The Nürburgring has long been the go-to place to both develop cars in their development stages and test them upon completion, by both amateurs and big car companies alike.
A Nürburgring lap record has therefore become one of the ultimate accolades for car makers, with multiple huge manufacturers vying for the title, in multiple categories. Take a look below to see the quickest lap times across all major categories.
Fastest road-legal lap around the Nürburgring
1 – Lamborghini Aventador SVJ – 6:44:97
Lamborghini used active aerodynamic upgrades to overhaul its Aventador supercar into a record-smashing track weapon, letting the V12-powered Aventador SVJ break the Nürburgring record for a production car with a 6:44:97 lap time. That knocked the electric Nio EP9 down into second place and proved petrol powertrains can still beat EVs.
2 – Nio EP9 – 6:45.90
The Chinese supercar is a limited-run, 1360bhp, four-wheel-drive two-seater. It has a top speed of 194mph. This lap smashed the car’s previous, sixth-place lap time of 7:05.12, which was set back on 14 October 2016, a week before we caught the EP9 on camera at the track for the first time.
3 – Porsche 911 GT2 RS – 6:47.30
The 690bhp 911 GT2 RS blasted around the ‘Ring seven-tenths of a second faster than the Radical SR8LM, making it the fastest rear-drive production car to lap the infamous Nordschleife.
4 – Radical SR8LM – 6:48.00
The king is dead. The Radical SR8LM had held the lap record since 2009, when it lapped in just 6min 48sec in the hands of Michael Vergers, but was dislodged first by Nio’s EP9 and then the Porsche GT2 RS. Now that Lamborghini has set an even faster time, the Radical has to settle for fourth place. Vergers was driving the car just 24 hours after the car was driven from England to Germany for the record.
5 – Lamborghini Huracan Performante – 6:52.01
Next is the Lamborghini’s Huracán Performante, which lapped the 12.9-mile Nordschleife in a hair over 6min 52sec.
6 – Radical SR8 – 6:56.08
The SR8’s 2.6-litre V8 engine develops 360bhp and broke the Nürburgring record in 2005. This model was also driven by Michael Vergers.
7 – Porsche 918 Spyder – 6:57.00
The 918 Spyder has carbonfibre construction, a hybrid powertrain and a suspension set-up donated by a prototype racing car. It has a top speed of 214mph.
8 – Lamborghini Aventador SV – 6:59.73
This has a single-clutch automated gearbox and is 50kg lighter than the regular Aventador. The 0-62mph time is claimed at 2.8sec.
9 – Mercedes-AMG GT R Pro – 7:04:6
A host of aerodynamic and chassis upgrades over the standard GT R make AMG’s most hardcore two-seater one of the quickest front-engined cars to take on the ‘Ring.
10 – Nissan GT-R Nismo – 7:08.68
It’s got an upgraded aero package and is furnished with the larger, high-flow turbochargers that were previously reserved for the GT3 racer. It has a 0-60mph time of 2.7sec.
Front-wheel drive Nürburgring lap records
1 – 2017 Honda Civic Type R – 7:43.80
They’ve done it again; Honda recently snatched the front-drive Nürburgring lap record, less than a year after Volkswagen snatched it from the previous-generation Civic Type R with the Golf GTI Clubsport S. It’s got 316bhp – 10bhp more than both the Golf and the previous-generation Civic Type R.
2 – Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S – 7:47.19
Volkswagen’s Golf GTI Clubsport S broke the lap record twice – first setting a time of 7:49.21 in May 2016, then in December, when it shaved more than two seconds from its previous lap time. Both lap records were set by VW test driver Benny Leuchter.
3 – 2015-2016 Honda Civic Type R – 7:50.63
The previous-generation Honda Civic Type R also holds a front-wheel-drive Nürburgring lap record, after snatching the title in 2015 from the Renault Mégane RS 275 Trophy-R. It was first announced at the Geneva motor show in 2015.
