"Top Gear" at the Nürburgring
BBC Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson is no stranger to the Nürburgring. His first TV appearance there was in 2002 as part of his 'Meet The Neighbours' series, where he travelled around Europe in a Jaguar E-Type Roadster. There he met up with Sabine Schmitz, a local racing driver and also driver of the BMW Ring Taxi. She took him for a few laps of the circuit in the M5 Ring Taxi and generally just frightened him with her extreme driving.
Then in 2004 Clarkson brought the Nürburgring to a much wider audience by having it as the main feature in an episode of Top Gear, reputed to have worldwide viewing figures of 350 million. The main jist of the feature was to prove that modern diesel cars can be sporty, and to prove this he was going to drive one around the Nordschleife. The car in question was a Jaguar S-Type twin-turbo diesel.
After a couple of days of practising and coaching from Sabine Schmitz, during which he was overtaken by everything else on the circuit and suffered at least one minor spin, he set out to beat a target time of 10 minutes BTG*. If you watched this episode you would beleive that he did actually manage to crack the 10 minute barrier, just (Sabine then went out in the same car and did a 9:12 lap). But if you believe some of the rumours then the sub-10 minute lap was a triumph of editing over driving talent...
"The Jaguars above were filming a piece for Top Gear TV. Jeremy clarkson was trying to set a 10 minute lap in the S-TYPE 2.7 diesel. Most of the actual driving was undertaken by Sabine Schmitz, a local racing driver and, until she recently crashed it, a BMW M5 RingTaxi driver. There's no way clarkson would set a ten minute lap although I think maybe the finished article's going to be edited to make it look as if he did."
Regardless of whether you believe Clarkson's lap time or not, one comment by Sabine during this piece set up Top Gear's second trip to the 'Ring and few month's later
"I tell you something, I do that laptime in a van..."
So, neatly tying in with the 40th anniversary of the Ford Transit, Top Gear return to the 'Ring in a Transit van for Sabine to attempt to beat Clarkson's time set in the Jaguar. This time the presenter is 'Hamster' Hammond.
* BTG: Bridge To Gantry. On public days at the 'Ring the circuit entrance is on the long back straight just before Antoniusbuche Bridge. As such, you don't actually get to drive a full timed lap. Instead, the accepted timing markers for public lap timing are Antoniusbuche Bridge and the timing gantry at the beginning of the Döttinger Höhe straight. Hence Bridge To Gantry.
Download part 1 ~46MB
Download part 2 ~29MB