.

To prepare myself, I did a thousand laps on the Nurburgring from the sofa in my living room - on a Playstation. Finally, and most importantly, I had bought the same helmet as the Stig.

I was the king of the Nurburgring - before even driving a single lap in reality.

My amazing skills were confirmed to me, already on the first lap. First, I was passed by a Golf from the late 80’s. Then I drove off the track. This when I tried to keep up with the unbelievable pace of the little Golf. Yes, I drove off the track, straight out in the sharp left turn of Adenauer Forst. Something was very wrong. This was not how it was supposed to go.

Back at the touristenfahrt entry I spot the Golf and start a conversation with the owner. A local talent that barely spoke english. “What have you done with the engine”, I asked. “Ze Engine ist originaal" was his reply, with that wonderful German accent we heard so many times in the movies where the Germans are the bad guys. Like Indiana Jones! Remember that scene, when Indy gets slapped in the face, and the German bad guy says “This is the way we say goodbye in Germany!”

A shitty Golf with 118 tired little ponies had just passed my 400 bhp monster like it was standing still. Something was apparently wrong with my car. I needed more camber in the front, and the wastegate was probably broken. With a proper working car I would show the owner of the Golf how things were done.

I took my car from the track entry to a workshop not far away. A technician took a brief look at my car. There was nothing wrong with the waste gate or the hoses. The camber in the front was already set to the max. While the technician couldn’t find anything wrong with the car, he called upon the owner of the work shop. A well known Nurburgring personality.

He offers me to drive a lap to get a feel of the car. Perhaps give me some advice. Whatever that was worth, considering I’ve been driving lap times under six minutes in my living room at home. Even considerably intoxicated after a night out, I was doing sub 7 lap times. I was, after all, the king. Ten minutes later we were entering the track. He was driving my Japanese plastic rocketship, and I was in the passenger seat.

What happened next can only be described as an epiphany of biblical proportions. A burning bush or Thor’s hammer on your head. It was like Jesus himself was behind the wheel. The turns I took on third gear, Jesus drove flat out on fourth. The laws of physics ceased to exist when Jesus drove my car. A miracle in the Eifel mountains. A glitch in the matrix. Fuchsröhre went so fast that my head was pressed down in the stomach. To my great amusement we also passed that Golf from 1987 at Ex-Mühle. I looked away so the German guy wouldn’t see that I was the passenger. It felt pretty good again. Indiana Jones.

Back at the garage the celebrity garage owner came to the conclusion that there was nothing wrong with my car.

“It’s something else that is wrong”, he said and looked at me.

We have to take break here. I get panic attacks when I have to relive this harsh clash with reality. With the Stig’s helmet in my hand, I suddenly realised that I was… a bad driver. All my confidence was gone. I had to start over.

He continued: “What you need to be fast on the ring is not 1000 horsepower or twelve degrees of camber. What you need is laps. Lap after lap after lap. Preferably thousands of laps, like I have. Playstation doesn’t work, the track is not the same as in reality. Playstation is dangerous. Many fall for this hoax, thinking they are kings and drive off the track.”

In that moment my testosterone kicks in on full blast. I was furious. A thousand hours in my living room were wasted. All these nights I should have spent with my girlfriend instead. Playstation should be banned.

Your event organiser was severely humiliated on the Nurburgring. Wouldn’t you know. This is something to contemplate while you hear me speak during the drivers briefing at Gran Turismo Nurburgring in a couple of weeks. Kind of hard to take the organiser seriously when you know that he bought the Stigs helmet, tuned his Mitsubishi EVO IX and thought he was the king of the world’s most challenging race track - without a single lap in reality.

See you at the Nurburgring in May and October in 2020. Looking forward to it! But listen - I don’t want to hear a word about this mishap from 2006 when we meet. It is almost fifteen years ago now. Lets just leave it as is. Thank you.

Peter Ternström

Peter Ternström
peter@granturismo.org
Subscribe to our newsletter

The latest news and stories. All the best roads, hotels and restaurants. Invitations to exciting events. Be the first to know by subscribing to our newsletter.

Mondo Gran Turismo

The latest news and stories from the world of Gran Turismo

VIDEO: Interview with Mitja Borkert - who designed the Huracan STO
VIDEO: Interview with Mitja Borkert - who designed the Huracan STO
Test Drive: The crazy Lamborghini Huracan STO
Test Drive: The crazy Lamborghini Huracan STO
VIDEO: We drive the new Huracan STO sideways at Vallelunga
VIDEO: We drive the new Huracan STO sideways at Vallelunga
40 pictures that always make us smile
40 pictures that always make us smile
The entire 2021 season is now fully booked
The entire 2021 season is now fully booked
Congratulations - The Famous Vespa turns 75 years this year
Congratulations - The Famous Vespa turns 75 years this year
Say HELLO to the new Ferrari 296 GTB
Say HELLO to the new Ferrari 296 GTB
A postcard from the Riviera
A postcard from the Riviera
Gran Turismo Polonia confirmed for 1-7 of July
Gran Turismo Polonia confirmed for 1-7 of July
Ten myths from the world of luxury and travel that are simply not true
Ten myths from the world of luxury and travel that are simply not true
Did you know? There is a race track on a rooftop in Turin
Did you know? There is a race track on a rooftop in Turin
Celebrate with us on the Riviera with a Ferrari F8 Spider
Celebrate with us on the Riviera with a Ferrari F8 Spider
The best secret spots in Italy few tourists will ever find

