Watch a Two-Time World Rally Champ Make the Nurburgring Look Easy
One lap around in a classic Porsche 911 shows why Walter Rohrl is still Nürburgring king.
Stand up. Now, back away from the feedback wheel. Before you take another lap of the Nürburgring Nordschleife in the virtual world, watch this one IRL. It's by Walter Röhrl, the two-time World Rally Champion and holder of Nürburgring records in all manner of Porsches from the Carrera GT to the 911 (997) GT2.
Vintage sports car association the Fédération Internationale des Véhicules Anciens (FIVA) and Pirelli asked Röhrl to drive a "textbook lap" in a classic Porsche 911 so us mortals could see how it's done. He wouldn't do it in just any modern techno rocket, the car would be a 1979 Porsche 911 rebuilt to the exact spec of the Heigo-liveried 911 rally car campaigned by Porsche engineer and rally driver Dieter Röscheisen. Röhrl turned up in his original racing suit from the era, just for effect.
This is the video of Röhrl’s full lap of the Nordschleife, which turns 90 this year, with all the right racing lines.
“It’s the only perfect test track in the world," Rohrl said. "If you want to make a perfect car, you have to come here because you can find all conditions: steep descents and compressions, adverse cambers and banked corners, more than 20km of up and down. In rally driving there is no space for mistakes and it’s the same at the Nürburgring Nordschleife. It shows who is a good driver; it’s dangerous, and only the best can win.”
Röhrl’s pace and lines will lead you through the treacherous Adenauer-Forst, a sharp left-hander on a blind crest just after The Foxhole, from which new drivers often leave the track at high speed. Röhrl's smooth lap includes the proper technique of braking hard, the moving to the right before turning in.
Röhrl continues through Wehrseifen, Wippermann, and the rest of the 13-mile course's puckering corners and blind crests.
Now to memorize it all.