Following a busy couple of weeks leading up to the event, and a few exhausted of days recovering after it, I’ve finally uploaded a few pics from the 2016 NSR GT3 Club Series Deutschland Final. Last year, the event was held in Berlin, but this year saw the race returning to the NRW, and to a relatively unknown club in Heiligenhaus. The event goes from strength to strength each year with excellent organisation, good food and lots of close racing fun in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.
Having already gone to great lengths to provide perfectly matched handout motors, organisers ‘S-Drückt’ also wanted to reduce any home advantage as much as possible this year – so, their decision to seek out a wood-routed venue which usually runs exclusively 1:24 scale races was rather a sly one… many of the ‘locals’ (myself included) had never set foot in the Heiligenhaus clubroom before the event was announced, and training opportunities leading up to the race were carefully restricted to make sure access was fair to all drivers – including those travelling long-distances to attend.
As you can see, this is quite some circuit! A relentless 51m of smooth and fast twists and turns, with a hefty main straight offering a split second to look up and check lap-times on the monitors. And, with qualifying rounds leading up to this final held more often than not on plastic Carrera-based circuits, the switch to wood certainly surprised a few – many of the 30+ entrants, myself included, ended up starting from scratch with regard to car setup. I personally found the wider Corvette C7.R more suited to this wide, sweeping, track than my trusty Porsche 997 – so that was relegated to the sidelines and the latest addition to the NSR GT lineup was given a chance to shine.
One of the competitors had time to put together a little video capturing many of the moments from the event – thanks, Holger! (Curious how long this stays online before Chris Martin objects to the choice of soundtrack, but… until that happens – enjoy.)
12th at Siegburg in 2014, 7th at Berlin in 2015… so, for SitC, I wanted to better that at Heiligenhaus in 2016 – having scraped into the top group with a 6th place qualification, I knuckled down to the race and did my best to keep the jitters under control and not succumb to pressure!
I’m happy to say that I was almost able to live up to my 2014 “mit Mütze, und ohne Abflüge” nickname (roughly translated, “with hat, and without departures”) and complete six intense eight-minute stints with only a couple of self-inflicted errors… staying out of trouble definitely served me well, but I was ultimately outclassed by stellar performances from the Siegburg duo ahead of me. Thomas took the flag in his Aston, with Ralf (last years’ winner) right behind in his Corvette.
(right) 2016 NSR GT3 Deutschland Final winner Thomas (in the middle), with Ralf, myself, and our podium prizes… custom-finished NSR Corvette C7.Rs!
(left) But, this was the photo I was waiting to see… one that I snapped on my own track once I got back home, showing my race car and the prizes it won me! It’s taken me over three years to get on the podium at a National-level event, so I’m pretty chuffed with my reward – a nicely finished, one-off Corvette C7.R! A great prize to be given from NSR and German distributor Marc Eicker Racing, so thanks to you and to the organisers for making it all possible.
Great fun, great racing and great people – now all I have to do is qualify for 2017!