A Ferrari F40, a Lamborghini Countach, a McLaren F1, a Mazda 787B, a Ford GT40 with Gulf livery and last but certainly not least, a Honda NSX. Just a small selection of cars that graced the walls of my room as a kid. I say selection because I had much, much more car related stuff hanging on my walls. But times change and so do we. Because if I could choose any car from the posters I had hanging on my wall, it would be the NSX! And the 787B! And I wouldnt say no if someone gave me an F40 but the NSX would be on top of that list!
So what would you do if you’re given the opportunity to spend an entire weekend with one of your childhood heroes as a photographer? You pack your bags, charge the batteries for your camera, clean your lenses, instruct your mother to feed your cat and you make sure you’ve got some sunscreen. At least that’s what I did after Bas and Dimer of NSX Club Europe asked me to be the photographer for the 2014 tour. Well, minus the sunscreen. Something I still regret…
Day one – Hitching a ride to Spa
So it was settled. I would tag along with some of the finest machines Honda had ever produced. There was one small problem though. I couldn’t use my own car, because well, you can’t drive and shoot at the same time! Well, not the entire trip anyway but luckily Dimer had a solution. Enter René and his immaculate silver NA1. René was kind enough to take me along for the ride to the first rendezvous point near Luik / Liège and I would hop along from car to car during the trip.
As with any super car, the NSX isn’t a pretty common sight on European roads. Unless you know someone that owns one, or go to a track event every now and then but chances are you’ve never had an encounter in the wild. René and a couple of fellow NSX drivers however arranged to meet before heading to the general meeting point. Now one NSX is a sight to be hold but two…
… and eventually three NSX’es together is something special!
But before this tour I never could have guessed there would come a day where I would run into 33 of them. But that’s exactly what happened once we arrived at the meeting point in Luik. I was that little boy again. Admiring each and every car as if it was a poster hanging in my childhood bedroom.
Cars kept rolling in and it almost seemed to good to be true but it wasn’t because I had arrived in NSX heaven! Some mild…
… and some pretty
wild wide! This particular car already made a huge trip before the tour even started because the owner, Sandro, drove all the way from Croatia to join us! Talk about dedication! No trailer queens to be found during this tour.
Once the group was complete it was time to head out to the first tour destination: The famous Spa Francorchamps circuit for the Spa Classics. Unfortunately Dimer’s NSX wasn’t finished in time for the tour so he drove the family S2000 instead. I’m glad he did because it makes an excellent car to shoot rolling shots from…
… as demonstrated in the next few photo’s. In fact, I took a lot of rolling shots during the weekend but can’t write about a tour without having rolling shots, right? I really need to get into shooting video as well because words can’t describe how good this particular NSX sounds! It’s equipped with a Pride V2 exhaust which has been designed to produce a Formula 1 like sound and I’m not talking about the shitty 2014 V6 turbo Formula 1 sound, I’m talking about the proper V8 sound. I can tell you first hand: It delivers!
I already mentioned the NSX from Croatia but that wasn’t the only car that already survived quite a trip prior to the start of the tour. Not one, not two, but three(!!) NSX’es made it all the way from Norway and I’m not talking about southern Norway either.
Beeing surrounded by angry sounding, high revving, v-tec kicking and on some occasions supercharged howling engines is something I’ll never forget. I can’t explain the feeling you get when you experience these cars while they are
driving on taking over the highway! It’s something any car enthusiast should enjoy at least once in their life.
After some spirited driving we arrived at the Spa circuit for a day of old school racing and the tour organization made sure we had the best seats in the house!
Because there was a spot reserved right next to the Formula 1 pit boxes, on the inside of the famous La Source corner!
This also meant that we could get up close and personal with some of the best sounding cars in racing history. After La Source we could hear them climbing their way up Eau Rouge and even blasting full speed at the Kemmel straight!
Speaking of some of the best sounding cars in history, the 767B has got to be in the top three! I’ve experienced the Mazda 787B up close and personal in Japan but it’s predecessor almost sounds just as good.
Mankind simply hasn’t been able to come up with a word that describes the sound the quad rotor 13J engine produces and in my opinion it’s a sound far more beautiful than any Formula 1 car has ever produced! As I already mentioned we heard some cars hauling ass all the way over at the Kemmel straight. But this could be heard all over the circuit, even as far back Les Fagnes and you could clearly hear it stepping on the throttle after coming out of Stavelot!
But between the qualification sessions for the classic races there was some open track time which meant that some of the tour participants took the opportunity to take their pride and joy for a couple of laps on the famous Belgian circuit. I can’t blame them! There aren’t many people who get the opportunity to blast trough Eau Rouge.
I’m talking about some serious driving as well! What’s the point in taking your car to a track and don’t drive it in anger? I’m pretty sure that the legend who co-developed the “Japanese Ferrari” was looking down from that big race cloud in the sky and I’d like to think he was smiling. Senna’s legacy was in good hands!
But it was time to head out and some folks where already preparing for the next day! Which meant a trip to another famous racetrack: The Nürburgring.
But not before we had some grub and a good nights sleep at our 4 star hotel in Luxembourg!
