The Gatebil You’ve Never Seen
Never Normal

There was something different about Gatebil at Rudskogen last weekend that got me thinking. It was something that I had struggled to put my finger on for a few days when it eventually hit me: I don’t think we’ve ever shown you the real Gatebil before.


As is the way with these things, we only have finite resources and a short amount of time to cover what is an absolutely monstrous event.

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And as such, we traditionally tend to show you the highlights of each event. It’s a perfectly sensible approach, because you don’t want to see the sh*t bits, right?

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I do think however, that it gets to a point where there’s only so much anarchy and a fragrant disregard for the rules before it all becomes a bit, dare I say it, normal?


Or at least normal by Gatebil standards. And normal is a word that should never, ever be associated with Gatebil…

Time To Shine
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One of the things absent from the main event at Rudskogen this year were the big names. At an event where Aasbø, Mad Mike, Tuerck, Gittin Jr., Doran, Saito and Gushi – to name just a few – have made appearances in recent times, it felt strange to not have their presence, both in the paddock and on the track.

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I think this was actually a really good thing though. There are a tonne of awesome Scandinavian and European drivers that have to live in the shadow of the aforementioned international drivers, who now had a chance to shine and to take the attention for themselves.

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Sure, there are some that you might already be familiar with – those that are synonymous with Gatebil. Kenneth Alm tops that list for me, I’ll never tire of watching him convert rubber to smoke in the most spectacular way possible.

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I’m sure you’re already familiar with the front runners in Gatebil’s Extreme time attack class, cars like the KRB Lotus, the ex-DTM E30 and many others. You’ll be more familiar with the ex-Super GT 350Z shortly…

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But what if I told you that these familiar cars only make up around 10 per cent of the machinery at Gatebil? It’s a pretty crazy number, but one that I personally think is pretty accurate.

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The reason you don’t see much of the others is because a lot of these cars don’t fit what our idea of ‘cool’ or ‘good’ is. And yes, as I wrote those words, I’ve immediately become aware of just how pathetic it sounds.

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There are some incredibly good-looking cars at Gatebil, but for the majority, aesthetics are just low on the list.


In some cases, I don’t think aesthetics are even on the list – if there even is a list at all in the first place. These cars are not necessarily ugly or anything, just neither the time nor money to fit nice aero or proper-fitting wheels from genuine manufacturers has been spent.

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I’m not ragging on anyone’s build – far from it. I totally get that for a lot of these builds, the car just needs to work above all else. If anything, I have major respect for these guys and girls.


I mean, if your sole intention is to spend three days solid obliterating tyres and beating on a car as hard as possible, then you’re going to have some issues at some stage over the weekend.


When those issues do occur, you’re going to want to minimise the amount of time you spend making repairs in the pits. Fast repairs are rarely pretty and are usually just a stop-gap until a proper repair can be made after the event. Perfect wheel fitment and swirl marks are probably going to be the least of your concerns.

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There’s also the danger that if you spend so much time working and building something that’s heavily based around aesthetics, that you might be afraid to drive it hard as the cost or the amount of time required to repair it should things go wrong would be a huge financial set back.

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For drivers who have the backing of sponsors or at least some sort of financial assistance, then obviously they’re going to keep their cars looking good and as presentable as possible – if only to appease those with a monetary interest and to potentially attract more.

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For the majority though, it’s very much an adventure that’s paid for out of their own pockets. As such, funds need to be allocated in a manner that ensures maximum fun is had for as long as possible.


The financial restrictions – cars are not cheap in Scandinavia – result is some pretty damned amazing builds, that probably would not have happened if they could have just thrown money at the problem and built a car by numbers.

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Instead, a level of ingenuity and an incredible attitude towards building whatever the hell they want makes the entire region such an important part of car culture. Where else can you find a Ford Taunus with a Toyota 2JZ and BMW wheels?

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To touch on Pedey’s recent conversation, these cars may not be beautiful in the traditional sense, but they are damn cool. They have passion oozing out of every panel and are built by people that I want to get to know.

One Big Family
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There are other interesting little nuances about Gatebil that you may not know of either. One of these is what happens when a car suffers what is usually a terminal problem, which means a weekend on track is cut short.

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Rather than be plagued with questions about why they’re not out on track, they’ll park their car up in the paddock and – proudly in some cases – prop the failed part or reason they can’t drive at the front of the car. This also has the benefit of allowing someone walking through the paddock to recognise that they might be able to help with a problem and potentially get them back on track.

