Why Do ‘Ring Records Matter?

Porsche has just obliterated the outright record time for a complete lap of the Nürburgring Nordschleife, with an unbelievable 5:19:546.

As we speak, Timo Bernhard has just finished lapping the infamous Green Hell in the Porsche 919 Evo, first setting a 5:31:899, then a 5:24:375 followed by the time above.

What’s more, that time was set within an hour of the attempt starting today.


Powered by a hybrid V4 turbo engine and energy retrieval systems, and with a peak output of 1160bhp, the 919 Evo also recently set a new lap record at Spa-Francorchamps that outpaced Lewis Hamilton’s 2017 Belgian Grand Prix pole position qualifying lap.


Before today, the current Nordschleife record was set by German racing driver Stefan Bellof in the Porsche 956 during the 1983 Nürburgring 1,000km, who completed a lap in a blisteringly quick 6 minutes and 11 seconds during a qualifying lap. That’s an average speed of 202.073kph.

The fact that Bellof, and Porsche’s, previous record stood for so long, throughout incredible technological advances in the years since, is a testament to just how fast that time was. Holding onto a lap record for 35 years in motorsport is unheard of.


Bellof’s untimely death just two years later in a terrible accident at the 1,000km of Spa rocked the racing world, and many believe that his record Nürburgring assault should remain untouched as a mark of respect. As part of Porsche’s 919 Tribute tour, they have tackled Bellof’s time head-on.


In my opinion, this is exciting news – ‘Ring records are important, and are a mark of clear progress and advancement in automotive technology. The Nordschleife has long been used by racing teams, media and manufacturers as a yardstick for overall performance. The 20.832 km stretch of asphalt snaking through the German countryside is the perfect proving ground to test almost all aspects of a car’s performance, from heavy braking to acceleration, cornering at a wide variety of speeds, stability at high speed around fast bends between Bergwerk and Steilstrecke and all out straight-line pace along Döttinger Höhe towards the finish line.

If you were wondering, the 919 Evo just blasted through the latter at a VMAX of 369kph or 229mph while averaging a barely believable 234kph or 145mph around the circuit. Average. See it for yourself.


To put this into real-world terms, the fastest production road car to lap the Nordschleife is the Porsche 911 GT2 RS with a 6:47:25 (I say production road car, but almost all manufacturer attempts feature some ‘tweaks’ to suit the ‘Ring). Up to now the fastest non-production attempt, outside of competition motorsport, was the McLaren P1 XP1 LM Prototype last year, with a not-slow 6:43:22. That should drive home just how insane Bernhard’s time today is.

The exact course length of layout used varies depending on who’s on track. For example, if you and I were to drive the Nordschleife on a track day or during ​Touristenfahrten (public driving) then the measured section of track is commonly from the first bridge after the track entry to the final gantry before the exit, know as the bridge-to-gantry, or BTG time. There is a caveat here – since October 2017, timing during Touristenfahrten was banned because of safety concerns for those racing the stopwatch, so any timing now has to be done from onboard footage, such as with this Schirmer E46 M3 we brought you recently.


Manufacturers, on the other hand, and on a closed circuit, commonly use the full Nordschleife loop from start to finish, bypassing the GP circuit that is included during races such as VLN and the 24 Hours of Nürburgring. Lap records are held in lofty esteem and prove invaluable marketing material for both road cars and manufacturers’ race efforts. Despite this, there’s no governing or sanctioned timing body for these attempts. Commonly, lap times are verified by timing at the track alongside on-board footage.

It’s a truly terrifying place to drive, with the penalties for getting it wrong incredibly severe. The speed set by Porsche today is almost unfathomable, and there is talk that they’re not yet done for the day.

Can they go sub-five minutes?

Should they?

Jordan Butters
Instagram: jordanbutters

The Nürburgring on Speedhunters



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Speed Huntress

This is ineradicable news!

Christian Schmidt

And in 10 years we will have a robot driving this time ...


Definitely. Not a robot, but auto pilot. I don’t even think it’d be that hard for manufacturers to do.

It’s scary to think of a race series of cars on autopilot. Manufacturers putting their auto-pilot systems and building prowess on display.


Robot race cars can fuck right off. There's not a lot in this automotive world that can get under my skin, but an autonomous race series would definitely be one of them .


I would literally kill myself if autonomous drifting becomes a thing.


“Would be one of them”....you’re speaking like it doesn’t exist yet....