4 – Renault Mégane RS 275 Trophy-R – 7:54.36
Renault took the record from Seat back in 2014, with the snappily named Mégane RS 275 Trophy-R. With another Mégane RS now on sale, it might not be long before another Mégane sits atop the list.
5 – Seat Leon Cupra 280 Estate – 7:58.12
In a top five dominated by hot hatchbacks, Seat decided to do something different, and put a front-wheel-drive estate into the ‘Ring. It snatched the title, albeit briefly, and was the fastest production estate around the infamous circuit.
Four-wheel drive Nürburgring lap records
1 – Lamborghini Aventador SVJ – 6:44:97
Lamborghini proved you don’t need an electric powertrain with instant torque delivery to break records. The naturally aspirated Aventador SVJ achieved a blistering time of 6:44:97, thanks to some clever aero upgrades evolved from the Huracan Performante.
2 – Nio EP9 – 6:45.90
Claiming the electric record originally garnered the Nio EP9 place overall in the all-wheel drive leaderboard as well, after having previously been sandwiched between the Lamborghini Aventador SV and Nissan GT-R Nismo in fourth place – but now settles for the silver medal in light of the SVJ’s record-smashing time. Four inboard electric motors power all four wheels, and the car’s total power output is 1360bhp.
3 – Lamborghini Huracan Performante – 6:52.01
It might not have taken the overall road car record of the ‘Ring, but the Huracán Performante took the crown as all-wheel drive ‘Ring record holder before the Nio EP9’s second attempt, and is more than 50 seconds ahead of the Civic Type R’s front-wheel drive record. It’s now third overall in the four-wheel drive category.
4 – Porsche 918 Spyder – 6:57.00
After nearly five years, the Porsche 918 Spyder’s reign as all-wheel-drive Nürburgring champ came to an end, before it was bumped down again by the EP9, and then two Lamborghinis. It first set the record in 2012, wearing nothing more extreme than its track-friendly ‘Weissach package’ and a set of road tyres.
5 – Lamborghini Aventador SV – 6:59.73
The Aventador SV actually reached a much higher top speed on its ‘Ring run than its little brother, the Lamborghini Huracán Performante; reaching 202mph where the Huracán only managed 188, but the smaller car’s added agility ultimately grabbed it the title.
Rear-wheel drive Nürburgring lap records
1 – Porsche 911 GT2 RS – 6:47.30
There’s a new rear-drive ‘Ring king in town; Porsche has blasted its 911 GT2 RS around the Nürburgring just shy of a second quicker than long-time champion, the Radical SR8LM. It’s third in the road-legal rankings to the extreme limited-run Nio EP9 and Lamborghini Aventador SVJ.
2 – Radical SR8LM – 6:48.28
Process of deduction could bring you to this list, but with three of the overall top five ‘Ring records belonging to all-wheel-drive cars, it shows four-wheel drive’s increasing prevalence, as manufacturers look to take advantage of its performance benefit, particularly on twisty tracks like the Nürburgring.
3 – Radical SR8 – 6:56.08
In fact, Radical has two cars in the rear drive top 10, the other being the SR8.
4 – Mercedes-AMG GT R Pro – 7:04:6
It may not pack any more power than the standard model, but stiffer suspension and a downforce-enhancing bodykit help the Pro to lap the Nordschleife more than six seconds quicker.
5 – Mercedes-AMG GT R – 7:10.92
The standard Mercedes-AMG GT R is not a long way behind, at 7:10.92. The company’s ‘Ring dominance could soon expand beyond the rear-drive segment, with the upcoming Project One hypercar making use of a four-wheel drive system.
Electric Nürburgring lap records
1 – Nio EP9 – 6:45.90
Nio’s EP9 stormed into the history books once again when the electric supercar took the electric ‘Ring record for the second time, smashing its previous time by almost 20 seconds. The company has also showcased a more mass-market friendly SUV concept. We doubt it’ll match its supercar sibling’s Nürburgring time, mind.