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Noise limits are also a big issue – especially at Rudskogen. Many cars have fallen foul of the tight limits, which are strictly imposed and monitored by the local government. If you do break the limits, you’ll be black-flagged pretty much immediately. Sometimes, you can make ghetto improvisations to meet the regulations, but many cars have ended up suffocating and killing engines with too much back pressure whilst trying to get their cars to an acceptable noise level.

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It sucks, but that’s just the way it is. As it turns out though, big turbochargers are incredibly effective at muffling noise. They’re also incredibly useful for unleashing 100mph-plus burnouts from one end of the straight to the other, whilst the driver hangs on for dear life. It’s not clever, it’s not efficient, but boy is it awesome to watch.

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A sense of humour is also required here. If you take things too seriously, you might not want to make the journey here. For every crazy thing you see, there’s generally a guy standing not far away smiling and gauging everyone’s reaction.

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You can’t have Gatebil without the people. Without these guys and girls letting loose, it wouldn’t be half the event it is.

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Although the language barrier can be a challenge at times, it turns out that a smile and laugh translate quite well across cultures.

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Even when the sun starts to set and the track goes quiet, the entertainment switches to the paddock.

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Where else can you see people doing tandem burnouts on snowmobiles on the back of a Silverado at 9:00pm in the evening?

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With a whole new generation growing up with this, the Gatebil express shows no sign of slowing down any time soon.

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It’s the biggest family of like-minded car enthusiasts in the world, and they are going to do whatever they want. Why? You know why.

It’s Gatebil.

Paddy McGrath
Instagram: pmcgphotos
Twitter: pmcgphotos

Additional Photos by Alok Paleri
Instagram: rennworksmedia

Cutting Room Floor
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I wish cities were more willing to consider lifting noise restrictions once or twice a year for events like these. Let the people have their one or two weekends of total fun. That still leaves 50 silent weekends for the normal populace.


Please tell me there's a full feature on the Volvo 340 in the bonus images coming up!


That kid looks cool as hell....Great post, Paddy!


Jagdroach Gatebil is one of only several weekends where the noise limits are raised slightly at Rudskogen. Some tracks in Norway only have four or five days of raised limits per year.


Trentworth Thank you kindly :)


Abezzegh87 I think Tesla Compensator would have been more accurate, never seen so many of the things in my life!


@Jay Afraid not, but we do have some interesting cars coming your way quite soon.


Abezzegh87 Hahaha, no. Sorry, just on the roads in Norway.


Jagdroach The track owner actually offers 1 week vacation on a cruise to the people living in the area.
Half of them accept, the rest has free gatebil tickets, but it's basically ONE house who refuses every offer and keeps the noise level low. (words from the track owner directly to me)


DoriftoSatan Jagdroach I heard similar to be fair. I also heard that some of the stubborn people, their children are growing up with an interest in cars...


Probably a bit late to be posting requests now, but perhaps you can make a note for next year: would love to see more coverage of the grip cars and grip racing at Gatebil Rudskogen. The drifting always seems to be the central focus for Gatebil coverage, but it always looks like there are some serious grip cars lurking in the background!
Irrespective, still thoroughly enjoyed reading this!


I'll take one Unsafety Car please


I like these cars. They're pretty friggin rad if you ask me. I'd rather see a bunch of features of cars like this than some slammed lambo. IMHO  ;)


Sorry, did I hear you say Super GT 350Z? Must go to Gatebil.....


Was great seeing you Paddy!
And I have to agree, as this was my first year I was a little "sad" there where no big names.
But I guess that's a good thing as now the real stars of Gatebil had their chance to shine!
I now have one problem though. I had the same aproach for my WW article so I can start from scratch again! So thanks for that... ;-)




TurboHippie It finished second behind the ex-DTM BMW... Absolute monster!!!


tbtstt It's not racing if you're not rubbing ;)


ToraProds Fan-frickin-tastic!! Nice pic :-) Would love to know the story of how that came into the hands of a time-attacker, was it originally Woodone, Yellow Hat, Autech or Calsonic????

Also, just spotted the almost equally mental Quattro Mini in there too. Man, I do hope I can get to Gatebil next year


ToraProds Is it Oskar Sandberg driving it? Theres a shakedown video on YouTube from April this year


You've still shown nobody the REAL Gatebil Paddy! Sick coverage and all, but to see the real Gatebil you need to venture beyond the paddock.
We did manage to convince some media to do just that last weekend!


m11ler93 What happens in the camps, stays in the camps ;)


The next new NFS game MUST be Gatebil. And that's final. No other setting. Shift 3 can come later. Leave the rozzers out. I want Gatebil for the next NFS. Trust me. All the kudos the franchise lost will come back, and then some, with a dive and bath in the Gatebil pool.


