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View Full Version : Trip to the Spa and Nurburgring April 2016



crossie
11-05-2016, 09:42 AM
The trip prep started just after I had booked the trip at the beginning of Jan
I normally drive my E30 over to Germany but after a failed trip to Cadwell Park (damaged fuel pump – tow home from Nick Wright BMW Club) and the girl friend said that she would like to come (girls and luggage) made me decide that I had better look at sorting a tow car and trailer.

My brother has a land rover which I have used for towing in the past but comfort and speed are not its strong points and the fact that I had broken the windscreen the last time out may have upset my brother.
I normally borrow a friend’s plant trailer but if I am towing with a car not the land rover/4x4 I think it’s worth getting a low level – low weight car trailer. So it was onto the internet to check prices of second hand trailers and look for the local hire companies. After much searching I decided I don’t use a trailer enough to own one plus my drive is 2 inches too small to get a trailer into the back garden! In the end I found a local van company which hire out a very well looked after Woodford tilting trailer.
In the mean time I had spoken to my dad and he had offered me the use of his E class Mercedes estate – prefect, it can tow 2.1 ton! But I need to get a tow bar and electrics fitted!
There was a thread on North loop regarding tow bars, so had a read and was pointed to a company on eBay that sold a full range of tow bars.
In the end I went for a removable one as I didn’t want my dad’s car to look any different.

As I said earlier the E30 had been towed home after Cadwell Park last year due to a fuel pump problem – the idea before going to spa /Nurburgring was to fix this problem and get both the pumps to run off the ignition switch.
The wiring for the fuel pumps and ignition to the starter had been a problem since I had first done the engine conversion.
I had to run a wire to the starter direct to the ignition to start the car and set up a relay extra loom in the boot to run the fuel pumps these where turned on when I turned the car lights on(little security trick)
After posting up on E30 zone I was helped out by the guy that had done my engine loom (Dan) and he worked out that a wire in my car loom was shorting and causing the ignition to stay on all the time. Once this wire had been sorted I could run the ignition and fuel pumps off the standard car loom and remove my wiring. This may sound like an easy job but it’s a pain.
Also on my list of jobs was to get and fit an aluminium radiator. I was luckily enough to spot a e36 aluminium radiator one on eBay quite local so bought that and it slotted straight into the front of the car.
I had read about the BMW motorsport cars having an electric power steering pump fitted to their cars and after having problems with leaking fluid from the standard the E36 pump and container I decided to change mine to electric as well. I did some research and found out that the motorsport pumps that are used on the cars are the same ones that Mercedes use on there A-Class cars so I bought one off eBay and looked at places in the engine bay to fit it.
The existing pump is on the front right of the engine bay low down on the front of the engine. I looked at fitting the new pump nearby but due to the air filter there isn’t enough room. On the left side of the engine bay the exhaust manifold covers much of the space and I didn’t really want the plastic pump near a heat source.
Some e30 are fitted with air con so they all come with a hole in the front left inner wing for the air gas canister to fit in. Most like mine have a round bit of metal sealing the hole. I measured the hole and found out it match the power steering pump so with a bit of metal bending and some drilling I got the pump to sit behind the front bumper and out into the engine bay for me to fill with fluid.
I had a local farming engineering shop make me up some longer pipes to match the new placement of the pump.
The existing pump is run off the belt along with the alternator and water pump so a shorter belt was needed. My local motor factors are easy going and are happy enough to look for the shorter belt for me – Couple of option came up near to the size I had measured so both where bought and checked for fitment.

To go with the pump and make sure I had no more steering leaks I had the steering rack rebuilt by a company in Wakefield – Paul (phatVR6) had got a rack rebuilt by them and pointed me in their direction. They also rebuild all the Ginetta racks (they use E46 M3 racks).

