Here it is then, the hot lap we’ve been waiting for as the Porsche 919 Hybrid totally destroys the all-time fastest lap of the most challenging circuit of them all, the Nürburgring Nordschleife. We promise, this video does not disappoint…
Video: On board fastest Nürburgring lap ever
German Le Mans ace Timo Bernhard hits 369km/h (229mph) on the straight. The slowest corners are no slower than 100km/h while fast sweepers he takes at 300, or more. That’s over 180mph. Gulp. His average speed was 233.8km/h, or 145.3mph.
Timo said afterwards that thanks to the car’s massive downforce he could stay on full throttle at sections of the “Green Hell” he never imagined he would be able to. “I’m pretty familiar with the Nordschleife but today I got to learn it in a new way”, he said.
The car is an evolution of the 919 Hybrid that has won Le Mans and dominated endurance racing’s prototype class for the previous three years. For the ‘Ring challenge, aero changes have given it 53 per cent more downforce over the car in race spec.
It also weighs in at less than the race version. Losing the air-conditioning, windscreen wiper, several sensors, lights and the pneumatic jack has brought the dry weight down 39kg to 849kg.
The successful attempt on the record was made today (June 29th 2018). Timo’s time around the 12.94 mile circuit was 5 minutes and 19.55 seconds, beating the previous mark by almost 52 seconds. That was set by the late Stefan Bellof driving a Porsche 956 C during practice for the 1,000km WEC race at the ‘Ring in 1983.
Timo Bernhard, two-time outright winner of the Le Mans 24 Hours and reigning World Endurance Champion with the Porsche 919, said: “For me Stefan Bellof is and remains a giant. Today my respect for his achievement with the technology available back then increased even more.”
Porsche LMP team chief Andreas Seidl said after the record run: “Today we have shown the full potential of the 919 Evo. Congratulations to Timo for his sensational drive.”
After winning the championship for the third time in 2017, the 919 Hybrid was officially retired. There was little chance of it being put out to grass though, as Porsche’s LMP1 chief Fritz Enzinger explains: “We didn’t want to see the most innovative race car of its time disappearing unceremoniously into the museum.”
Hurrah for that. And hurrah for the “919 Tribute Tour”. Next stop for the new king of the ‘Ring? Guess where! See you in West Sussex on July 12th-15th.
The hottest Nürburgring Nordschleife lap ever by numbers
1,144bhp - unrestricted power output of the 919 Hybrid in evo form
849kg - ‘Ring spec car’s dry weight
620bhp - power output of Bellof’s Rothmans Porsche 956 C
229mph - fastest speed achieved
145.3mph - Bernhard’s average speed
51.58 seconds - margin over previous record
35 years and 31 days - time Bellof’s record remained uncontested
12.94 miles - a lap of the Nordschleife
5 minutes 19.55 seconds - the new fastest-ever time
6 minutes 11.13 seconds - Stefan Bellof’s previous record in 1983
2.0-litres - the size of the 919’s combustion engine!
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