The Nordschleife has become the place for auto manufacturers to prove their metal. There’s been a veritable invasion of foreign companies setting up base on the track’s doorstep, from Nissan to Aston Martin, all looking to show how credible their sports cars are. So what of the domestic Germans, whose track this is? It seems like the Porsche elite have decided to remind the newcomers who’s the boss, and the car they chose to hammer them with was of course the 918 Spyder.
Like several other recent development cars, the 918 hasn’t stood still since its reveal in Geneva back in 2010, and has seen several refinements and variants released over the last couple of years – all this before the car’s official release, remember.
Static appearances by the Porsche 918 have always set the internet alight, but more recently the Spyder has been setting tracks alight, with proper on-road testing sessions made public. The potential of a plug-in hybrid supercar combined with Porsche’s heritage meant that it was always a thrilling prospect, and disappointment was never an option.
Production is due to start later this month, and as if there wasn’t already enough buzz around the long-awaited 918, Porsche decided to ramp things up by giving the Spyder a further little upgrade.
At the Frankfurt Motor Show they revealed the ‘Weissach’ option package. Add even more carbon and even more power (up to 887hp) then take away weight, and the competition are in serious trouble… The Weissach 918 Spyder also runs lightweight magnesium wheels which drop the car’s overall weight by 35kg with bespoke Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres and a choice of vintage-inspired paint schemes. Martini stripes are always good for a couple of tenths on their own.
So where would Doctor Frank Walliser, the 918 project manager, possibly choose to show it off? Where better than the Nordschleife. Porsche had already taken a race victory at the Nürburgring 24 Hours in 2011 using Williams-derived hybrid technology fitted to a 997 GT3 RSR, but the Spyder is a fully road-homologated street car. Just a very powerful street car.
The team they assembled for the attempt was suitably impressive: factory driver Marc Lieb was joined by Porsche tester Timo Kluck and double World Rally Champion Walter Röhrl. All three beat the existing record set by the Gumpert Apollo Sport back in 2009, but ultimately it was Lieb who posted the fastest lap.
Runs by a pair of Spyders were monitored by independent observers, and Lieb’s lap of six minutes 57 seconds was 14 seconds quicker than the previous record – at an average of 179.5kph.
The Spyder is the first production model with global road homologation to break the seven minute barrier. Now the question has to be, can McLaren’s P1 beat it?…
Jonathan, Walter Röhrl is a 2-Time World Rally Champion. He has also won a few others, but the WRC are his main two.
I came to see if all the comments would be "THIS IS IRRELEVANT BECAUSE NURB TIMES ARE SKEWED, AND CAN'T BE TRUSTED, PORSCHE PROBABLY CHEATED. LUCKILY [car of choice, usually ZR1 for this argument]'S TIME WAS DONE BY AN PROFESSIONAL AND IF THEY HAD THE SAME TIMING EQUIPMENT THEY PROBABLY WOULD HAVE RAN A 5:01"
Weirdly there's none of that this time. Probably a different story over on autoblog
I love how the laferrari isn't even mentioned, about time People realised ferrari just aren't in the same league
Didn't expect this at all... Definitely changed my mind about the 918!
Can't let my faith drop however, I still think the P1 will top both this and the LaFerrari!
Röhrl immediately did a 7:04 ... at the age of 66. This guy is a genius. Marc Lieb hammered it though ... impressive performance and the car ... my goodness. Saw #20 on the Autobahn near Stuttgart last week and it's such an impressive machine. It's beautiful, elegant and not just aggressive looking. Love it and i'm genuinely happy for Porsche!
Does anyone is still (honestly) contesting that Porsche is the best car producer/bunch of engineers of all time for land machines?? I hope no. I mean once you get Le mans, the Dakar, and the Ring' with an decent hybrid (with real batteries, not flywheel or something else...).... But I guess there is still some peoples which will cry and argue so...Just let them cry and argue something else.
Even porsche dont recognize it.http://press.porsche.com/news/release.php?id=812
Does Ferrari even test on the 'Ring? I'd like to see how the The Ferrari compares.
@maxproof A bit underestimated to say "former European Rally Champion Walter Röhrl", because he is also 1980 and 1982 world rally champion.
I am so pleased that Porsche is back with a hyper car and the Martini livery is right on!
Rumour is the P1 did a 7.04 at the end of august.
Not sure of the correlation, but hopefully this bodes well for Le Mans next year. I'm pulling for Porsche.
@regno Yep – as I say below, that's a horrible omission on my part and will serve me right for taking it straight from Porsche when I should (and do, honestly!) know better in the cold light of day!
@midgeman P1 did 7:01 last week.