RoboRace is a real thing, going to be at Goodwood this year, series starting next year on the FE calander. Lucas DeGrassi is the chairman of it. It’s disgusting.


I honestly could not give less of a shit about it. It's a pointless exercise that could just as easily be developed in software alone. It's the equivalent of watching e-sports but it's just the CPU racing against itself.

At least FE, for all of its faults, is improving and features drivers you can support and teams you can get behind. What does RoboRace offer? Absolute nonsense.


Fully agree paddy, fully agree.

I’d actually watch esports over roborace any day of the week. Ya esports is just video games, but at least it’s still human competition.


But Twitch, you could argue that autonomous racing is every bit of human competition as video games, because it's a contest of engineers' ability to build such capable machines. It's all down to the perspective of the viewer. Traditional driving enthusiasts might not like it, but robotics enthusiasts will, and it's a game they're creating for themselves.


Traditional drivers dealt with the same thing during the drifting craze. If I had a dollar for every drifter who has ever said, "you don't understand how much skill we really have."

Looks like the drifters will have to deal with "you don't understand how skilled we really are. We built the ultimate competition cars that are driven perfectly."

Hey this is fun. Bring on the autonomous racing so we can all dog on people for not being into it. Come on guys, accept everyone's build right?


Then it should be a college/university/technical school competition. Only "geeks" would be interested and they're not a massive community.


But that's exactly how it would be. There are amateur and pro levels of every kind of hobby out there.

As far as bringing up controversies like drifting, just because they exist doesn't mean you have to like them. Just ignore it and let those peo do their thing while you do yours. It's not about "respecting every build." Do soccer/football players think foosball is a mockery of the sport and on its way to destroying the real thing? Jeez, just look away, it doesn't affect you.


If don't like it i'll never watch it, as simple as it appears. I don't want to fight or destroy anyone fun but what i'm saying it's not worthy the fuzz.
If it does and i end up wrong then let it be.
As i remember, football players were against all other "mini-football" interpretation but then they realized they can't stop it because at an amateur level the big game is difficult to carry. This will happen in every similar scenario.


^ this


Several ways to think about this, but I am not so confident that we will have a robot that we can put into this car with no instruction that will be able to drive it as fast.

The other way to think about it, and I can agree it will happen within a decade, is that we will build a wheel driven robot that will lap the course at this pace. Kind of cheating, though, because it's not the same car.

Jordan Butters

Did you watch the onboard above? Bernhard IS a robot!






that video is nuts.
well done porsche , your move vw .


VW own Porsche....


I think what was meant to say is to get the Volkswagen ID-R Pikes Peak to the Nurburgring to (maybe) contest the time set by the Porsche 919, allthough it is unbelievably quick! I for one like to see them try ;)


VW is heavier with less power. zero chance.


Power and Weight isnt the only argument for sucsess/failure.
The VW ID-R has 200bhp less and weighs 250kg more that Seb Loebs 208T16, but it still annihilated the pikes peak time.


Time Attack fans: this is what an actual race car looks like.

Jordan Butters

Essentially this is what a time attack car would look like with Porsche’s budget and technology behind it. The only this separating time attack and what you see here is that comparatively time attack is still grassroots racing.


Are you saying time attack is not racing?


Did you just see what this thing did? Hell no those are not race cars by comparison. This would slaughter any TA car in the world please stop.


Dude time attack cars are insane race cars. Get a grip.

Lochlan Hughes

Compare the budget of a TA car and a Manufacturers race car. I have never seen someone upset with TA like whats the point. TA is awesome motorsport just like every other motorsport. Except Superutes, fuck superutes.


This comment section has literally turned into a wild west bar fight. I love it. Superutes are cool. Gtfo *breaks bottle*

Time Attack cars aren't insane race cars. They spew their load in 1 lap and driver's never have to run a single lap off line or in the rain. Insane? Please.


The thing is....TA cars are just that Cars, not specifically designed to be race cars for a specific series. Hell they even run on road legal simi slicks....


I would like to have seen them beat the record with a "regular" Porsche 919, purely so you had a sanctioned race car record replaced by it's modern equivalent.

Ignoring the above though, it's an incredible time and a mental onboard clip: so glad they shared it straight away as, as soon as I saw the news breaking this morning, the first thing I thought was "I want to see the onboard video!".


