The 24hrs of Nurburgring and the Monaco Grand Prix are back to back this year! Naturally I had to see both races and connect them with an awesome road trip through Europe. I know… so ridiculously awesome!
I'm going with my good friend, and fellow racer, John Ackerman and we're driving a Ford Fiesta ST that I'm pretty fired up about. 0-60 in 6.9 seconds and 35mpg. Near perfect for our purposes. The adventure starts in Amsterdam, then to the Ring, a quick night or two in Munich for beer, Monaco for F1 & GP2 followed by some ridiculous parties before I drive it all the way back north to Amsterdam. I'm calling it the motorsport road trip of the summer!
I'll also be Kinja-ing each step along the way so you know where I'm going, can ask questions/make suggestions, and otherwise keep track of the car and its lunatic inhabitants.
Full disclosure thing: Ford is letting me borrow the Fiesta ST to take to Monaco which is really cool of them. Because last time, I kind of stole it…
For anyone in Europe that wants to meet up for a beer or watch some racing, our road trip should look something like this:
Friday May 17 - Amsterdam
We land in the morning and will sleep till early afternoon. Then we start drinking at some of the cool outdoor bars on the Amsterdam canals. A quality dinner would be nice, but I'm willing to bet it will be more like a few bags of french fries followed by more drinking in the red light district.
Its not all hookers and drugs there…well there are a lot of hookers, but there are some cool bars there as well. And a walk thru the madness at night is kind of a must for anyone that's never seen it. It's the underbelly of Amsterdam, and drinking in the underbelly always rules.
Saturday May 18 - Nurburgring
We should get there by dinnertime. There's a Falken drift show Saturday night, but I think the first stop will be at the Pistenklause to eat and drink quality German Beer in a room covered in racing memorabilia from the Ring.
And here's the best part. When were done, we walk out back and set up our tent. Don’t forget I don’t have a job and haven’t had one in four years. 12 days in Europe is tough with no job…
This is a compilation of some random video I shot last year at the 24hrs where I came across a race car stranded on public roads in the middle of the track.
I had a plan to get him back underway by borrowing a lug nut from each of the 4 wheels and using it to shim the wheel away from the bent strut. Sure each wheel would be held on by 4 nuts instead of 5 but the car could have limped back to the pits. Instead he was saved by a wheel dolly! Never seen anything like it but they were back on track in an hour and finished the race.
Sunday/ Monday May 19-20 – 24hrs of the Nurburgring
We should wake up to the sounds of race cars which is the best alarm clock on the planet. Robb Holland has house thing at the Ring, so first stop is to find him for some breakfast and maybe a shower followed by the start of the race.
There are so many great places to watch the start but I'm leaning towards a break in the fence looking at the cars coming down the main Nordschleife straightaway. Nothing like 3 or 4 waves of racecars tearing it up at close to 200mph. So many cars start the race that there are 3 or 4 starting grids a minute or so apart! Then maybe flugplatz. I've never watched from there but it should be a cool spot until we head to Adenau for some dinner.
Then to Breidsheid bridge or the Carrousel for the big outdoor party scene. Or at least something like that. Plans change fast at a race this large.
Monday/Tuesday May 20-21 - Munchen
Next on the adventure is Spaten; this awesome brewery in Munich.
There's other cool car stuff to do in Munich but both John and I have seen the BMW factory tour and the Welt deal. But the Museum deal might warrant another visit. I couldn't care less for the new BMW stuff but the machines their engineers designed and built over the last 50 years is incredible. It's worth it just to see the various motorsport engines sitting on display.
I'm sure we'll end up at Hofbrauhaus at some point in the evening but we have a long drive the next day as we want to be in Monaco at the crack of dawn Thursday to catch the full day of F1 and GP2 practice.
Thursday May 23 – Monaco Grand Prix Practice
I think Thursday will be the best day for actually checking out the cars on track. And Thursday night has some epic parties. Red Bull throws a pretty sweet one but I hear the Force India party on the Indian Empress is the one to see. Do I have ticket? Not yet, but Im working on it! And I have the best luck of anyone I know.
Otherwise its drinks at the Tip Top bar on the straight between the Casino and the hairpins. Plus they have good late night food and James Hunt used to spend a lot of time here. Im sure I'll end up at Jimmy'z at some point but its 25 euro for every drink they hand across the bar.
Friday May 24 – Col de Turini and Nice
I want to check out some of Monte Carlo Rally stages north of the city. Col de Turini is one of my favorite stages of all time. It looks amazing in the videos and I bet its even cooler in person. And this late in the season it should be free of the snow and ice that makes the stage so ridiculous during the rally.
Friday night we're hitting old town in Nice. It's so cool. So old feeling with walking streets and barely any cars. It's what I think of when someone talks about the south of France. Cool little restaurants and wine bars. When I was just out of college there used to be cool parties on the beach with bonfires and dudes selling beers for a dollar. I wonder if that still happens…of course the beer is probably five euros now!
Saturday May 25 – Monaco GP2 Race
Saturday is Qualifying and the second of the two GP2 races. I'm cheering for the Racing Engineering Group because their Team Principal is a Jalopnik commenter and seems like a really good guy! And they are currently 3rd in the Championship!
Sunday May 26 – Monaco Grand Prix
just watch this. There is no other way to describe how cool this race is.
Monday May 27-30 – Monaco to Amsterdam
I jam back to Amsterdam but have 3 days to make the journey. Where would you guys go? How would you guys complete this awesome road trip?
And if you're over there and want to meet up, hit me up on Facebook, Twitter, or Caswellmotorsport at Gmail.
Photo Credit: AP/Matt Hardigree/Bill Caswell