2 – Toyota TMG EV P001 – 7:47.79
It was way back in 2011 when Toyota claimed the ‘Ring record with the TMG EV P001, but its record stuck until just a few months ago. The car’s 800lb ft certainly helped it attain the title, and what’s more, it managed to claim the crown in road-legal tyres.
3 – Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Electric Drive – 7:56.23
Mercedes’ electric blue SLS AMG Electric Drive is hard to miss, and so was its Nürburgring record in 2013; it walked all over the Audi R8 e-tron’s lap time, trouncing it by more than 12 seconds. Its 740bhp and 737lb ft certainly gave it the required shove.
4 – Audi R8 e-tron – 8:09.09
The Audi R8 e-tron held first place on the electric ‘Ring record chart for almost a year before Mercedes’ SLS AMG Electric Drive came along; the R8 set its 8:09.09 time in July 2012. It had around half the power of the Mercedes, at 376bhp, but had less of a torque deficit, producing 605lb ft.
5 – Electric RaceAbout – 8:42.72
The Finnish-made Electric RaceAbout achieved the electric Nürburgring record back in 2011, with German racing driver Ralf Kelleners behind the wheel. The university-based makers of the car even posted the lap video to prove the car’s time.
Fastest ever recorded Nürburgring laps
1 – Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo – 5:19:546
When it derestricted its Le Mans-winning 919 Hybrid prototype racer and sent it on a farewell tour of iconic race tracks before pulling out of endurance racing, smashing the all-time fastest lap of the Nordschleife was all Porsche had in mind.
The car was 39kg lighter than its race spec, with radically reworked aerodynamics that improved downforce by 53%. The 2.0-litre V4 hybrid powertrain was tuned to produce 710bhp, with an additional 433bhp coming from an electric motor.
With Porsche works driver Timo Bernhard behind the wheel, the 919 Evo proceded to obliterate the all-time lap record, first setting a 5:24:375 in practice and then a 5:19:546 in an official run.
2 – Porsche 956 – 6:11.13
Previously the absolute Nürburgring lap record holder, the Porsche 956, driven by the late Stefan Bellof in qualifying for the 1983 1000km Nürburgring race, set a target that would hold for more than three decades. Due to construction of the Nürburgring’s Formula 1 circuit, that race was the only time top-level Le Mans sportscars race on the 12.9-mile Nordschleife layout.
The 956 driven by Bellof, then 25, was powered by a 2.65-litre flat six that produced more than 620bhp and featured a ground effect downforce-producing underbody.
In qualifying, Bellof’s goal was to beat fellow Porsche driver Jochen Mass’s best lap (see below). Aided by new 13in front wheels, he flew, despite claiming he made two mistakes and was baulked at one point by a lower-class Porsche 911. His average speed was more than 125mph.
Bellof continued to demonstrate his pace during the actual race, pulling a 36-second lead on Mass in the opening six laps. That didn’t entirely please his team, who had been urging him to save fuel. After his car’s lead was reduced during team-mate Derek Bell’s stint, Bellof continued his tear on his second stint – until losing control and crashing at Pfianzgarten at 160mph. He escaped unhurt.
3 – Porsche 956 – 6:16.85
The 956 holds the third fastest overall time too, although this time with Jacky Ickx behind the wheel. It was at the very same 1000km Nürburgring as Bellof’s all-time record lap, although Ickx was almost six seconds off Bellof’s blistering pace.
4 – Porsche 956 – 6:25.91
Just to drive the point home, the 956 is also the fourth record holder, and yes, this too was at the 1983 1000km Nürburgring. It was Bellof this time (again), mind.
5 – March Engineering 832-BMW – 6:26.19
Just one month prior, Formula 2 driver Christian Danner set the Nürburgring’s fastest ever lap time in his March Engineering 832-BMW; this was shortlived, though, and Danner has been behind Porsche on the ‘Ring records ever since.
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