Every once in a while all the hard work as a photographers pays of. This was one of those times… I was called by an editor from Rijtesten.nl with the opportunity to accompany him on a trip to Cologne. The Focus RS500 press car had to be returned from the Dutch Ford HQ to the factory in Cologne, and Ford was kind enough to let him take a photographer with him. The schedule was kinda tight, leaving Amsterdam at 1:00PM and having to be ready for dinner in Cologne at 7:30PM, but I thought that we could squeeze in a visit to a special German photo location I had in mind… the famous Nürburgring Nordschleife!
Driving through the Netherlands it soon got clear that this RS500 version of the Focus RS is serious business. The already monstrous power of 300bhp and 440Nm gets upped to a whopping 350bhp and 460Nm by the addition of some Mountune-goodies. The exhaust bangs and pops at every opportunity and you can hear the BOV whistle whenever you release the throttle at max turbo pressure. Oh, and the sound, the sound… I’m so in love with the addictive warble of potent 5-cylinders!
The car is wrapped in matte black, and together with German license plates and the aggressive spoilers it’s sure that you’ll grab a lot of attention wherever you go.
We were really looking forward to crossing the German border and finally letting all those horses warp us towards the horizon. As soon as we reached the A61 we went for it… but not for long, as it started to drizzle and there are 130kph-speedlimits everywhere…
As soon as we took a turn towards the A1 things got better… much better! There was hardly any traffic at all and the road had dried again, so we zipped towards the Nürburgring at an indicated 270kph, along with that magnificent soundtrack. The closer we got towards the Nordschleife, the better the weather got. The Eiffel is known for it’s weird micro climate, but this time it turned out in our favor. As the A1 came to an end and we continued our trip towards Adenau, the RS500 really came into it’s element, blasting from corner to corner, with two Dutch guys in it, smiling from ear to ear!
The Nordschleife itself was closed for the day, with some motorbike safety course going on, so we weren’t greeted by the usual sight of sports cars everywhere you look. This also meant that the sands near the section Brünchen were deserted, perfect for some photos. The backdrop of the Nürburgring in autumn colors is a wet dream for every car photographer and the matte black ‘paint’ meant that the car was a lot easier to photograph than a regular black car. I used my flash in Strobist-style to add some light to the dark side of the car.
As we were about to wrap things up (after having chatted to the fifth enthusiastic German that loved the RS500), the sun set and it got darker. After a couple of minutes, everything turned pink and we were greeted by a truly epic sky! At first we were really amazed, but than I quickly got my camera out again and continued shooting…
After that we still had to do some driving shots, and I had seen a nice hairpin on our way from Breidscheid towards the main entry of the track. So we quickly returned to that location, but as soon as we crossed the first hill we stumbled upon thick fog. This meant that it had gotten really really dark by the time we reached the hairpin. There was no streetlight at all, so I had to resort to using ISO 12,800 on my Canon 7D. It’s better to get noisy photos than no photos at all, and I think they turned out quite acceptable.
After that we took some interior photos, where darkness isn’t a real problem, as I used a small softbox to light the interior. The red Recaro seats really make the interior pop, so that was an easy job for me. Also I finally got an opportunity to use my recently acquired Tokina 11-16/2.8, great lens on the 7D!
After that we had to hurry to get back to Cologne, where we had to be at 7:30PM. We took the quickest option this time, along the A61 and A565. Zipping along the A565 between Bonn and Cologne, there’s an unlimited section surrounded by large industrial factories, that are all lit at night. This really made driving on the Autobahn at 200kph+ feel like a scene from Need For Speed, and I have to admit that it felt awesome at the end of this great day with the RS500!
We made it to the hotel just in time, arriving at 7:20PM… After some beers in a local ‘Kneipe’ and a night in a great hotel in Cologne we took the ICE back to the Netherlands, but unfortunately it didn’t go over 180kph… I’d really like to thank Jan from Rijtesten.nl and Dennis from Ford NL for letting me come along on this epic trip! Be sure to read Jan’s great review of the Ford Focus RS500 on Rijtesten.nl!