I’m moving to Germany. There is no questioning it now. I can’t work out how I am going to survive in Australia when I come back, so the best option is to stay here. Let me tell you why.
I just came back from the Nurburgring, the home of modern motorsports. The track is a sight that has to be seen. M3, M3, M5, M3, Porsche GT3, GT2, GT3 RS, M3, M3 CSL, Nissan GT-R, M3, M3, McLaren SLR, F430 Scuderia, EVO IX, EVO X, STI, Lotus Exige, and all on a normal Sunday morning.
You pay about A$50 and you can do as many laps as your car can take. Depending on how good you are, each lap can take around 10 minutes, anything under that is a reasonable time.
We also met Sabine Schmidt (the Nurburgring girl – you may remember her from TopGear with the van) who was taking tourists around in the Ring-Taxis (M5). She would get it sideways around a few corners and then scream past.
The ‘ring alone is reason enough to move to Germany, but that’s just the icing on the cake. The main reason to move here is the car culture.
“Oh you’re in an M5, I’m in a Volvo. Sorry sir, let me move over and let you pass” – “Oh, you indicated left because I am going slow in the fast lane, sorry, let me move over instantly and not give you the finger as you go past”.
We even met a few car lovers, one of them invited us back to his house, where he had a collection of old but very quick BMWs.
Unlike Australia, the faster your car is in Germany, the more respect you get on the road.
Everyone from little children to grandmothers love cars. In fact while we were at ABT, we saw an old Audi S2 tuned to over 450bhp, owned by a 74-year-old grandmother, no joke. If someone can find me a 74-year-old Australian grandmother with a 450bhp+ car, I might reconsider my decision.
We drove 503km from ABT, at Kempten, to Brabham Racing, 20km away from the Nurburgring, in about three hours, and didn’t run out of fuel this time.
Anthony was competing with a Porsche Panamera whilst George and I were listening to Sunshine 106.1 (Armin Van Buuren was playing – music would be another reason to move here) and maintaining an average speed of 180km/h, in our Focus stationwagon.
I am trying to imagine the look on an Australian police officer’s face if they pulled me over for doing 180km/h in a Focus. I’d be on front page of the newspaper the next day “Idiot Hoon does 80km/h more than the speed limit”.
What about in the ABT R8? 320km/h? Can you imagine the headline? I’d be a national celebrity overnight. “Madman goes 320km/h, sentenced to five years in jail”.
Anthony came up with a good analogy, it feels like we’ve been let out of jail for a month.
Whilst I was driving the ABT tuned AS5R at a cruisy 200km/h I saw a cop in the right lane (slow lane). My instant reaction was “Oh god, ticket!”. I hit the brakes, pulled in behind him and followed at about 130km/h.
Thirty seconds later an M3 went past us at about 190km/h. The cop didn’t even look. 20 more seconds went by and and an M6 came screaming past at around 250km/h. Cop stayed still. Then I realised, oh, yes, I forgot, this is legal.
Can you believe going 250km/h past a police car on a public road can be legal? Can you imagine what an Australian police highway patrol car would do to you if you did this on an Australian highway?
It almost makes you depressed thinking about the difference in car culture. The last time I got pulled over for speeding (18km/h over) in Brisbane, the kind Cop gave me a grilling as if I was responsible for every death on the road.
Can we please bring every single person that has anything to do with setting up speed limits and transport guidelines to Germany? Just for one week?
At this point some of you are thinking, sure it may work in Germany but the autobahns are far better highways than what we have in Australia. Not entirely true.
The M1 Pacific Highway, from Brisbane to Gold Coast, for example, is actually larger than any autobahn I’ve encountered to date. Our lanes are wider and our main roads are just as smooth. So why can’t we go past 110km/h?
Is it the cars? Perhaps, but there are just as many old cars here as there are in Australia, guess what? They stay in the slow lanes, they go 110km/h, the fast cars go 250km/h+ past them, no one complains. The slow go slow, the fast go fast, everyone is happy. Why is this so hard to comprehend?
We were filming the Brabham BT92 today at the Nurburgring and just witnessing the difference in attitude to speed and cars was amazing.
At one moment whilst we were filming the ‘ring, a few German’s started playing AC/DC (Thunderstruck) and it reminded us of Bathurst, but a Ferrari F430 followed by a Porsche GT3 RS and an EVO X went past quickly, oh yes, not Bathurst.
As if the cars aren’t enough, I witnessed with my own eyes, gorgeous beautiful women standing around admiring the cars. I don’t need to die to go to heaven, I found it at the Nurburgring.
No one is doing the ‘pinky’ in Germany. The people here love cars because they love cars, no one does random burnouts in the street, when the autobahn does have a speed limit (road works for example), EVERYONE obeys.
What’s so different in our two cultures that all of this seems so strange? Why is going 320km/h a jail worthy crime in Australia and perfectly legal in Germany?
Why do people get so frightened when we go 20km/h over the speed limit in Australia?
“Slow down stupid”?. No, I don’t think so. “Learn to drive, Stupid”.