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February 10, 2012

There’s no other way to say this. I’m a car guy. Always have been, always will be.

Cars are encoded into my DNA. I love looking at them. Dreaming about them and, mostly, driving them. Oftentimes, the faster, the better. To say I have a heavy right foot is a bit of an understatement. But while I drive quickly, I’m also pretty damn safe.

I don’t tailgate. I use turn signals. I pay attention to my mirrors and what’s going on around me. I take driving seriously, as opposed to most people who simply look at their time behind the wheel as a necessary evil while they go from one place to another.

Why am I so confident behind the wheel? Because, unlike most people, I’ve taken a number of high-performance driving classes over the years. Everything from two-day defensive driving schools to a series of classes that, eventually, would have earned me an SCCA license. (Getting a competition license is very expensive, by the way. And if you really want to race, I recommend getting a sponsor or a trust fund.) While I never completed my SCCA certification, I did progress to the point where I was driving entry-level, open-wheeled formula Ford race cars around Lime Rock Raceway.

Suffice it to say, I have some skills behind the wheel.

As a car guy, there are certain “bucket list” items you want to accomplish before you die, not the least of which is driving Germany’s famous and fearsome Nurburgring. If you’re unfamiliar with the Nurburgring, here’s a quick primer. Originally opened in 1927, “The Green Hell” is nestled in Germany’s Eifel mountains near both Cologne and Frankfurt. Created with four separate loops, the track is now primarily known for the Nordschleife or Northern Loop, which features more than 130 curves spread over 13 miles of track. Oh, and it’s open to the public.

That’s right. On any given day, you can show up in your Porsche, Ferrari, BMW or Honda Civic and drive one of the world’s most famous and dangerous race courses. And, because it’s in Germany, there’s no speed limit.

A car guy’s wet dream.

Like any self-respecting car guy, I plan on taking some laps on the Nordschleife when I can figure out how to make it happen. But, no matter how crazy that may sound – or may actually be – I would never consider doing it like this: Nurburgring in the Snow.

That, my friends, takes balls that I just don’t have.

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