With Volkswagen gearing up (or should that be charging up) to break the current Nürburgring lap record with their all-electric I.D. R, we took a moment to pick our top 5 coolest record breakers of all time.
It wouldn’t be a list of the coolest record breakers without the current land speed record holder, ThrustSSC. It’s been 22-years since Andy Green piloted ThrustSSC to a scarcely believable 760.343mph across Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. And no wonder it went like a rocket: it had two Rolls-Royce Spey jet engines producing an estimated 102,000 horsepower. Perhaps the only number more staggering than its speed or power is the fuel mileage, as at max speed Thrust SSC consumed 18 litres of fuel a second! Remember that next time you complain about poor MPG.
Unlike Thrust SCC, the famous number 722’s record will never be beaten. In 1955 it set the record for the fastest time ever achieved in the famed Mille Miglia, with a little help from the driving and navigating partnership of Stirling Moss and Denis Jenkinson. Together they covered the 1000-mile road race in 10 hours, 7 minutes and 48 seconds, quicker than anybody had achieved before. What’s more, when the race was cancelled as a competitive event following 1957, the record was cemented in history, never to be beaten. They say that if 722 was to be sold, it would also set the record for the most expensive car ever…
Sure, there have been Formula 1 cars that have won more races, but in terms of percentage of wins nothing compares to the McLaren MP4/4. In the rather adept hands of Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost, the MP4/4 won fifteen of the sixteen races in 1988, seven going the way of Prost and eight going the way of eventual world champion Senna. Indeed, Senna could very well have completed the clean sweep for the MP4/4 were it not for Jean-Louis Schlesser’s over-exuberance in Monza where the Frenchman crashed into Senna as the Brazilian cruised to a likely victory, the win instead going to Ferrari’s Gerhard Berger.
The McLaren F1 may no longer hold the title of ‘fastest production car’, but when it was launched in 1993 nothing made your mouth gape in childish awe quite like it. Since then it’s proclaimed 241mph has been overshadowed by all manner of Bugattis and Koenigseggs, but the F1’s central driving position and gold-plated engine bay is surely enough to earn it a place on the list of coolest anything, let alone coolest record breakers.
Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo
The Nürburgring has long been the scene for some of the coolest record breakers, and at the head of the list is the Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo, current lap record holder and King of the Green Hell. In 2018 the Evo, with Timo Bernhard at the wheel, didn’t just beat the 35-year-old lap record but annihilated it. The original time, set in 1983 by Stefan Bellof driving a Porsche 956, was an at the time scarcely believable 6 minutes 11 seconds; Bernhard and the Evo lapped the 12.9-mile circuit in 5 minutes 19.546 seconds, beating the record by almost a minute. The question now is can VW and their all-electric I.D. R beat that time and bump the 919 Hybrid Evo from this list?
For the ultimate record breaker extravaganza, make sure you head to the Festival of Speed presented by Mastercard this summer. Limited tickets for the Festival of Speed still remain and are can be purchased at ticketing.goodwood.com or by calling Customer Sales on 01243 755055.