l  Copyright © 2002 until present  -  All rights reserved John Damen  -  Copyright  l
follow me on Facebook
Back to Johnny Cecotto and the sound of Formula 1 cars...

Friday May 27th 2005 at Nürburgring, Germany
Just 2 weeks after our visit to Francorchamps it was time to go to the Nürburgring circuit in Germany since Johnny Cecotto jr. was racing Formula BMW again but tnow as support event of the Formula 1 GP of Europe. Me and Carolien went from home at 7.00 hours and getting closer to the circuit you could see it was a Formula 1 happening. There was lots of traffic and spectators, helicopters and aircrafts flying by. We arrived at 10.15 hours on parking lot A and temperature was rising to a tropic one. I called Johnny on his mobile phone to let him know we did arrive and we should come to the Zakspeed racing school. After some walking and searching we found the place to meet and Johnny was waiting on his scooter at the fence. When he saw us Johnny came out, welcomed us and gave tickets of the Formula BMW ADAC hospitality centre. We walked into the paddock with him but were stopped by the marshal while not having the allowed tickets. Johnny didn't have to do that much to get us in. So a minute later we stood at pit box 26 of TLM in which Johnny Cecotto jr's car was. His mechanic was working on the car and he also recognized us from our previous visit at Francorchamps and welcomed us. I asked him if it was okay to take a picture of him and putting it on my website. I also asked his name again since I had forgotten. Well Franky, here you are on my "dot NL" site. A little later Johnny jr. came and welcomed us. First practice didn't go well this morning since he had a lot of trouble with the handling of his car. He excused for not replying on my e-mail but I told him I did understand he was a very busy man now being a racing driver. The organisation had cancelled today's race of the Formula BMW while 2nd timed practice of Formula 1 has been deleted from now on in the future. Johnny's first race was put on Saturday and so we wouldn't see him race today and that was a disappointment. I took some pictures of the car and Johnny's helmet. Now Johnny gave us the ID-cards of himself and Johnny jr. so we could get in the circuit area. We just had to make sure they couldn't see the pictures that were on the ID's. I felt a little uncomfortable now as for I didn't want Johnny Cecotto to get in trouble if they would catch us. But he didn't seem to worry and said: "Just walk through and don't stop". As Formula 1 started their 1st free practice Carolien and I walked towards the paddock and inner circuit area and we didn't have any trouble to walk past the marshals at the entrance. There we were "inside" the Nürburgring circuit with Formula 1. There was no way to get into their paddock area. It's really very secured but this wasn't bad either. Thousands of people on the standings and long distance away and we saw the cars come by at the pit box on no more than 10 meters away. Man, do these cars make a big noise and what a speed they have. It was a long time ago (1983) I did see or hear these cars for real. At 11.45 hours we went back to the pit box of Johnny jr. as his 2nd practice session started at 12.30. His car was just pushed outside and they put an umbrella into the cockpit to keep the heat of the sun out. Temperature had gone to 30 degrees by then and it was really very hot in the sun. I made a picture of Benjamin Leuchter, Johnny's teammate, who also seemed to recognize us from last time and he smiled nice to the camera. All the racing drivers tried to find a place in the shade before climbing into the cars to await the signal for the start of practice. Carolien made some posing pictures of me with Johnny jr. standing next to each other. Johnny Cecotto gave his son some more advise and said to us we had to go the circuit as for he had to get his ID back to be able to get into the pit lane. We walked in again without problems and while Johnny had left us just before on his scooter we thought he was there waiting to get his ID from me. I couldn't find him though and since practice could start any minute I got worried and decided to call him on his mobile phone. He seemed to be back in the paddock but would get there any time now to get his ID from me. Free practice started and the cars came up one by one to find their way into the circuit. Johnny arrived on his scooter and I handed him his ID card so he could walk into the pit lane. We took our position at the back of the circuit were we had a great view on the back straight and NGK chicane just before turning into the last corner to start-finish. I took some pictures of Johnny going into the NGK chicane. When the cars come from the straight they need to brake very hard for the chicane. I made a small movie with my digital camera and right at the moment I was filming Johnny Cecotto jr. he was in battle with another driver and had to brake so hard he spun before the chicane. Coincidently I captured it on my camera. He kept his engine running and could pursuit practice. Also the next lap he had brake trouble at the chicane but kept the car on line. We thought without seeing the leader