Christian Menzel meets BILSTER BERG
Christian Menzel is a true multi-talent. He is not only a racing driver, driving coach and presenter, but also above all someone who does not keep his opinions to himself – will this also apply when it comes to the BILSTER BERG?
Actually, you would rather expect Christian Menzel at the Nürburgring, because that has been his home for almost 30 years. But last year we had the pleasure of welcoming Menzel to the BERG as part of a track day organised by Boes Motorsport, where he served as a driving coach. He took the opportunity to tell us a little bit about how most people who come to a race track make a significant mistake: “They think they know how to drive.”
The key to such an event day, according to Menzel, is to gradually introduce people to driving on a race track.
“I always do it very straightforwardly. I look at the people and say: do you want to be amateurs or do you want to be professionals? The participants want to be professionals, of course, so we also work like professionals – not going out ruthlessly, but instead learning the route at a solid pace. Gradually increasing more and more. That’s professional.”
On the day of the event, the participants were first given a guided driving session. This means that everyone drives at least one lap behind the driving coach to get to know the track layout even better. In addition, Christian Menzel offered people to sit in their cars with him to show them what their own cars could do and how the track line would run. This ensured safety and there were no spins or other accidents on that day.
Of course, Menzel also did a few laps himself and had a lot of fun. But there is also one spot on the track that Menzel doesn’t like at all: the Mutkurve! “It’s a bit like flying a helicopter in your living room – you really have to watch what you’re doing. At the entry you always have the feeling that you’re too slow and then when you try to go faster, it doesn’t go the way you want and the exit of the corner comes up fast. So I look to the right and to the left, there are run-off zones where I think: If a massive mistake happens here, hallelujah.”
Menzel’s summary of the BILSTER BERG
“It’s a great race track in a great landscape. Everyone is friendly… You sometimes go somewhere and are treated like a complete idiot. I arrived here this morning and the boss at the entrance gate was nice, he greeted me very nicely – that’s not a matter of course. Here they live it the way it should be. People say hello to each other, they help each other, they explain things. It is the way it should be. It’s fun, I like being here. Everything is very clean, very well maintained – that’s just nice.”
And another tip for the new racer generation:
“When you’re on a modern race track, there’s only one ongoing topic: track limits. But at the BILSTER BERG there are no track limits. If you get too far out, there’s a curb, behind it there’s a meadow or a gravel bed and then there’s a crash barrier or a wall. Take your time to look at it and be aware that a mistake here has very different consequences than on other tracks.”
Track limits are basically the boundary lines on a race track (in white). They determine the limit up to which a driver may push his car to the edge of the track. To simplify it further, track limits indicate the areas on the track that a driver may and may not drive on. Curbs are defined as the areas on the track that separate the track from the grass strip or run-off zones. As a rule, curbs are arranged at an angle and slightly uphill in order to slow down the vehicle somewhat so that it does not get out of its lane and carry dirt onto the track or even be carried out over the track and then become uncontrollable.
You can see what else Menzel has to say in episode 03.2022 of Cars and Faces (in German):
(7) Christian Menzel @BILSTER BERG Cars and Faces, Episode 03.2022 – Interview – 17:42 herrliche Minuten – YouTube