Back in 2011, I had a chance to visit the Nurburgring in Germany again but this time I decided to rent a “race car” from local company Rent4Ring and have a very different point of view of the famous race track.
Performance – The Suzuki Swift is the company’s entry level vehicle for those who have little to no driving experience on the Nurburgring. The stage 2 Swift has mostly safety and handling upgrades with few engine upgrades. From the outside the car looks pretty much like any other Suzuki Swift but upon a closer look you’ll notice the Toyo R888 semi-slick tires, the Ohlins suspension, and upgraded brake pads. Inside the interior is fully stripped (apart from the dashboard), a full roll cage for safety, and racing seats with racing harnesses. Under the hood not much is different apart from a sports exhaust and sports intake.
Although the car is lighter than a stock Swift, with 130hp don’t expect to go very fast in a straight line. But then again the Nurburgring isn’t a drag strip. With over 100 corners, you need a car that was designed to go around corners for this track and that’s what the little Suzuki does best. This is one of the best (if not the best) cornering car I’ve ever driven. Despite being a front wheel drive car, it is an absolute joy to drive, it glides from corner to corner and it is so easy to control. If you’re feeling brave, you can go into and out of the corner with more speed than you expect the car can do. If you do overstep the boundaries of the super grippy tires, then the ESP will kick in and make sure that you go where you want to go (I did make it go off a few times during my laps). In the hands of a professional driver, the little Suzuki can reach speeds of 200+km/h on some sections of the track and a lap time of under 9 minutes, which is very respectable in a car with only 130ish hp.
Comfort – It has race suspension, stripped interior, and a full roll cage with racing bucket seats… how comfortable do you think it is? The answer: not very. Honestly, the Rent4Ring parking lot is less than 1km away from the entrance of the Nurburgring so I had very little public road driving experience to find out how the car is on public roads.
Odds and Ends – This was one of the best driving experiences I’ve ever had. The staff was very friendly and professional and before setting off in the car, they gave a safety briefing and showed all the features of the vehicle as well as a few rules of what I can and can’t do. The prices are fair at approximately 450Euro for half a day, full tank of gas, and 6 laps on the track. If you’re looking for more fun, they do have other cars available for rent such as the new Volkswagen Scirocco, Caterham R300, Subaru BRZ, and Artera GT.
This is a once in a life time experience and if you love cars then you definitely need to go to the Nurburgring, rent a race car, and cross this experience off your bucket list.