It seems that pretty much every month we see a new headline saying that this or that hypercar has set a blistering lap time around the Nürburgring. The most recent of these was the Mercedes-AMG One, a road legal car powered by a Formula 1-style V6 hybrid engine, that absolutely smashed the record for road cars by a whopping eight seconds. It must’ve been a pretty impressive lap right? Well yes, but even that was only good enough to place sixth on the outright lap record list for the legendary Nürburgring Nordschliefe. Let’s take a look at the top ten.
The top 10 fastest Nürburgring lap times
10. Porsche 911 GT3 RS
This is another very recent entry onto the list. Porsche has gone big with the latest 911 GT3 RS, it’s the most extreme 911 to date, with serious engineering under the skin to make it one of the most capable road cars ever.
But you don’t even need to delve under the bodywork to see just how much work has gone into making this car fast. It has active aero, DRS in the enormous rear wing for starters, while the louvres in the wheel arches are channelling air through aerodynamically shaped wishbones that on their own produce 40kg of downforce.
In all, it’s not hard to see why the 911 GT3 RS has made it into the top ten. With a time of 6:49.328, it’s comfortably below that hallowed seven-minute barrier.
9. Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series
Back in 2020, the Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series became the fastest road car ever around the Nürburgring. It beat the then record-holding Lamborghini Aventador SVJ by two seconds, a fraction of time which justified all of the effort that went into building it.
Much like the GT3 RS, the Black Series is a hardcore development of an already very quick car. While remained road legal, just, this car was sorted to become an out-and-out track beast. The 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 was juiced up to 730PS (537kW), while serious weight loss was undertaken throughout and an aerodynamic package introduced that could develop up to 400kg of downforce at 155mph.
It crossed the line in a time of 6:48.047 and slung the AMG GT into the very highest echelons of the automotive tier list.
8. McLaren P1 XP1 LM
As if the McLaren P1 wasn’t impressive enough, the folks at Lanzante decided one of the fastest road cars ever needed something more. We’d seen the quite remarkable P1 GTR, a track-only version of McLaren’s hybrid hypercar designed to blur the boundaries between road cars and racing cars, and the P1 LM was a very similar beast, except now you could drive it on the road.
Only six were ever built. It had a larger 4.0-litre V8 engine producing 1,000PS (735kW) and incorporated a host of other mechanical upgrades to the original P1 – a modified rear wing, a larger front splitter, a titanium exhaust system and some serious weight savings.
The results were striking. Not only did the P1 LM come for the Festival of Speed presented by Mastercard and blitz our road car record on the Hill, but it also navigated the Nurburgring a year later in a time of 6:43.22.
7. Porsche 911 GT2 RS MR
It’s crazy to think that Lanzante’s P1 LM, with 1,000PS, can sit just eighth on the list of the fastest cars on the ‘Ring. But it helps to put into perspective the engineering excellence that goes into cars like the Porsche 911 GT2 RS MR.
This car only boasts 700PS (515kW), but it still managed to top the P1 by almost three seconds. The reason? Porsche engineered this car to within an inch of its life. Wringing out every single ounce of potential in a way only this German company can, and with the help of the Manthey Racing team and driver Lars Kern, absolutely nailed the setup for this record attempt.
The time was 6:40.33, and watching the lap unfold is quite incredible.
6. Mercedes-AMG One
Here it is, the current record holder for the fastest road car around the Nürburgring. This was some performance by a car that has been years in the making. After it finally debuted the Festival of Speed in 2022, we all sat quietly and waited to hear news on exactly how fast this F1 car for the road was going to be.
The answer was as expected, a full eight seconds quicker than the previous record. The fact this is a fully road-legal machine takes a bit of time to comprehend. And actually, the more we think about it, the fact this car works at all is something of a miracle.
It’s complex, heavy, and asks an awful lot of a driver to wring out a competitive lap, and that perhaps, even more so than the 6:35.183 time, is the truly impressive thing about this achievement.
5. March Engineering 832-BMW
That’s it. From here on, these lap times have all been set by out-and-out racing cars. Restricted only by the regulations of the day, these cars were being pushed to the absolute limit in the search performance. In the case of this BMW-engined March 832, it was also trying to win a race.
In 1983, the Eifelrennen was a Formula 2 race held on the Nordschleife, this was the final year of racing on the old circuit. Christian Danner was at the wheel of the 832 and clearly pushing hard. Over the course of the event, he set three laps which would all have been good enough for this spot on the list.
During the race, he set a personal best of 6:28.03, in an open-wheeled Formula 2 car. We’ll just let that sink in.
4. Porsche 956
Now, this is where things take a sudden turn from scarily impressive to downright unbelievable. If nothing else, this is absolute proof that the Group C era was one of the very best in motorsport history.
And of that era, one car stands alone as the undisputed champion. The Porsche 956. The World Sportscar Championship was still racing at the Nürburgring in 1983, and the speeds were alarming.
In qualifying for the event, Jochen Mass posted a time of 6:16.85. A full 15 seconds faster than his Formula 2 contemporary. Those cars were so good.
3. Porsche 956
But hold on a second. Because as if that wasn’t enough, Mass’s team-mate Steffan Bellof, went even quicker in his Rothmans liveried 956.
In what remains one of the most impressive feats by a single driver in motorsport history, and one of the many moments that showcased the extraordinary talent of Bellof, the young German set a pole position time of 6:11.13. It was a record that remained unbeaten for 35 years. Enough said.
Bellof was quickly becoming the star of sportscar racing and was certain to achieve so much more than his single world championship were it not for his untimely death.
2. Volkswagen ID.R
Some 36 years after the 956 had blitzed the ‘Ring, the Volkswagen ID.R announced the arrival of electric cars to the pinnacle of automotive performance.
The summer of 2019 was a big one for Volkswagen. This new ID.R signified a massive investment in the company’s electric ID project and had to be successful. Good news for VW, it was. The ID.R was intended as a no-holds-barred speed machine unrestricted by rules, or indeed the law. You can’t drive this car on the road, but that’s probably just as well.
All in, the ID.R’s two electric motors produced a combined 689PS (507kW) and 649Nm (479lb ft) of torque and developed so much downforce Romain Dumas was subjected to cornering forces of up to 3.49g. That doesn’t sound comfortable when the Nürburgring has more than 170 corners. You could say it was worth it though because the time was a 6:05.336.
Just a month later, the ID.R would also go on to smash our outright Hill record at the Festival of Speed, too.
1. Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo
Now we come to one of those records that just seems like it will never be broken. If you thought the ID.R was fast, the Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo was 45 seconds quicker. Good grief.
First things first, the 919 Hybrid was Porsche’s all-dominant LMP1 car. In its four-year competitive lifespan, it won the World Endurance Championship three times, with another third-place finish for good measure. With a roster of drivers that included Mark Webber, Andre Lotterer, Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley, this was the absolute class of the sportscar world.
Following its competitive retirement, the 919 Evo was born, removing all of the restrictions imposed by the FIA regulations to deliver the ultimate racing machine. Engine power was boosted to 720PS (530kW), the electric motors were upgraded to 440PS (324kW), and weight was reduced to just 849kg. Downforce was increased by 53 per cent, and DRS was integrated into the rear wing.
We knew it would be quick, but if we ever needed confirmation as to just how quick, Porsche very kindly sent it round the Nürburgring in 2018 to find out. The result was a lap time of 5:19.546. Surely that’s the limit. Can anything ever go faster than that?
Images courtesy of Motorsport Images.
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