Back to the rally legend. The day belongs to the WRX STI. It's his party, and every participant is looking forward to the moment when he is allowed to take the legend out on the track. It just so happened that I ended up in the instructor's vehicle for the introductory lap. It wasn't really planned that way, and I don't want to explain how it came about. But some coincidences are worth gold.
Werner Gusenbauer is Driftprofi, has a drift school at the Nürburgring with his son, and also raced with the BRZ the 24 race on the ring. It goes on the track. A quiet introductory round. Gusenbauer with the 200 PS BRZ with sequential gear ahead, one hand at the wheel, the other on the radio. A hungry pack of charged WRX behind it, it goes on the west loop with its extreme gradients and gradients. Demanding, and already the two bumps in front of the legendary mousetrap warn for respect. Then it descends with an 26% gradient down the hill, then up.
The rounds are getting faster, Gusenbauer remains completely relaxed, moderated - as if we were both going to get a bag of rolls from the bakery. While the participants in the back sweat, fight, optimize and fight for traction, we chat about the 24 hour race on the ring. Impressive!
I notice how impressive that is when I get to drive the WRX STI myself. I chase the instructions in my ear after the BRZ. Keep the ideal line as best you can, overcome my weaker self and stay on the gas where common sense urges you to brake.
The limit range of the WRX is far higher than my personal - I have no chance of even getting within striking distance of the 100 hp weaker BRZ. And the WRX is fascinating. The turbo comes down to the point, the handling is top notch, the feedback is precise. Forget all the reviews and criticisms there has ever been about the car. Drive yourself, make your own opinion. To put it in a nutshell, it is an impressive total work of art for a driving machine.
Training on the Westschleife is over too quickly. It continues with a handling course, race talk with Tim Schrick. I am learning a lot that day. For example, how to sit properly in the car to stay in control. Or how to steer and make the best possible cornering.
The limits of physics
From 18 p.m. it's time for the BBQ. I'm drained, hungry, thirsty. The break is good. Later it goes out again. In the WRX STI, the full course is open. The legend flies, the turbo boxer delivers the sound and power of all-wheel traction. Andreas, with whom I share the cockpit, is much more ambitious than me. After he has taken the wheel, we hang behind the lead car, the rest of the field follows at a long distance. In the mousetrap we then feel how the WRX negotiates with the limits of physics.
The day was challenging, especially for me as an inexperienced “normal driver”. And it was great because Subaru Germany delivered the perfect big party for a motorsport legend. My first real contact with a brand that has something special to offer. I enjoyed every minute. A relaxed, nice audience, a great Subaru Club on site, a friendly crew from Friedberg and a sophisticated, modern route made the event something special.
A quick thought on the edge.
One more brief thought away from Subaru, towards Saab. The most modern and exciting racing resort in Germany opened in 2013. In 2011, while the construction phase was still in progress, Saab Germany had the idea of hosting a large Saab festival there in the future. The brand hasn't made it that far. But it would have been a great place.
Home is in the 9-3 Aero. The Viggensitze are almost as good as the Recaros of the WRX STI. And yes, my Aero is similarly uncomfortable suspension as the driving machine from Subaru. You can feel it on the country roads around the Bilster mountain, to the highway there are about 50 kilometers. Shortly before I take fuel. I'm in the pole position, the Subarus are jammed behind me. A WRX STI flies in with a dark boxer rumble. Proud of Boxer. Yes, that has something!
The Saab has free run on the autobahn. It's 250 kilometers, and where there is no limit, the turbo can run. He does it well, really confidently. The Kassel Mountains. I notice how I begin to question every motorway curve. OMG! Yes, I should improve. My steering behavior in fast corners, it's not confident. I've learned something, and maybe a motorsport virus is eating inside me. Or I caught a WRX-Subaru-BRZ thing like that. but who knows that?