In March I went for my yearly MOT and was told that both of my front wheel bearings where making a bit of noise so needed swapping.
The E30 M3 runs 5 stud unlike all other E30s that run 4 stud – this makes it a little harder to get wheel bearings. (The bearing come already pressed into the wheel hubs). I had fitted a 5 series wheel hub before and it had lasted a couple of years so I ordered a couple more. They arrived quite quick and where fitted with the help of some bearing pullers to get the old bearings off.

crossie
11-05-2016, 09:42 AM
Monday 4th April
The morning of the trip and the main thing to do was go collect my dad’s car and getting the hire trailer, surprising this all went well with me only forgetting my national insurance number (needed to check points and also that the licence isn’t an old issue one) a quick call to the girlfriend and this was sorted.
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Back to the house and load the car onto the trailer- couple of blocks of wood was needed just to lift With the car loaded and our luggage in the tow car the tow car looked very low to the ground (memories of my old 325tds) thankfully which we didn’t know about is the car had rear airbag suspension (think this comes standard on all 7 seater estate car) and once started the rear of the car went up and levelled out.
The drive to Hull was easy, I had decided on the longer route as it’s mostly duel carriageway all the way.
Quick stop off at the hull Halfords for some spare fuses on route then to the ferry
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At the ferry we meet a number of other people with cars on trailers including the Pinder family.
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Once on the ferry the luggage was dropped in the room and we went to the bar for a couple of beers to relax.
Nakita was most interested in why Nige need to have 19 spare tyres with him!
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After a couple of beers it was off to the buffet via the rear deck for a photo looking back to England.
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Tuesday 5th April
After a good night’s sleep (apart from the light around the door) we had breakfast and meet up with the Pinders.
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As I was parked in front of them on the boat, I would lead to Spa.
This didn’t last long and lost them in traffic.
The trip wasn’t bad with only a couple of short stops for fuel and lunch and bit of traffic.
Once we arrived at Spa we tried to drop the car and trailer off but due to a McLaren track day we could not get access to the pits till 8 o’clock.
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I had booked the Radisson Blu in Spa thinking we wouldn’t have the trailer (knew the parking was not the best from last time I was here)
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Thankfully they have redone the square at Spa and there is now a gravel car park outside the hotel – parking was still fun.
Once checked in we had a walk around Spa and a look up to the Spa on the hill behind the hotel – nice ride on the Funicular.
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We had an earliest diner at the local grill restaurant and headed to bed.
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Wednesday 6th April
Early start, down for breakfast at 6 and set off to the track for 6.30
Few people had arrived and started unloading.
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I removed the car off the trailer and started to look at the wiring for the power steering pump. Nige and I had been discussing the wire/fuses for it due to me not being able to get a big enough fuse (60amp) at Halfords in Hull. Nige had suggested to run 2 fuses and 2 length of wire – I did this and it worked and is still working (must sort it out)
Andy and Hayley arrived and got on with the Briefing. All quite standard apart from saying that you need a fire extinguisher in your car for going round Spa.
This was the first time I had heard about this and had to hire one off them. Annoying when I had one sat at home.
Garry had driven over late Tuesday evening in his MX5 turbo and just arrived for the end of the briefing.
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While he sorted his car out I went out for sighting laps. This was the first time Nakita had been on track and was a little bit excited. After the 2 laps I came back in and she went out with Garry
At this point I swapped to slicks, so when they came back in she came straight out me again.
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After 20 minutes I came back in and Nakita decided it was coffee time so headed to the café.
Garry and I head back out swapping cars and drivers for the rest of the day.
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Unfortunately not any videos due to me buying the wrong usb plug (usb mini and usb micro)
Throughout the day I had been stopping by where Nige was parked and was checking on his progress, I had seen he had had his flags out so knew he’d been having problems. I had kept my distance as not to get in the way.
I had also seen Mankee had turned up in his Caterham (knew him from back in my saxo owners club days) he’d been having a great day till his alternator had packed up! Luckily the Jacobs paddock guys had come to his rescue and ordered him a alternator only problem was it was getting delivered to Nurburg
We both had a great day and lapped right up to 6 o’clock.
Hayley let us store our cars and trailer in a garage overnight which saved us reloading everything
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Back to the hotel few beers a wash and out for some food. Nice little restaurant just down from the hotel steak for Garry and we both had pasta.