The best secret spots in Italy few tourists will ever find

Gran Turismo Riviera confirmed for June
Gran Turismo Riviera confirmed for June
The greatest April Fools' joke ever
The greatest April Fools' joke ever
The digital nomad’s guide to Montenegro
The digital nomad’s guide to Montenegro
Digital Green Certificates are happening
Digital Green Certificates are happening
Sardinia is our new destination for 2022
Sardinia is our new destination for 2022
Happy Birthday to Lamborghini Countach - 50 years old this week
Happy Birthday to Lamborghini Countach - 50 years old this week
Why you should spend your next winter in Italy
Why you should spend your next winter in Italy
More stories

Testimonials

MR JWW
MR JWW
Media Personality
"Gran Turismo Events are the highlight of my year. I really look ahead to when the weather improves, the road trips begin and the Nurburgring beckons! Gran Turismo runs an event like no one else - I love it"
Thibault Van Renne
Thibault Van Renne
Designer
"I have done many car events in the last decade, but Gran Turismo’s events jump out on every level. The organisation is flawless, the fun guaranteed and the people you meet are awesome."
Maciej Spychal
Maciej Spychal
Porsche GT3 master
"The Gran Turismo experience is much bigger than the sum of its parts. You can visit all the places on your own but going there with GranTurismo gets you an experience you can’t put a price on."
Alrik Söderlind
Alrik Söderlind
Chief editor, auto motor & sport
"The best organizer of crazy car events in the universe. Again. As every year. Enough said!"
The Drivers Collection

Events Calendar

Beautiful road trips and famous racing tracks since 2002. Supercars only.

Gran Turismo Riviera
8-13 June 2021
Forte dei Marmi - Portofino - Monaco - St Tropez
Fully booked
Gran Turismo Due Miglia
16-19 June 2021
Viareggio - Grosetto - Arezzo - Florence - Bologna
Fully booked
Gran Turismo Polonia
1-7 July 2021
Wroclaw - Krakow - Warsaw - Poznan
Fully booked
Gran Turismo Adriatica
11-19 July 2021
Slovenia - Croatia - Bosnia - Montenegro - Serbia
Fully booked
Gran Turismo Spa
9-12 August 2021
Spa-Francorchamps
Fully booked
Gran Turismo Europa
28 August - 5 September 2021
Kitzbuhel - Cortina - St Moritz - Monaco - St Tropez
Fully booked
Gran Turismo Nurburgring
6-9 September 2021
Nurburgring, Germany
Fully booked
Gran Turismo Italia
11-19 September 2021
Trieste - Cortina - Como - Modena - Chianti - Rome
Fully booked
Gran Turismo Toscana
12-17 October 2021
Maranello - Florence - Grosseto - Lucca
Fully booked
Gran Turismo St Moritz
23-27 January 2022
St Moritz, Switzerland
Gran Turismo Adriatica
7-15 May 2022
Opatija - Zadar - Mostar - Dubrovnik - Montenegro
Gran Turismo Nurburgring
Spring 2022
Nurburgring, Germany
Gran Turismo Riviera
6-10 June 2022
Forte dei Marmi - Portofino - Monaco - St Tropez
Gran Turismo Sardinia
15-20 June 2022
Sardinia, Italy
Fully booked
Gran Turismo Verso Maranello
23-30 July 2022
Scandinavia - Warsaw - Prague - Cortina - Maranello
Gran Turismo Europa
3-11 September 2022
Zurich - Andermatt - Como - Monaco - St Tropez
Contact us

While our head offices are in Geneva, Switzerland, the team is spread throughout Europe: Sweden, Poland, Italy and Croatia. Please select the appropriate team member to contact below.

For general enquiries, you can always use info@granturismo.org. For event registrations, please use registry@granturismo.org.

Peter Ternstrom Peter Ternström
President
+46 (0)70 530 06 89
Björn Lagercrantz Björn Lagercrantz
CFO
+46 (0)70 844 64 00
Justyna Weclawiak Justyna Weclawiak
Head of event organisation
+48 509 706 651
Michal Weclawiak Michal Weclawiak
Event coordinator - General
‭+48 602 134 467‬
Chiara Mannucci Chiara Mannucci
Event coordinator - Italy
+39 346 763 22 74
Zdravko Anticic Zdravko Anticic
Event coordinator - Balkans
+385 (0)91 917 32 77
Pietro Bonuccelli Pietro Bonuccelli
Supercar fleet manager
‭+39 349 888 33 89‬
Marcin Jellinek Marcin Jellinek
PR and Media
+48 519 189 081
Joakim Niss Joakim Niss
Head of merchandise
‭+46 (0)70 468 60 75‬
James Holm James Holm
Photography
+46 (0)70 713 71 42