UWerqxTeam_MJ Hahaha, we were talking about how you could make Gatebil into a video game and the consensus was that you just couldn't. You would need 80,000 people in the one online lobby for starters!


AllardvanGrafhorst It was great catching up with you, Allard. We should do this more often :)


ToraProds tbtstt Is that a Lexus is200 in front??


harared ToraProds tbtstt Yes, it is :)


Hi guys!
Meanwhile in Norway:
For the next NFS: I'd like to drive on these roads:P


Trentworth And his dad was even cooler!! Discussed 20mn with him about his car and he was driving like crazy all week end.


So who has calculated out what it would cost to ship a car, some spare tires and tools there from the US...... i know your out there


TurboHippie ToraProds Yes, Oskar was driving it. We'll be bringing you a detailed look at it shortly...


Abezzegh87 Give them time...


The Evo 3 in picture 3 looks damn awesome!


LukeEVOVIII The white one? If you're a diehard Evo guy, you probably don't want to know what's under the hood...


Csihany There are some incredible roads in Norway, but they are heavily policed. Trollstigen is another you might want to take a look at on Google Maps


I meant picture 18 xD. And oh damn, my mind springs to V8? :/




Paddy McGrath UWerqxTeam_MJ  Get it done.


Think LS V8, turbo and rear wheel drive.


Ask Vaughn Gittin JR, he has done it.


Oh dear


Paddy McGrath Csihany It remembers me the Transfagarasan in Romania. But that one is full of traffic too. You should try it once. Worths a post here on Speedhunters:)


Paddy McGrath Abezzegh87
Electric cars are tax exempt in Norway, with a high new car tax on normal cars a full spec tesla cost about the same as a mid range bmw 520diesel.
That makes it more understandable.


Hi everyone! What a car is on 6 photo from end? is this modified nissan sunny?


Al Ras Alfa Romeo GTV


Leofred2000 Al Ras thanks) me noob)


Really nice write up and pics to! My car would be one of these one year ago :)


Paddy McGrath UWerqxTeam_MJ a modest selection of obscure and classic cars along with absurd drivetrain and engine swaps should do the trick. 

as for 80,000 people in one lobby, just set up a server bank in a desert, I dunno. you guys can do that, right?


Great work I really like this. Fender exit exhaust on that miata is giving me ideas ;) actually this whole article is!


LukeEVOVIII becausegat... nevermind


m11ler93 They tried this at sowo last year, wasn't well received unfortunately


Please tell me there is a feature of the unsafety car!!
Great coverage guys, looking forward to the features!


Gatebil should add tabletop jumps. Look at the linked image below but picture a drift car mid-drift doing that. It would make Daigo's infamous Ebisu jump look like child's play! It would probably ruin the car but at least it'll look cool!


Anyone knows the Scirocco specs?


Woohoo, my Micra made it to the site!


omg that alfa romeo gtv6 is so cool


LouisYio 100 mph mid drift jumps? It's called rally and they do it between trees and/or cliffs


Is that the extreme race ToraProds? That's the one bit of Gatebil I would like to see more of, but it rarely seems to get much coverage!


The race is 15mn in a 35hours event... As interesting as the race was , it's not nearly as impressive as the continuous drifting happening the rest of the time. Usually the "sports car" 15mn is when people and media move around the track because it's the most boring part. I have a few pictures of the race from the last corner grand stand like this one, and also a few more on other parts of the track during the training.


I had my plane back from Oslo rygge to Poland on Tuesday evening. No money. From Sunday evening to Tuesday evening me and my friend had no idea where to go and what to do. So we hitchhiked and ended up sleeping in a polish couple car during two days. Makes for an awesome story, as we were ready to sleep outside. The 3 days before at gatebil were 100% worth it!


LouisYio For God's sake, don't give them ideas! XD


@Kegs11 I salute your bravery in bringing a Micra to Gatebil. That must have been an experience on track?


MadisSidam Right? Owner is aiming for 500whp in the coming months, we will definitely be featuring it!


David Skogsby It was cool to talk to you David. Are you doing Drift Allstars in Riga?


Convince? You mean you got us drunk....


Paddy McGrath Absolutely! Unfortunately I still need my office job so can't visit many events outside of the Netherlands. Limited free days and stuff... :(
But hoping to catch up with you again before the year ends! Keep me posted on stuff your planning.
Any Ring plans?


