Most of you probably know Bill Caswell, the man who took a $500 Craiglist BMW E30 to the Mexican round of the World Rally Championship. Many exciting racing adventures followed, but there was still one challenge that he hasn’t tackled yet: Racing on the Nürburgring Nordschleife.
Bill decided to compete in the 24h Qualifying Race with the 25h of Thunderhill winning Rotek Racing team.
When I arrived at the Nürburgring on Friday, Bill was making practice and setup laps around the the track. He was getting more and more comfortable with the mighty V8-powered RS4.
Bill had a scary moment when the brakes locked up, and losing confidence in the brakes is never good for the driver. The team never found any faults and they worked flawlessly the rest of weekend.
Robb thought Bill was probably just trying to brake in mid air!
One early afternoon Bill, Wyatt Knox, my brother, and I headed out to Adenau. Bill found an awesome kebab shop called Ali Baba. We all loved the food there!
The qualifying race on Saturday went well for the team and Bill. Bill gained very important experience on the most difficult racetrack in the world. His teammates, Robb Holland, Danny Kubasik, and Rob Austin gave him some final tips before the race.
LB: “We all know that the Nürburgring is not a track like any other, what makes it so special for you?”
Bill: “There is nothing like the Nurburgring. Its not just the length of the track or even how much it rains here. It’s the nature of the corners. They are unlike any track on the planet. They feel more like a tarmac rally stage than modern grand prix facility. Its hard to explain the feeling you get dropping into Fuchsröhr. The car keeps accelerating downhill. faster and faster. Left, right, left, and the front wheels lose grip but its ok because its back again in a second. Then you hit the compression and the car nearly bottoms out, and as it unwinds you ride out to the edge of the track, brake slightly and fly into a fast left. Its also because a lot of the high speed commitment sections are blind. You only get to see the corner a millisecond before you hit it.”
Despite some technical problems with the RS4, Bill and his teammates ensured the SP8 class victory. Rotek Racing`s Audi TTRS piloted by Rob Huff, Kevin Gleason and Richard Meins finished 9th overall. Everybody in the Rotek Racing team has given their absolute best; their addiction and enthusiasm towards motorsport was rewarded with two class wins!
LB: “What is the section you have the most respect/fear for?”
Bill: “It was always Fuchsröhre, mostly because the rally driver in me wants to throw the car into it and make that left flat out someday even though I know its not really possible. By the end of the race it was Wippermann-on, but in particular the Pflanzgarten into Pflanzgarten 2 section…that is the most fun!
“Oh and when I got my braking right for the deal on the front straight it was epic. Brake in the compression and back hard on the gas through the corners then down to 4th, 3rd and through the tight ones to the next straight. And the most fear? Flat out down the straight and the dude under the Bisltein bridge pulls out a red and yellow debris flag…
“I was like, ‘Shit, do I lift? Take a different line?’ I turned in slightly later and harder hoping that if there was oil I could spin right down the main straight and not into the wall on the right, but I didn’t lift and there was no oil. Just pieces of a tire I think.
Oh I hate the left-hander on the uphill back straight approaching the Karussell. Hate it. I lifted like mad every time. I’ll go in hot if I own the car but man thats an easy place to make a eyesight mistake and turn in early…”