The tables where already set for a hungry party of 70+ people…
… but your trusty blogger was already hard at work! Those are all the essentials I need right there to pull an allnighter! Well, minus the camera and a couple of cans of red bull obviously.
Day 2 – A hot day at the green Hell
After a good nights sleep it was time to prepare the cars for their trip to the Nürburgring. Because of the hot weather there where a lot of bugs of the flying variety which meant a lot of splattered bugs on all the windscreens so cleaning your windscreen became somewhat of a necessity.
All set and ready to go! The route that was planned was quite beautiful so I thought it would be a good idea to get a head start, find a good spot and try to capture the cars with a nice scenery. Sounds good, right?
Well, I found a nice spot but there’s a reason there’s a Porsche in this photo and not an NSX. You see, the route was scouted earlier in the year and Dimer fine-tuned it later via Google maps. Little did he now that those minor adjustments meant narrow, unpaved, very NSX unfriendly forrest roads. After an hour at this particular spot we got a call from Bas telling that everybody had gotten of the planned route and drove to the ring via the Autobahn. A valuable lesson learned. Always plan ahead, but never to far!
So it wasn’t until we arrived at Brünchen that I spotted the first “wild” NSX. Everybody was free to spent the day at the ring as they pleased.
We decided to watch the VLN race at Brünchen and after a couple of hours we would move to Adenau for a schnitzel or two. So we checked our gear one last time…
… and dove straight into the action! I’ve been around the world, met plenty of pretty
girls tracks but the ring remains my absolute favorite.
I believe I mentioned it before in a previous article but the Ring is the perfect practice range for any photographer as conditions are never the same. I also love the fact that you don’t have to get “up close and personal” to take a good shot. There’s opportunity aplenty to take a killer photo.
We spotted more NSX’es as soon as we moved to Adenau. Some cruising to their next stop somewhere around the ring…
… while others apparently where doing some shopping at the local supermarket. We found out the race was red flagged due to a rather nasty accident with one of the Nismo GT-R’s so everybody assembled at Adenau for the journey back to the hotel.
The route from the Ring to Luxembourg was a pretty one to say the least…
… and I’ll say it again, seeing a couple of these beauties lined up on the open road is truly a sight to behold! But as soon as we hit the Autobahn…
… it was every man for himself!
Luckily the S2000 isn’t a car what call underpowered but keeping up wasn’t exactly an easy task! There’s one “little” downside to all this high speed autobahn fun…
… because the V6 engine isn’t exactly what you call “eco friendly”. But every downside has a benefit because the petrol prizes in Luxembourg are pretty cheap compared to other countries in Europe.
Now if that isn’t a reason to smile I don’t know what is!
And this sight certainly brought a smile to my face too!
Day three – Autobahn / HondaFest take over
All good things have to come to an end but not before we enjoyed some more time on the Autobahn on our way to HondaFest. Spirits where high and everybody was looking forward to head out one more time before we would go our separate ways.
Weeks before the tour actually started, I had an idea for a shot that I really, really, really wanted to take. A shot of all the NSX’es taking over the highway! The best way to do this was to line up everybody at the hotel before we would ride out to Venlo…
… and it worked like a charm! The highway was ours!
NSX galore! Sometimes a photo says more than a thousand words.
I’ll just let the pictures do the talking…
… because what is there to say other than there’s nothing more awesome than seeing a bunch of Japanese nineties super cars dominating the Autobahn?
Time flies when you’re having fun and I felt like we arrived at Venlo way to soon. But again, all good things have to come to an end!
We arrived fashionably late as HondaFest was already in full swing. But when you drive an NSX you can allow yourself to arrive a little late!
Let’s just say we got a warm welcome from the HondaFest staff! Not sure if they where glad we arrived or that it was the presence of all those NSX’es that brought a smile upon their face.
It’s always nice to be welcomed by a familiar face! Our good friend Patrick aka Palle also showed up with his EF Civic on which I shall be publishing a spotlight pretty soon!
I have to admit, I didn’t take a lot of pictures at HondaFest because 1.) There where a lot of friendly and familiar faces and 2.) I was complete F.U.B.A.R not to mention completely sunburned.
So before I knew it it was time to head home meaning that a brilliant weekend was coming to an end! Sometimes you just want to stop time.
My hometown has it’s own small airport so I could have hitched a flight but that would mean I’d have to skip my ride in an NSX and of course I didn’t know when I would have the opportunity to enjoy that high revving V6 again.
So it was an easy choice which also meant that the circle was complete. My journey finished exactly where it started! In René’s gorgeous silver NA1.
It was a beautiful weekend with beautiful cars and beautiful people and I truly enjoyed every minute of it! And the closing of the door means the end of this article!
But not before I mention a couple of special people.
Of course I have to thank Dimer and Bas for organizing an almost perfect tour! But I’d also like you to meet Mr. Hirofumi Tomiyoshi, the president of the NSX Club of Japan who came out all the way from, you guessed it, Japan to enjoy this tour.
And he came bearing gifts! Thank you very much for visiting our humble country Hirofumi san.
I’ve also shot some spotlights which I’ll publish in the coming weeks…
… and not from “just” NSX’es! So stay tuned for more!
I can end this article in many, many ways. But all I can think of is that I really, really, really want an NSX!
– Allard van Grafhorst