A60 Autobahn, Germany
This Great Road, originally written by John Boggiano, features in issue 59 of Total 911.
Unlike many of the roads in this series, the subject here does not cut through epic scenery nor does it offer spectacular on-limit driving prospects. Instead it offers a chance to experience your car’s full performance potential. Legally and in relative safety.
If you’ve ever been sufficiently intrigued by the prospect of no speed limits on Germany’s autobahn network to investigate it for yourself, the chances are that you’ll have been disappointed. Much of it is two-lane and it can be plagued by poor surfaces, congestion and roadworks. Although normal cruising speeds in many areas do tend to be in three figures, it can be difficult to find unrestricted stretches with no other vehicles to worry about.
Even a solitary additional vehicle can be a serious hazard if you’re travelling at very high velocities but this easily accessible stretch of 20 miles of the A60 offers an excellent chance of speed with solitude.
In the right circumstances, this road is eminently suitable for sustained high speed, but that’s not to say that your car, or you the driver, are similarly capable. Make sure your car is in tip-top condition, freshly serviced, free of worrying or unusual noises or vibrations. Check the condition and pressures of your tyres and ensure that you understand that the safety of yourself and others is absolutely paramount.
In a capable car like a modern 911, very high speed can be deceptive and composed, until something goes wrong.
We discovered this stretch of autobahn more than ten years ago, when it was still under construction. Situated close to both Spa Francorchamps and the Nürburgring, it appeared from the atlas that it didn’t lead to or from anywhere significant. Investigation showed it to be quiet, three-lanes wide and beautifully surfaced.
Furthermore, the westbound carriageway has only gentle curvatures along a prolonged downhill section so it offers a chance to reach the redline even in cars that will not pull to maximum revs on a level surface. For example, while a 997 GT3 Gen1 has an official top speed of 193mph, the gearing is such that, given a chance to reach the rev-limiter in top gear, it will actually nudge 207mph here.
We’ll begin by heading eastwards from Prüm. The A60 becomes quieter as we approach Junction 4 near Bitburg, and beyond that the first opportunities for serious leg-stretching begin. It’s a chance to make sure everything is okay, that the carriageways are clear of hazards and that your mind is fully tuned in to high speed.
At Junction 10 the slip road leads off the A60 and then over the top of it before allowing a rejoining on the autobahn’s westbound carriageway.
Once heading down onto the westbound side, you’re on the downhill slope that will continue for several miles. The surface is smooth, the lanes and carriageway wide and, if you’re fortunate, the road for the next dozen miles is occupied only by your vehicle.
Remember, while many sections of autobahn are unrestricted in terms of speed limit, you will still render yourself liable to charges relating to reckless or dangerous driving if you conduct your driving in an inappropriate manner. If your run is interrupted, so be it; you can just turn around and do it again.
And don’t think about doing high-speed runs like this without a full tank of fuel at the outset; it is amazing how quickly it disappears when your right foot is pressed to the floor for minutes at a time.
So there it is – if you want to drive fast in an environment where your concentration can be focused fully just on that one matter, this piece of the A60 offers the chance to do just that. However, I am not suggesting that you should do so; that is entirely up to you. The stresses on your car at its maximum speed are huge – this truly is its operating limit after all – so do not do so for prolonged periods. If in any doubt at all, don’t.