The Nürburgring has long been the go-to place to both develop cars in their development stages, as well as test them upon completion, by both amateurs and big car companies alike.
A Nürburgring lap record has therefore become one of the ultimate accolades for carmakers, with multiple huge manufacturers vying for the title, in multiple categories. Take a look below to see the quickest lap times across all major categories.
Fastest road-legal lap around the Nürburgring
1 – Nio EP9 – 6:45.90
The Chinese supercar is a limited-run 1360bhp all-wheel drive two-seater. It has a top speed of 194mph. The new lap smashed the car’s previous, sixth-place lap time of 7:05.12, which was set back on October 14th of 2016, a week before we caught the EP9 on camera at the track for the first time.
2 – Porsche 911 GT2 RS – 6:47.30
3 – Radical SR8LM – 6:48.00
The king is dead – the Radical SR8LM held the record of the fastest lap time since 2009, which lapped in just 6 minutes 48 seconds in the hands of Michael Vergers, and moves into second place, by 2.1sec thanks to Nio’s EP9 and its new ‘Ring record. Vergers was driving the car just 24 hours after the car was driven from England to Germany for the record.
4 – Lamborghini Huracan Performante – 6:52.01
Next is the Lamborghini‘s Huracán Performante, which took second place in the Nürburgring production car lap record rankings by lapping the 12.9-mile Nordschleife in a hair over 6minutes 52seconds, and now moves into third.
5 – Radical SR8 – 6:56.08
The SR8’s 2.6-litre V8 engine develops 360 bhp and broke the Nürburgring record in 2005. This model was also driven by Michael Vergers.
6 – Porsche 918 Spyder – 6:57.00
The 918 Spyder has a hybrid-carbonfibre construction, a combustion engine and suspension set-up donated by a prototype racing car. It has a top speed of 214 mph.
7 – Lamborghini Aventador SV – 6:59.73
This has a single clutch automated gearbox and is 50kg lighter than the regular Aventador. The 0-62mph time is claimed at 2.8seconds.
8 – Nissan GT-R Nismo – 7:08.68
It’s got wide front bumper wheels and is furnished with the larger, high-flow turbochargers that were previously reserved for the GT3 racer. It has a 0-60mph time of 2.7 seconds.
9 – Mercedes-AMG GT R – 7:10:92
10 – Gumpert Apollo Speed – 7:11.57
One of the finest examples of a racing car for the road. The 641bhp is produced by a heavily modified version of the previous-generation S8’s 4163cc V8.
Front-wheel drive Nürburgring lap records
1 – 2017 Honda Civic Type R – 7:43.80
They’ve done it again; Honda recently snatched the front-drive Nürburgring lap record, less than a year after Volkswagen snatched it from the previous-generation Civic Type R with the Golf GTI Clubsport S. It’s got 316bhp; 10bhp more than both the Golf and the previous-generation Civic Type R.
2 – Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S – 7:47.19
Volkswagen‘s Golf GTI Clubsport S broke the lap record twice; first setting a time of 7:49.21 in May 2016, then in December, when it shaved more than two seconds from its previous lap time. Both lap records were set by VW test driver Benny Leuchter.
3 – 2015-2016 Honda Civic Type R – 7:50.63
The previous-generation Honda Civic Type R also holds a front-wheel drive Nürburgring lap record, after snatching the title in 2015 from the Renault Mégane RS 275 Trophy R. It was first announced at the Geneva motor show in 2015.
4 – Renault Megane RS 275 Trophy-R – 7:54.36
Renault took the record from Seat back in 2014, with the snappily-named Mégane RS 275 Trophy-R. With another Mégane RS on the way, it might not be long before another Mégane sits atop the list of front-wheel drive ‘Ring records.
5 – Seat Leon Cupra 280 Estate – 7:58.12
In a top five dominated by hot hatchbacks, Seat decided to do something different, and put a front-wheel drive estate into the ‘Ring. It snatched the title, albeit briefly, and was the fastest production estate around the infamous circuit.
Four-wheel drive Nürburgring lap records
1 – Nio EP9 – 6:45.90
Claiming the electric record also garnered the Nio EP9 place overall in the all-wheel drive leaderboard, after having previously been sandwiched between the Lamborghini Aventador SV and Nissan GT-R Nismo in fourth place. Four inboard electric motors power all four wheels, and the car’s total power output is 1360bhp.
2 – Lamborghini Huracan Performante – 6:52.01
It might not have taken the overall road car record of the ‘Ring, but the Huracán Performante took the crown as all-wheel drive ‘Ring record holder before the Nio EP9’s second attempt, and is over fifty seconds ahead of the Civic Type R‘s front-wheel drive record. It’s now second overall in the four-wheel drive category.
3 – Porsche 918 Spyder – 6:57.00
After nearly five years, the Porsche 918 Spyder’s reign as all-wheel drive Nürburgring champ came to an end, before it was bumped down again by the EP9. It first set the record in 2012, wearing nothing more extreme than its track-friendly ‘Weissach package’ and a set of road tyres.
4 – Lamborghini Aventador SV – 6:59.73
The Aventador SV actually reached a much higher top speed on its ‘Ring run than its little brother, the Lamborghini Huracán Performante; reaching 202mph where the Huracán only managed 188; but the smaller car’s added agility ultimately grabbed it the title.