Thanks very much for the detailed reply ToraProds. I have long assumed that the race was a bigger part of the weekend; your reply explains why it seems to receive so little coverage in most of the features on Gatebil.
The idea of the most radical track cars of the weekend racing together sounds like the best thing ever to me, but perhaps its not as exciting in real life!


SS6K Paddy McGrath UWerqxTeam_MJ I personally don't think you could ever capture the essence of Gatebil in a video game, although I'm open to be proven wrong. There's just too many details to it, that can't be replicated virtually. Unless someone figures out how to have a drunk Norwegian fall into your living room and start a BBQ whilst you're mid-session.


AllardvanGrafhorst Paddy McGrath Maybe not this year, but you never know!


tbtstt ToraProds To be fair, it's pretty cool and something other Time Attack series' should consider doing at least once a weekend. The rolling starts are spectacular. 

The only issue, as ToraProds pointed out, is that the race is a tiny part of a massive weekend. It's so easy to miss it too as you can barely keep track of time. I'll definitely try cover it in more detail the next time though, or at least as much as I can of it. I think a grip-only post would be really interesting.


OysteinTeigland Paddy McGrath Abezzegh87 Yeah, had heard they have lots of benefits too, like driving in bus lanes and free parking? I'm a big electric car fan BTW.


bluestreaksti That exhaust was connected to a V8 also!


Paddy McGrath Abezzegh87 Tesla is useless on track, Aasbo tested one, 1.5 lap and the car is overheating.


This years July event, was smooth and perfect.
The great things about not having the "stars" in the show, is that all drivers are equal in terms of who knows who.
I love working in the pitlane, giving thumbs upp to the many good drivers, drifters and racers. 

Thanks for another view of Gatebil. 

See you in september?


Thanks for the reply Paddy McGrath! As ToraProds has pointed out how little time the race runs for I appreciate it must be easy to miss.
As you say though, pack racing is something that you never get to see other Time Attack cars doing, so it would be great to see it receive some coverage.


Forgive the double post Paddy McGrath ToraProds, but I just happened upon this on You Tube...

...looks pretty damn good from the onboard!


Paddy or anyone know what car this is? Thanks


mk4 lew Audi S2 Flemming Alm's car. Kenneth Alm's brother


Vittorio Jano LouisYio You have the wrong idea. Take a look at this video of Aasbo linked below. Imagine the the part from 0:03 - 0:06 in the air (like 2-5ft up). Mid drift in a standard drift car, not a rally car. It would unlock a different level of cool no one has ever achieved before. It's the key to overdrift and entering the dino world of drift dinosaurs.


Paddy McGrath Unfortunately, no! Maybe just watch. We are aiming to run full DA in 2016.


That miata blew off his overfenders at least 2 times..


Free parking on public lots, not private companies, often free elevtricety, little to no road tax, (3200kr a year for normal cars) and bus lanes.
They have been banned from rush hour bus lanes on certain roads like in towards oslo on the west side, because there where too many.
Not a big fan, mostley because the drivers think they are better than everybody else, and half of them (leafs etc) looks horrible.


Almost as bad as Vålerbanen, where you have a 90db limit, and the measuring is done in a corner. People have been blackflagged from tyre noise.


OysteinTeigland you mean like this? ;)


LouisYio Vittorio Jano He's drifting too damn hard!


Paddy McGrath Thanks! Its a crazy build haha


Paddy McGrath SS6K UWerqxTeam_MJ To quote Al Ries, narrow your focus. If you can't replicate all of Gatebil (my realization: you're right), maybe replicate the key playable bits first. The car choices, the parts used, the format, the tracks, and a unique progression system. Worry about the people and multiplayer later; Autolog is up to the task. Besides, you can make it like Half-Life where there's no cutscenes and you're always in the story.

The goal, really, isn't to capture the essence of Gatebil, because that's gonna take a long time. Personally, Gatebil is a racing video game come to life, so there's a baseline for you to work on. All that's needed is about 5 more years of coverage and a dev team that's willing and would settle for nothing less but a complete game, one that nails what Gatebil truly is as you slide in to Turn 4.


ToraProds OysteinTeigland
pretty much


@Kegs11 Where can i see your build thread?


Cheers! It also made a stop at the Nürburgring on the way there. It was a little intense around the track, but it was fun putting down all 75bhp round the inside of a corner whilst something awesome is powersliding round you. Definitely an experience you don't get spectating!


they should film the next mad max at gatebil 

Mad max: gatebil