Back in the summer of 2009 CAR pulled together an exclusive twin test of the new Porsche 911 GT3 and Nissan’s new GT-R Spec V. And at the same time, to get to the bottom of Nissan’s claims of how fast the standard R35 GT-R was around the Nürburgring (a Porsche official had claimed the times were nonsense) we put one against the clock around the legendary track in the Eifel mountains – and threw in the GT3 for good measure.
Any one of our road test team could have lapped the cars, but we wanted to get as close as possible to the times of Porsche and Nissan’s test drivers, who spend weeks of their life at the ‘Ring. So we picked Andy Gülden, who raced Nick Heidfeld and Ralf Schumacher in karts, before progressing to F3, and has done thousands of laps at the Nordschleife.
Two things remain in my memory from that day. One was deputy editor Ben Barry returning wide-eyed from a sighting lap with Gülden in a Passat R36. Thick fog blanketed the circuit, but with every corner etched into his memory, Andy charged into the gloom knowing exactly where the track went. Poor Ben.
The second was Gülden’s timing. Not the laps themselves, but Andy’s inadvertent comic delivery. We told Porsche and Nissan we wouldn’t time either car, and then timed both. Standing next to the Porsche PR man, listening to the GT3 charging down the straight past the pits, the CAR team all surreptitiously holding stopwatches, our walkie talkies crackled with Gülden’s voice as ‘START MEASURING’ was broadcast clearly around the paddock…
Gülden's now chief instructor of the Nürburgring's Driving Academy, and since we hired his talents he’s come to prominence with a very wet lap of the 'Ring in a Formula Race car – 399,000 hits on YouTube and counting. And if you doubted his talents, he's now done another lap of the 'Ring. In the snow. In the same open-wheel race car. Not on studs or snow tyres, just wets. The video starts with a relatively sedate lap of the GP circuit (wide track, lots of run off) but then Gülden goes onto the Nürburgring proper. It's 6 minutes and 49 seconds of a Ringmeister at work.
Andy Gülden’s snowy lap of the Nürburgring
Andy Gülden’s wet lap of the Nürburgring