5 – Nissan GT-R Nismo – 7:08.68
Nissan’s most hardcore GT-R, honed by its motorsport division Nismo, has the added track pack to help it achieve such blistering ‘Ring laps. Nevertheless, a time of 7:08.68 places it comfortably in the top five all-wheel drive cars to traverse the infamous track.
Rear-wheel drive Nürburgring lap records
1 – Porsche 911 GT2 RS – 6:47.30
There’s a new rear-drive ‘Ring king in town; Porsche has blasted its 911 GT2 RS around the Nürburgring just shy of a second quicker than long-time champion, the Radical SR8LM. It’s the fastest series production car ever to traverse the ‘Ring, and is second in the road-legal rankings to the extreme limited-run Nio EP9.
2 – Radical SR8LM – 6:48.28
Process of deduction could bring you to this list, but with three of the overall top five ‘Ring records belonging to all-wheel drive cars, it shows four-wheel drive’s increasing prevalence, as manufacturers look to take advantage of its performance benefit, particularly on twisty tracks like the Nürburgring…
3 – Radical SR8 – 6:56.08
…in fact, the only two top-ten rear-drive cars are the Radical SR8LM and SR8.
4 – Mercedes-AMG GT R – 7:10.92
Mercedes’ most hardcore current model, the AMG GT R, is a long way behind, at 7:10.92. It’ll remain Mercedes’ rear-drive performance pinnacle for a while though; the Project One hypercar will be four-wheel drive.
5 – Gumpert Apollo Speed – 7:11.57
The Apollo Speed’s 7:11.57 time is enough to keep it in the top five rear-wheel drive cars to lap the Nürburgring, but not the top five overall.
Electric Nürburgring lap records
1 – Nio EP9 – 6:45.90
Nio’s EP9 stormed into the history books once again when the electric supercar took the electric ‘Ring record for the second time, smashing its previous time by almost twenty seconds. The company has also showcased a more mass-market friendly SUV concept. We doubt it’ll match its supercar sibling’s Nürburgring time, mind.
2 – Toyota TMG EV P001 – 7:47.79
It was way back in 2011 when Toyota claimed the ‘Ring record with the TMG EV P001, but its record stuck until just a few months ago. The car’s 800 lb ft certainly helped it attain the title, and what’s more; it managed to claim the crown in road-legal tyres.
3 – Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Electric Drive – 7:56.23
Mercedes’ electric blue SLS AMG Electric Drive is hard to miss, and so was its Nürburgring record in 2013; it walked all over the Audi R8 e-tron’s lap time, trouncing it by over 12 seconds. Its 740bhp and 737lb ft certainly gave it the required shove.
4 – Audi R8 e-tron – 8:09.09
The Audi R8 e-tron held first place on the electric ‘Ring record chart for almost a year before Mercedes’ SLS AMG Electric Drive came along; setting its 8:09.09 time in July 2012. It had around half the power of the Mercedes, at 375.5bhp, but had less of a torque deficit; producing 605lb ft.
5 – Electric RaceAbout – 8:42.72
The Finnish-made Electric RaceAbout achieved the electric Nürburgring record back in 2011, with German racing driver Ralf Kelleners behind the wheel. The university-based makers of the car even posted the lap video to prove the car’s time.
Fastest ever recorded Nürburgring laps
1 – Porsche 956 – 6:11.13
The absolute Nürburgring lap record holder is the Porsche 956, driven by the late Stefan Bellof in qualifying for the 1983 1000km Nürburgring race. Due to construction of the Nürburgring’s Formula 1 circuit, that race was the only time top-level Le Mans sportscars races on the 12.9-mile Nordschleife layout.
The 956 Bellof, then 25, drove was powered by a 2.65-litre flat six that produced more than 620 horsepower, and featured a ground effect downforce-producing underbody.
In qualifying, Bellof’s goal was to beat fellow Porsche driver Jochen Mass’ best lap (see below). Aided by new 13-inch front wheels he flew, despite claiming he made two mistakes and was balked at one point by a lower-class Porsche 911. His average speed was more than 125mph.
Bellof continued to demonstrate his pace during the actual race, pulling a 36-second lead on Mass in the opening six laps. That didn’t entirely please his team, who had been urging him to save fuel. After his car’s lead was reduced during team-mate Derek Bell’s stint, Bellof continued his tear on his second stint – until losing control and crashing at Pfianzgarten at 160mph. He escaped unhurt.
2 – Porsche 956 – 6:16.85
The 956 holds the second fastest time too, although this time with Jacky Ickx behind the wheel. It was at the very same 1000km Nürburgring as Bellof’s all-time record lap, although Ickx was almost six seconds off Bellof’s blistering pace.
3 – Porsche 956 – 6:25.91
Just to drive the point home, the 956 is also the third record holder, and yes, this too was at the 1983 1000km Nürburgring. It was Bellof this time (again), mind.
4 – March Engineering 832-BMW – 6:26.19
Just one month prior, Formula 2 driver Christian Danner set the Nürburgring’s fastest ever lap time in his March Engineering 832-BMW; this was shortlived, though, and Danner has been in second place on the ‘Ring records ever since.
4 – March Engineering 832-BMW – 6:28.03
That’s right; the top five fastest ever laps around the ‘Ring were completed by just two cars and three drivers, during the same year. Christian Danner took fourth and fifth place, and the laps were completed during the 1983 ADAC Eifelrennen.