The refusal of McLaren to reveal how quick its latest P1 hypercar is around Germany’s Nurburgring circuit has fueled speculation that it may have broken the lap record of 6min48sec.
Only three cars have officially slipped under seven minutes for the tortuous 20.8km circuit: the Porsche 918 Spyder (6min57sec), the standard Radical SR8 (6min55sec), and the record-holding Radical SR8 LM.
McLaren will only say that the hybrid P1 (above) broke seven minutes. Is it keeping mum because the P1 didn’t do as well as expected, or because it set a new record and McLaren doesn’t want to get into a bragging rights fight with Porsche or Ferrari?
The Nurburgring Nordschleife (“north loop”) is widely regarded as the most formidable race circuit in the world. It has become a favourite proving ground for the world’s carmakers. Lap times on the fiercely undulating loop are a measure of everything about a car.
The Nurburgring circuit was declared insolvent in 2012 but has now been bought for around $NZ170 million by German motorsport equipment supplier Capricorn Group, which wants to develop it as a technology centre. The new focus means new attempts on record lap times and the ‘Ring’s top ten’ are under threat. Here are the 10 fastest:
10. Porsche 911 GT2 RS – 7:24s
The 997 generation model weighs 70kg less than the standard GT2 and its twin-turbocharged flat-six engine delivers 456kW. It clocked 7:24s in 2010.
9. Chevrolet Corvette C6 Z06 – 7:22.68
The C6 Z06 isn’t the top-drawer model, that’s the ZR1. But the Z06’s 376kW V8 helped it get round the circuit just three seconds slower than the ZR1 when both cars were tested in June 2011.
8. Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1 – 7:19.63
The V8 engine in the C6 ZR1 generates 476kW, exactly 100kW more than the Z06. So which is really the better car, observers asked. Either one is considerably cheaper than Euro supercars.
7. Donkervoort D8 RS – 7:14.89
The Donkervoort looks like a pumped-up Caterham. Its turbocharged 1.8-litre Audi engine delivers 200kW, enough oomph for the lightweight flyer to set the fastest time in 2006.
6. Lexus LFA Nurburgring Package – 7:14.64
The LFA has a carbon-fibre body and a V10 engine that delivers 420kW and revs to 9000rpm. The Package model had a recalibrated transmission and various other tweaks. It set the time in 2011.
5. Dodge Viper ACR – 7:12.13
Under the long bonnet is 447kW V10, but weight-saving modifications, enhanced aerodynamics and retuned suspension more than helped the Viper SRT10 set the time in 2011.
4. Gumpert Apollo Sport – 7:11.57s
It might have a strange name and look a bit like the Hummer people designed it, but the Sport version’s brut force came from a 530kW twin-turbo V8 that set the track alight in 2009.
3. Nissan GT-R Nismo – 7:08.69s
Nissan has always claimed that the Nismo’s time is a lap record for a ‘volume production car’. But the record breaking GT-R came with various “track options” to save weight and improve aerodynamics.
2. Porsche 918 Spyder (Weissach Package) – 6:57s
Porsche turned up at the ‘Ring with the all-wheel-drive Spyder in September last year. Its hybrid drivetrain delivers 655kW and 1265Nm of torque.
1. Radical SR8 LM – 6:48s
The lookalike racer is a two-seater and qualifies as a road-legal car. Its 335kW V8 delivers a power-to-weight ratio of 514kW per tonne. It set the time in 2009, four years after a standard SR8 did 6min55sec, still the second fastest.