I'm almost certain someone can extrapolate what a 919 Hybrid could do it in based on its qualifying time on Spa versus the Evo's record lap there and how much faster per kilometre it is.

Frankly, I LOVE that they've done this. This is the sort of thing that demonstrates progress and ability better than anything else.


Damn and I thought the ring was hard at normal speeds never mind barrelling through kinks and corners at over 200mph in places! Thats like trying to thread 20km worth of needles! My hats off to those guys


oh holy shit, THAT IS FAST!


jeezus. best onboard ever? probably. kept gripping the chair just watching that...

sub 5mins? yes please! :D

(but only ever with a human driver. as soon as you take the human out from behind the wheel, it is no longer motorsport.)


I randomly came across this video on YouTube last night, a brilliant recap of sportscar racing in the 1970s. In the video, the commentator remarks how in that era, both sports cars and can am cars were much more spectacular than the F1 cars of the day.

The video was clearly made in the late 80s, as the narrator signs off by claiming “sportscar racing is still in a brilliant place, rivialling F1 for supremacy,” while showing some clips of a Rothmans Porsche 956. My heart sank in that moment, all I could think of “but wait until ‘93”

Seeing this post this morning though, I couldn’t help but smile. Even if just for today, and even if it’s not homologated, just for this one small moment, sportscars are back on top of the motorsport world, where they belong :)


The old record stood for so long mostly because this track configuration hasn't been used in racing since (or before). What I'm surprised of is how far these "road"car records are from Bellof's time. 956 didn't even have a differential and the aerodynamics were very much based on guesswork. Yes it was a race car and a brilliant one but technology has advanced so much.


At any point in time a manufacturer or race team could have hired the circuit for an attempt. Porsche finally did it, which is fitting as it was technically their record to break.



Steffen Hansen

Usual disclaimer. I know absolutely nothing about most things, so disregard please.

I have done numerous x 1000 laps of the Ring in various games (GT and PCars 1&2) - And what I find most impressive about the onboard video - it does not, in any way, at all, look frantic. Yes- It's mindbendingly fast, but in no way does it look like he's on the ragged edge fighting the damn thing. It just accelerates, stops and then grips like there is no tomorrow in such a controlled way. Impressive...

Cap duly duffed and very well done Porsche!.


This accelerating with boost is insane :o


35 years holding the record? that it's crazy!


Bah, the Ring means nothing!

What matters is - can you drive from New York to Los Angeles in an even 24 hours?


NFS The Run in reverse


Well Alex Roy definitely has gotten close.. obviously an actual “race car” could do it, but it would probably be putting way too many pedestrian lives at risk. Not to say Alex Roy isn’t a crazy dude, but he does a significant amount of planning and I think has completed all his records with plenty of regard for those around him.

Hell, take cops out of the equation and anyone could probably do it.


Roy's time was beaten by an old Mercedes


This is absolutely insane. Video is faster than video game fast and truly quite terrifying (also crazy it has nearly 1M views today). I wonder who will strike back.


How hard is it to make F1 sounds like this? This car also has a hybrid power plant.




That video has to be one of the manliest things I’ve ever seen. Incredible.


What on Earth does "manliness" have to do with it? I suppose if your normal vocabulary includes words like "bro," "man cave," and "manscaping," you have tribal tattoos, work out to get buff for your desk job, and own an AR-15. Maybe own a lifted diesel super duty pickup that you never take off-roading because it's too big for the trails... but you run it through mud puddles every now and then to at least give the impression.


Winner of the award for man who has no idea what it's like to drive a car with testicles: David Flinn. David Flinn everyone. give him a cuple of hands.


it’s a figure of speech buddy, lighten up. All I was saying is that driver was on point.


The RIng shows that the Civic Type R is the fastest FWD car ever and beats rivals like the GTI Clubsport/R, WRX, Focus RS, i30N, etc. (I am also fond of those cars too)
Haters will say the lap time is fake


919 Evo's acceleration is unreal.


Insane driving. Super precise and clean. I do agree that it's amazing what they achieved, but in my opinion, it also shows just how fast and how brutal the 956 and group C were and how good Bellof was.

No driving aids, no extreme levels of aero, 80s tires technology, a manual gearbox, less power and about the same weight, and still it managed to be under a minute slower the 919. To me it just makes the 80s group C cars even more special and unbelievable. I'm sure manufacturers will now start their own little race, challenging each other who'll set a faster time, so it could get interesting.