board that he didn't do that bad. When practice was over we got back to the start of the pit lane where Johnny and his son came walk back. They were evaluating practice of Johnny jr. and when they came into the inner side of the circuit they got on their scooter and drove to their motor home. Johnny's car was standing in the "parc fermér". We walked back to the pit box and were invited by Franky to take a seat inside for some freshness instead of outside. We had something to drink and eat. Some time later Johnny jr. came in on his scooter and he looked at the movie I made of his incident. He explained the back of the car broke out on braking for the chicane. He said we could get something to eat at the Formula BMW hospitality centre if we wanted but we just had something of our own. Also I didn't have Johnny's ID anymore so I wouldn't be able to get back in if I went outside this area. Johnny jr. went away again and we stayed in the box to have some refreshment. A little later a man which I didn't recognize came in the pit box followed by Johnny. He introduced me to Falk Eigler who does management for Team Lauderbach Motorsport. I had e-mail contact with him in the beginning of the season when he informed me about the contract of Johnny Cecotto jr. for TLM. Now I know which face belongs to the name. As there was another free practice of Formula 1 Johnny gave me his ID card again so we could watch it from inside the circuit. Meanwhile Johnny had a conversation with Falk Eigler. Since I was there I just had to make some pictures of the Formula 1. With my simple digital camera it wasn't easy to do as their speed is enormous. And then the noise of the engines which gives you for sure a real headache after a while without ear protection. But on the other hand it's a great sound to hear the acceleration and shifting of the engine. I joked to Johnny it's the same sound as the engine of my car. At 15.00 hours we got back at the TLM box where both Johnny's discussed in the back. The Formula BMW car was stripped. I gave both ID cards back and Johnny told they had problems with the car and didn't understand the situation. Johnny jr. always had been very fast in testing day's before. "There must be something wrong with this car" he said. Johnny jr.’s car is a 2002 model and his team mate had a 2004 car. I told him he should ride the car himself once or Johnny jr. should take a ride in the car of his team mate but that is not allowed. We told Johnny we were planning to go back on our way home soon and he was very surprised we wanted to leave already. Since there wasn't a race of Formula BMW today we wanted to visit Bad Münstereifel. There we had an apartment in August for holiday so we would be short distanced from the Nürburgring when we would visit Formula BMW. I told we had ordered tickets for this race to which Johnny said we shouldn't have done that because he would have arranged things. But we don't want to bother Johnny all the time. He didn't see it that way. We agreed not to buy tickets for Zandvoort but let Johnny arrange things. On request Johnny also looked at the movie I made of the incident of Johnny jr. and it let to a little discussing between them, as always in Italian, which is a nice language but we don't understand a word. Johnny offered to go with him to the Formula BMW hospitality to have something to eat and drink before we went home. At the entrance I showed my card at the marshal and Johnny awaited me smiling and said I was way too kind. I should walk through and show a card when they asked for it. I guess he's right as for I'm far too insecure in these situations. We all took seat on a table with something to eat and drink and talked a bit. Johnny said he thought it was strange we wanted to go home while he gave us possibility to get in here for hospitality. Again he was right but we don't want to bother him all the time and are not used to be threaten like this. We hope we didn't offend him with this behaviour. It was nice to be there but still it's a bit strange for Carolien and me. For me it's struggling behaving as a fan or a friend you could say. Johnny jr. said good bye and I wished him good luck for the races. We stayed for a short period with Johnny. At 16.00 hours we walked out of the Formula BMW ADAC centre and Johnny almost forgot to take his scooter but he rather preferred to drive instead of walking. We had a farewell and would contact in the near future about visiting more races. On way back to the parking Johnny passed on his scooter and said good bye. It took a while to get of the parking as there was a lot of traffic and people on way back to the cars. We got to Bad Münstereifel to take a look at our vacation place and rejoined our ride home. In Holland we had a diner on the highway to arrive home at 20.30 hours. It had been a great day with more experiences. Now we really thought about visiting the race at Oschersleben and have to let go tradition of visiting the Dutch TT at Assen. Only Johnny doesn't know so I will have to contact him again. Thanks to both Johnny sr. and Johnny jr.!! We meet again soon...

Formula BMW Nürburgring 2005

TLM pit box
Johnny jr. & John
Johnny jr. & Johnny Cecotto