My first car was a Volkswagen Beetle with about 60 kilowatts. It was very reliable – it never broke down. In fact, it was actually so slow to break down that I had to kill it myself in order to get on to the next one. After that I bought a Golf GTI 16v, the MkII. I pimped it up, put black rims on it, leather seats inside, and then sold it. That meant I could afford a crashed Golf G60 which I repaired. It never went straight but it looked spectacular!
Then I changed from the G60 to a Seat and started racing in the Seat Ibiza Cup. I couldn’t afford another car at the time so I had to use it as my road car too. It only had one seat and a rollcage inside. People looked at me as if I was mad.
It was around that time that I had my scariest experience in a car. I was a passenger in the rear of a Golf GTI – I must have been 18 or 19 years old. Two friends of mine drove me to a Seat prizegiving, and back in the day you wouldn’t put seat belts on in the back. We were going down the Austrian autobahn, though, and there wasn’t any speed limit to be respected – it felt fast, so I put the seat belt on.
At 220kph we had a rear right puncture. All I remember is that my friend was trying to recover the car, steering left and right and left and right. He finally lost it, we spun around and hit the rail in the middle six or seven times. It must have taken 200 metres until the car stopped. I sat in the back seat with my seat belt on. The whole frame had ripped off. I undid my belt and literally – without having a door – stepped out. Everybody was OK. No injuries. The car was a wreck. It was a really, really scary situation where I wasn’t in control.
After the Seat, I had a VW Golf Rallye G60 and then a Lancia Delta Integrale, before I stopped racing and started working so that I could afford better cars. I upgraded to a 993 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S and then continued with different Porsches for a while.
Right now, I’ve mostly got Mercedes. I like SUVs so we have a GLE 63 and my favourite car – a G63 AMG, the old generation, though. I love that car – it’s pure emotion. It’s the most iconic SUV chassis you can have and then it has this super-big engine in there. It’s a superb car. Whoever thinks it’s pointless clearly doesn’t understand emotions around a car. This car triggers emotions. It’s fantastic.
I really like the AMG cars, and it’s not just because I’m a Mercedes guy. I have an AMG GT R. I love it. I didn’t go for the green, though – it’s silver because I like the carbon parts and they stand out better with that colour. In terms of the future, I have unfinished business with the Nordschleife. I tried to beat the lap record in a Porsche 911 GT3 RSR in 2009. I had a 7m 03s lap, and then the following one would have been a 6m 45s but I had a puncture.
The new 911 GT3 R, on the Nordschleife… that’s me. I might do that.