Consider driving no more than 320 kilometers (200 miles) per day during the course of your trip. This will give you plenty of time to stop at various sites, take photos, have a leisurely lunch, and not be rushed. We also recommend making advance hotel reservations for each night of your trip. This approach will provide you with a GPS address to follow and allow you to wander around during the day while still having a destination at night.
Once you have your trip destinations planned, your next task is selecting a rental car. About 80 percent of all European cars are powered by diesels. They get excellent fuel mileage and cruise efficiently at the national speed limits of 130 km/h (81 mph). Diesel is also the lowest-priced fuel, with prices ranging between 1.10 to 1.25 Euros per liter (3.8 liters per gallon). Unleaded 95-octane fuel that will run in your Corvette costs around 1.45-1.55 Euros per liter. Be warned that automatic transmissions are usually not found in lower-level European rental cars unless requested in advance. And as we mentioned earlier, your U.S. insurance is not valid in Europe, so get the maximum coverage offered by the rental agency.
Lords of the 'Ring
The only places you can drive a car like you stole it are in some parts of Germany, on the Autobahn. Most portions of the Autobahn have speed limits that are strictly enforced, especially around major metropolitan areas and construction zones. Our favorite no-limit stretch is the A1 that begins about 19 km (12 miles) southeast of the German town of Adenau. The A1 is one of the newer highways in Germany, with billiard-table-smooth road surfaces and, at most times, minimal traffic. It's a great road to exercise any car, especially a Corvette, and a place where we have touched 200 mph-legally!
The entrance to the famed Nürburgring circuit is located in the town of Nürburg. The track has a short, 5.148-km (3.2-mile) F1 circuit and the longer, 21-km (12.9-mile) Nordschleife course. The F1 track is closed to the public, but the Nordschleife is open at various times during the week at a rate of around 20 Euros per lap. Lapping the 'Ring can be a hair-raising experience, since all types of vehicles are allowed to use it, including motorcycles, tour buses, and race cars. Rental cars are not permitted to lap the 'Ring, but you can rent a 'Ring "taxi" at the track's entrance and be driven around the course by an expert. These rides are well worth the price for the thrill you'll get going around the "Green Hell."
Hopefully we've given you enough of a teaser to get you thinking about planning a driving trip to Europe. In our next installment, we'll share with you some of the details of our trips to various racetracks and historic sites that might be of interest. Stay tuned.