THE COMEBACK OF A NÜRBURGRING CROWD PLEASER

Jürgen Freiburg’s “Pioneer Corrado”

Jürgen Freiburg and his team could have done without the 23rd September, 2017. It was the day when the cult “Pioneer Corrado” of the “Fast Racing Team” suffered a total loss through no fault of its own. A bitter moment for the team, which had competed for ten years with the popular Wolfsburg sports coupé at the VLN endurance championship at the Nürburgring. But race car drivers are tough. Only 24 hours after the crash, the team had decided: We’re going to keep trying. What followed was an extraordinary feat of dedication.

Only one day after the accident, a family contacted Jürgen Freiburg, who had heard about the tragedy and had a pre-prepared VW Corrado body. Jürgen, who works with us as Head of Health and Safety in Ennepetal and Bochum, Germany, did not hesitate for long and picked up the Corrado body. The beginning was made.

In the seven months that followed, Jürgen Freiburg and his team sacrificed hours and hours of their precious free time to build up a new racing Corrado. In the end, it’ll be more than 1,100 invested working hours. A great sacrifice? Not at all. “We enjoyed doing this together,” recalls Jürgen. “It was not an option for us to say that we would rather spend the winter on the sofa,” says Jürgen. After all, the entire team always had the long-awaited comeback in mind.

In the winter months, the body was reinforced for increased stiffness and a new safety cell was welded in. Shortly thereafter, the gearbox and the engine, which was only completely rebuilt in 2016, were installed. Here in Ennepetal, Germany, the 230-hp VW Corrado was fitted with a BILSTEIN MDS2 suspension. The suspension was also adjusted here, the toe and camber measured and the axle components adjusted to one another. “It turned out that the work had gone in the right direction in winter. Everything was adjustable the way it should be,” says Jürgen with satisfaction.

A few months later, we meet Jürgen at the third VLN race of the season in the pit lane at the Nürburgring. Time to get emotional, because the Corrado has actually finished as planned. “It’s exciting for our team to see how seven months of preparation culminate in a single day,” says Jürgen, with shining eyes just before the comeback of the “Pioneer Corrado.” “It is simply unbelievable how much helpfulness and encouragement we have received over the last few months, and how much enthusiasm the car has generated among fans and the media. I am grateful to have experienced this.”

Only about an hour after the start of the race Jürgen’s optimism gets a damper. Jürgen has to park his Corrado in the Breidscheid Bridge on the racetrack. Another accident, through no fault of our own. The race is over – but the season is far from over. Because what was that again? Race car drivers are tough…