Everybody who’s ever driven in anger has a favorite circuit. For Americans, it might be the tortuous Mazda Laguna Seca or roughly hewn Sebring. For Brits, it’s usually the history and heritage of Brands Hatch, Silverstone or Donington, but there’s always one circuit that commands awe and respect in equal measure, irrespective of where you’re from: The Nordschleife.
Most Ringmeisters reckon it takes at least 100 laps to find your way around, and more to really learn the place. That’s why a typical public day will see a local hero in a VW Rabbit handing it to a tourist’s GT3.
For Paul Lambert, affable CEO of serial Audi enhancers, Stasis Engineering, this was the realization of a life-long ambition. Although his driving credentials were never in doubt (see sidebar) thanks to vast single-seater and touring car experience, he was typical of petrolheads who are always looking for the next big challenge. Even though he’d moved the company to new premises at Summit Point Raceway in West Virginia, he still wanted to push both himself and the efficacy of his conversions to the limit.
Having recently merged with British software specialists Revo Technik, it provided the perfect excuse for both crews to saddle up two Stasis-equipped Audis and spend a couple of days banging out hot laps.
“The Ring has always been on my Bucket List,” Paul explained. “I’ve spent hundreds of hours watching onboard footage and playing it on countless video games. It’s one of those places I simply had to visit. And with the announcement of our partnership with Revo, and the creation of our first European-spec demo cars, we felt now was the perfect time to hook up, have some fun and shakedown the cars.”
The cars in question were certainly up to the task in hand. There was an Audi S5 with the Stasis ‘Euro Edition’ Challenge spec that included stage 1 Revo software and full Milltek cat-back exhaust system, boasting around 400hp. Fully adjustable Bilstein B16 coilovers and a rear sway bar would remove the drama from the cornering process, while 20” Stasis Signature Edition forged wheels made space for the 390mm, six-piston Stasis brake conversion.
The ‘Euro Edition’ S4 was similarly equipped, but had the Stasis brand adjustable suspension package, prototype DSG software and full launch control.
“We had two major objectives,” Paul continued, still trying to justify his playtime. “To prove these conversions were suitable for real-world use, and a blast across four countries in five hours proved their credentials beyond question. But the real art in what we do is making the same cars work really well on the track – with zero changes. The trip was really about showcasing that – and maybe finding time to have some fun as well…”
Having arrived in London, Paul was greeted by his Revo colleagues including CEO Mark Yates. They then took a drive down to the Dover docks, before boarding the ferry for Calais, France. After availing themselves of the salubrious Club Lounge, the team dispatched the next 300 miles in a blur of coffee, unidentified meat-based snacks and a stretch of unrestricted Autobahn.
Having traveled across Europe in ‘Touring’ mode, Revo’s ingenious software needed nothing more than the insertion of their OBD port switch to instantly transform the cars into ‘Challenge’ mode. That done, the stage was set for two days of high-speed antics on the Ring.
Waking up to the Ring outside your window means it’s going to be a good day but everybody needed to focus on business. “I couldn’t wait to get out there but had to remind myself we were there as a development exercise, so we gathered a truck-load of data. I wanted to take the cars home in one piece, so although I was pressing on, there are no prizes handed out for being the fastest guy into the Armco!”