Milano Diaries – Aadil Naik – A Petrosexual Meets His Love At AutoBahn
MISB Bocconi is the first Italian business school in India, and more so, the first worldwide off-shore presence of a premier European Institute – Universita Bocconi. It offers post graduate program in Business and executive education, which are designed and taught by the faculty of SDA Bocconi, the management school of Universita Bocconi Milan, Italy. What sets the PGPB apart from the conventional programs is the 4 month specialization semester at Bocconi in Milano. Aadil Naik, a thorough petrosexual meets his love at Autobahn, thanks to the the international exposure at MISB Bocconi.
There is just one constant in airports over the world. Food is obscenely expensive.
But nothing could deter me from the reason I was here at Bergamo Airport, 60km from Milan.
Frankfurt. Where the IAA (Frankfurt Motor show for you lesser mortals) was being held. And the Nurburgring aka The Green Hell.
My first (of hopefully many) weekend trips was to satisfy the Petrosexual in me. Two days of pure automobile nirvana. The IAA being one of the most sought after shows, where the who’s who of the automobile world display concepts and new launches, and this is a good year to be there.
And of course, the Nurburgring. The world’s most sought after racetrack. A bucket list item for every person who claims to love cars. As I wait to board RyanAir Flight #5203, all I can think of is which car I’d buy it I had a million dollars. Lamborghini Huracan Spyder? Bentley Bentagya? Ferrari 488 Spyder? How fast can I lap the Nurburgring? Can I do the 24km in under 10min?
But “Attention all passengers. Welcome to RyanAir flight 5203…” And we were off. Frankfurt, ready or not, here I come…..
Day 1: Lust Is In The Air
Most people are aware that the Autobahn has no speed limits; few have experienced what that means. I am now those lucky few. I was with a friend and his BMW 3-Series, and I was in the drivers seat! Two lanes. Pedal to the metal all the way. You think you are fast? Try doing 180kmph in the fast lane and suddenly you are causing a jam cause of all the Porsche’s tailgating you. 250-300kmph is very familiar scene, and words can’t do justice to the feeling of hearing a V6 roar past you at full chat!
The IAA was on the outskirts of the city, and we made it there by 12 pm. It was unbelievable. Thousands of people thronging to the entrance. Hundreds of cars are lining up to go park. Beemers to Mercs to VWs and everything in between. Stock to sleepers to riced versions. Everyone with one simple goal. Cars.
There were ten halls. Each hall had a collection of manufacturers displaying the latest they had on offer (and even what was not on offer). Ferrari and Lamborghini took the opportunity to launch convertible versions of the 488 and Huracan respectively. Bugatti and Mercedes displayed full functioning concept cars made for the Vision GT project. Bentley and Jaguar finally got into the SUV game by unleashing the Bentagya and the F-Pace. Honda displayed the NSX and the mental 2+4 Track Car.
BMW and Mercedes had halls where their cars would drive to the stage to be ogled by the mob. This being a management school blog, I am now compelled to write something about the management. Very simply, top notch. Huge crowds but managed to perfection. They had shuttle services to the nearest parking lots and massive parking areas. They managed to let people sit on most of the cars that we wouldn’t even dream of owning, and all the time ensuring no one damages those obscenely expensive beauties.I sat in a Tesla P85D. Yup. I did. Besides that, I sat in a bunch of the other dream cars, The Subaru BRZ, Jaguar F-Pace, etc.
All in all, my words do absolutely no justice. You need to see it for yourself. Pictures do a part justice, but if ever you can, please go to the Frankfurt Motor Show.
Day 2: Hitting the Apex
Nurburgring. Nordschleife. If these two words mean nothing to you, stop reading and go back to your mortal and boring existence. If not, this is the crescendo of this post.
It’s a race track every person who owns a car can go. Super car manufacturers use this as a proving ground. It’s on the bucket list of every auto enthusiast. It’s called The Green Hell. And I was there. Not on the sidelines, but on the track in a 2003 BMW 318 Ti.
The drive to the Nurburgring was long, but one of the most scenic ever. If you can, just go for the drive. Go on a motorcycle if possible. And you’ll know you are approaching hallowed ground from miles off. Tuned Supras, Aventadors, 911s, M3s, classics from the 90s, you’ll see them all roaring toward the same destination. Some in a formation, others alone. And then you come around a corner, and just a wire fence separates you from the track, and you hear it. A car is approaching from far off, bouncing off the limiter. You barely catch a glimpse of the matte blue 370Z, before it pulls away rapidly misfiring.
I was finally in heaven.
Now it was time for the real deal. Swiped the ticket at the entrance, and I was in line. And what a line it was! Motorcycles galore, super cars, open top Mazdas, there was a ’93 Porsche 911, and to throw every racing rule out of the book, a Rolls Royce got in line. Yes, a Rolls Royce, on a race track.
By now, my hair was standing on end, and I was feeling fragile amidst the monsters around me. But I was there. And I wanted to make the most of the two laps I had. One lap to get comfortable, and the second lap to do the impossible, lap it in under 10min.
First straight, and I floor it. But you could say I was standing still compared to everyone around me who floored it! Zoom! M3. Zoom, a 911. Zoom zoom, I don’t even know what that was now. I was flat out at 130kmph approaching the first corner. Brake! Brake! Brake! Hit the Apex. Throttle!!! Powerrrrr!!!
I was terrified. There I said it. Very, very terrified. It’s a two-lane track. I was possibly the third slowest car and my first tryst with racing. But man was it a rush! Ooooh man. My first lap I managed a 14sec, which wasn’t that bad. But now the last lap. Suddenly YOLO philosophy took over, and I turned off the traction control. And awaaayyyyy!!!! 160 at the first corner. Stabbing the brake while turning and the tires struggled for grip. And then it happened. What we pray for. What we dream of. The back end went loose, and I was over steering. The last time this happened was when I was in India, and cab hit me. Not fun. This time, though? Hell yes!!! I was sliding! On a race track! In Germany! In a rear wheel drive Beemer! Wooooooooo!!! Now I was over the moon! I was now going flat out, with only God to protect me. I slid into another corner, but it caught mid traction turn upsetting the chassis, and making me swerve across the track! Whew. 24km later, I was done. 11min and 6.31sec. Mission almost accomplished. My friend, who’s car I was driving, was up for the next two laps, but unfortunately, there had been an accident involving a biker. Thus, the track had to be shut down. And suddenly I realised it was over. I also realised I was shaking. Excitement? Yes. Fear? Most definitely. But I had successfully ticked that off my bucket list.
Went to the fan shop and got fan stuff. Expensive but hey, it’s the Nurburgring man!
The drive to the airport was one of silence. Still finding it hard for the experience to sink in. That I went to The Green Hell, and I made it out in one piece. And now as the plane takes off to fly me back to Milan, that’s what I bid farewell too. Not Germany, not Frankfurt. But Goodbye Nordschleife. Farewell, dear friend. I will be back someday in a car that’s meant to be driven in that place. Ciao till then.
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