crossie
11-05-2016, 09:42 AM
Thursday 7th April
Not quite as early start 6.30 breakfast and headed to the track for 7.15
Nakita made the girl choose and stayed at the hotel - 10 o’clock breakfast and a trip to the spa, I picked her up at 1200 just in time to check out.
Garry and I had been having a great time at the track but at lunch time it decided to rain
Thankfully it only lasted 30minutes and within another 30 minutes it was dry and everyone was out lapping again.
About 3 o’clock there was a hail shower and loads of people decided that was that, I was one of them people and started loading the car. At about 4 the sun came out and dried everywhere up.
Garry quickly said let’s not go let’s get back on track
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We did and had a great 2 hours of clear fast track time!
Mankee had got up early and headed to Nurburg, picked up his new alternator and got back to spa about 11, had his alternator fitted and was out on track just after lunch.
Nige had been having a good morning and passed us a few times on track but later in the afternoon I had seen that the red flag was out near his car and had keep my distance.
We packed up at 6:30ish and before leaving went and saw the Pinders. Nige had had a terrible afternoon with this crack sensor trigger wheel come loose off his crack and cause game over for the day and for the track day at Nurburg.
I said we would see them at Nurburg and headed off. We decided on the long route to Nurburg as some of the route can be small country roads and I was tired and not happy doing them towing.
Towards the end of the drive a red Porsche gt3 overtook us – later found out it was the Lizard – Alex and Cat going to the Nurburg with a customer’s car.
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We headed to the lindenhof and got our room keys for the Burgstube – had a wash and headed back to the lindenhof for food.
Martin (Texas), Andy Carlisle, Alex (lizard), Cat, Simon and Martin where there.
Mankee, Mumfred and the rest of the Pinders soon arrived
Martin was cooking so Burgers and schnitzel and few beers then off back to the Burgstube for bed.
Friday 8th April
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Breakfast at the Burgstube then head down to the overflow carpark/field – having to defrost the cars first
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Mankee, Mumfred Garry and I all got parked together and decided to make the field our parking point.
We headed over for the early morning briefing.
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Dale was taking it and was quite keep on reminding people that if you crash you will be paying for the barrier damage!
The start of the day was delayed due to the frost (about an hour)
Nakita jumped in with me and we headed out for our sighting laps. She had never been to the ring so was shocked on how long the track was!
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We did 2 sighting laps then the track came live. We came in after the 2nd lap and waited till everyone had passed then went back out for the first clear fast lap.
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After that lap we came in and I went out with Garry for a couple of laps we swapped cars all morning till we passed an accident at Pflanzgarten 2 a gold E46 M3 BMW had hit the barriers and the circuit closed.
I rang Nakita to say we are off for an early lunch.
We head down to Adenau Bridge to the café – we can hear/see when the circuit reopens from here
About 1 ish the circuit reopened and we headed back up.
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I jumped in with Garry and headed out Mankee followed us – on the second lap Garry said the car seem to be pulling when braking. We slowed down and head back for the car park. The brakes in the MX5 where new for the trip and when we check where almost down to the metal on them all. One of the rear calipers inside pads was on the metal and caused the car to move about. No spare pads meaning day over for the MX5.
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We headed out in the E30 and continued lapping all afternoon. At about 4:40 we headed out for laps and noticed an E36 BMW parked at the bridge shortly after the start finish straight. Just as we hit the first corner the red flags came out and stopped our fun.
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The day was finished; the BMW had dropped oil all the way up the pit straight. (Later finding out an oil line had split on it).
We packed up and head to the Lindenhof for cold relaxing beers.
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We headed back to the Burgstube and changed before heading to the Pistenklause for evening meals and chat. Mankee, Mumfred and a couple of other Caterham owners joined Garry, Nakita and I for steak and general track day chat.
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We had a great night and I was later told by Nakita that she had had the best steak even there. (not a steak on the stone steak)
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Saturday 9th April
We had all said we would have a late start on Saturday but due to the day being lovely the circuit open at 8am we didn’t have a chance for a lie in!
Mankee Mumfred Garry Nakita and I all meet for breakfast and then afterward said our good byes as they headed back to channel tunnel.
We went and had some photos with the Nurburgring sign
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Then we head to the beer shop in Adenau then headed to Brugge – Nakita had been just before Christmas and wanted to go back.
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We had a bit of fun and games trying to park the car and trailer near the centre and ended up just parking on a side street then just walking into town.
A quick waffle and hot chocolate and a walk about before heading back to the car and the ferry.
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We meet the Pinders at the ferry and said we would meet them in the bar once on board.
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We meet at the bar had a couple of beers and Nige showed us a couple of video of him round Spa before heading to the buffet for evening meal.
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Afterward we headed back to the bar and then to bed.

Sunday 10th April
We got up and meet the Pinder for breakfast.
At this point I have never seen Nige so ready for home and taking his Golf apart (he need to know what damage had happen as he was due back to Germany in 2 weeks for DN14)
Once the ferry had docked we said our goodbyes and headed home.


Items to sort
After speaking to Matt and Nige I am running a diff that’s a bit long – currently looking for a 3.64 LSD Medium case
I need to get my cameras sent up in the car and remember to take photos of everything that’s happening or I am doing.
Maybe a Performance box or external GPS for Harrys lap timer (always fails for me at the ring)

crossie
11-05-2016, 09:44 AM
Sorry about the size of my photos - they all seem to have re-sized!

leavingeasy
11-05-2016, 09:55 AM
Great report.

Rather envious of your vehicle combo there- seems the perfect way to travel in every respect!!

crossie
11-05-2016, 10:05 AM
Great report.

Rather envious of your vehicle combo there- seems the perfect way to travel in every respect!!

Thanks
Am really happy that I get to tow with the Merc

Screacher
11-05-2016, 10:11 AM
Enjoyed that. Thanks Ed.

Brando
11-05-2016, 10:46 AM
Love this car, one of my favs on NL. An utter dream car. Sounds a great trip, thanks for sharing.

Simon
11-05-2016, 10:50 AM
Enjoyed reading that. Looks like it was a very successful trip :thumb:

Kev_G
11-05-2016, 05:57 PM
good read Ed thanks for sharing

crossie
12-05-2016, 09:59 AM
Cheers for the comments

Was a great trip - little bit rushed

Car was good - may need another wheel bearing but apart from that fine!

Rich Bernard
12-05-2016, 08:13 PM
Excellent report. Enjoyed that!

Fitz711
12-05-2016, 11:26 PM
Looks like you're starting to get some decent running now Ed. :thumb:

crossie
13-05-2016, 07:25 AM
Looks like you're starting to get some decent running now Ed. :thumb:

brakes are the current problem

hopefully fixed for croft next month!

Nige
14-05-2016, 07:21 AM
Just found some time to read all this :thumb:

Good report, captures your happy memories well :veryhappy:

You weren`t the only one who hadn`t read the instruction pack Javelin had sent re fire extinguishers. Gurds hadn`t brought his either and hired one..


We really enjoyed our time with you and Nakita on this trip

crossie
14-05-2016, 07:50 AM
We really enjoyed our time with you and Nakita on this trip

same to you guys

Peach-uk
14-05-2016, 07:52 AM
Thanks for posting - looks like a great trip :)

RichW
14-05-2016, 10:40 AM
Thanks for sharing - enjoyed reading that :thumb:

bimmer
14-05-2016, 10:26 PM
Good report and this is one great pic!

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jjturner
15-05-2016, 05:55 AM
Great report, one question. Is the fire extinguisher rule made by Spa or just that TDO? Just never heard that before.

stu8v
15-05-2016, 08:39 AM
Great read. 👍

Nige
15-05-2016, 09:27 AM
Great report, one question. Is the fire extinguisher rule made by Spa or just that TDO? Just never heard that before.
My understanding is it was from the circuit. It isn`t in any other event instructions Javelin send out, just Spa. They usually `recommend` you carry one, but Spa wording is different.

I can`t see them adding it without being told to :fish:

Just looked, Circuit days say the same
"Note for events at Spa-Francorchamps all cars have to be equipped with a fire extinguisher "

Gary Kinghorn
16-05-2016, 07:48 PM
A great read chap :thumb: