The Nürburgring is probably the world’s most challenging racetrack. Car manufacturers use it to test, develop and sign off their cars, and in recent years, this has led to the fastest cars at the Nürburgring Nordschleife (north circuit, stretching 26 kilometres or 16 miles) becoming a metric as important as horsepower, top speed and 0-62mph acceleration.
The record has tumbled in recent years, and is being chipped away at all the time. As we prepare for another year of record-setting in 2019, here is a rundown of the fastest cars at the Nürburgring so far.
Porsche 911 GT2 RS MR – 6:40.33
Perhaps a tuned version of a car doesn’t count but technically speaking, the Manthey-Racing-fettled GT2 RS is road-legal. Not to mention that Porsche has a 51 percent stake in the Nürburgring-based company.
The MR package includes aero and chassis tweaks but in spite of the incredible time, the engineers insist road use is still a priority.
Watch: Porsche 911 GT2 RS MR Nürburgring record lap
McLaren P1 LM – 6:43
Lanzante’s ultimate road-legal P1 GTR is an homage to the five-off special F1 LM of the mid 1990s, to celebrate the five Le Mans finishers at the 1995 24hr. The P1 LM features a power and aero upgrade, but removes racer features like the air jack. It’s fully road legal and yes, five were sold. So we think, its 6:43 ‘Ring time stands. Incredible stuff from an incredible car but not quite up to a suitably tweaked GT2 RS…
Lamborghini Aventador SVJ – 6:44.97
The biggest and baddest of the current big bad bulls didn’t have a lot of time atop the Nürburgring throne. Nevertheless, as a proof of how far the Aventador SVJ has come, the 6:44 time is undeniably incredible. Compare that to the original LP700’s time of 7:25 set by Sport Auto. Yes, that’s 40 seconds quicker.
NIO EP9 – 6:45
Every so often there’s a paradigm shift in car performance and even more rarely, the industry as a whole. Electric cars a proliferating exponentially and the king of them made a big splash at the ‘Ring. The NIO EP9 is an upstart electric hypercar that just so happened to obliterate the Nordschleife with a 6:45 lap time. That’s just five seconds off the new MR GT2 RS record that’s just been announced. Expect more electric hypercars to silently dominate the green hell in the coming years.
Porsche 911 GT2 RS – 6:47.25
The current GT2 RS is a fitting run-out model for the 991. Its incredible performance at the Nürburgring nearly a year before the SVJ toppled it as one of Porsche’s greats. Given the GT2 name’s reputation for spikiness in the past, it’s quite an achievement by Porsche to create such a well-rounded 700hp+ rear-drive 911.
Radical SR8 LM – 6:48
When people say “it’s a racing car with number plates” generally that’s not strictly accurate. This is. These cars actually race in this spec, minus headlights and licence plates. Radical test driver Michael Vergers drove the SR8 LM around the ’ring on street legal tyres for a time of 6 minutes and 48 seconds. That’s pretty epic, particularly as it was achieved way back in 2009
Lamborghini Huracan Performante – 6:52
A year before the GT2 fought back, the Huracan Performante put its active aerodynamics to the test for a scarcely believable 6:52 lap. In 2016 the thought this relatively conventional supercar beating out the ultra-sophisticated Porsche 918 Spyder for ‘Ring supremacy didn’t fly so well. Since then plenty of more ‘conventional’ cars have done the business. Does that reveal that the hybrid Porker must have suffered for something? We think weight is the killer…
Porsche 911 991.2 GT3 RS – 6:56
Not five years after Porsche’s ground-breaking hybrid hypercar owned the Nürburgring, its flagship track-focused sportscar goes and busts it. Who needs nearly 1,000hp, all-wheel drive and instant electric power? Equipped with a lightweight Weissach package, Pilot Sport Cup 2 R tyres and a 500hp free-breathing flat-six, the new RS did the business a second quicker.
Porsche 918 Spyder – 6:57
Porsche works racing driver Marc Lieb was tasked with extracting the maximum from the firm’s 887hp hybrid 918 Spyder hypercar. He did so brilliantly, setting a lap time of 6 minutes and 57 seconds. With Ferrari and McLaren not publishing times for the LaFerrari and P1 respectively, the Porsche is officially the quickest one of ‘the big three’.
Lamborghini Aventador SV – 6:59
Before SVJ came SV, with revised damping, lower weight and some serious aero. All that, some extra power and stickier tyres give the SV the tools it needed to be the first car after the 918 in 2013, to break the 7-minute barrier. Impressive at the time but plenty have busted it now. How progress numbs our perceptions…
Dodge Viper ACR (2017) – 7:01
The 2008 Viper ACR was one of the original ‘Ring heroes. This brutal bewinged lump of American pig iron cemented itself as a serious contender by dominating the green hell. So no pressure on the 2017 car, which was rumoured to be a contender for the record. It never happened, though, with the car not even breaking 7 minutes. That this private attempt was ended after a crash caused by a busted tyre means we’ll never know how quick it could have gone…
Nissan GT-R Nismo – 7:08.69
The .69 makes all the difference you know… Nissan has long been embroiled in a battle with Porsche for Nürburgring lap time supremacy since the GT-R emerged back in 2007. In the hands of Nissan GT-R racer Michael Krumm its hardcore Nismo variant scorched to a lap time of 7 minutes 8.69 seconds.
Mercedes-AMG GT – 7:10
This is a private effort but it’d be wrong to not include a car with a colour called “green hell” on a list of fastest Nürburgring times. Sport Auto conducted the lap on Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tyres, to an impressive but not record-breaking 7 minute 10 second time.
Gumpert Apollo Sport – 7:11.57
The brand might not have the most exotic name, but its Apollo Sport is certainly quick. With 700hp from its twin-turbo Audi V8 (there’s an 800hp version, too), the Apollo Sport embarrassed the non-hybrid Porsches, Ferraris, McLarens and Lamborghinis.
Porsche 911 991.2 GT3 – 7:12
The 991 911 is perhaps the best Nürburgring bang for your buck. Many non-GT cars would place somewhere in this list, if we were going to include any beyond this. Just know that they’re quick… This, the updated GT3, put in a majorly impressive effort. Still nearly 20 seconds slower than the RS, mind…
Dodge Viper ACR (2008) – 7:12.13
There ain’t no replacement for displacement, goes the old adage – a mantra the Dodge Viper ACR subscribes to with its 600hp 8.4-litre V10. Couple to that an 18kg weight saving – by deleting the air-con, radio, speakers, amplifier and even the boot carpet – extra downforce from those big wings and its rapid Nürburgring ring lap time is the result.
Corvette C7 Z06 – 7:13
Another hero of the mid to late 2000s American attack on the ‘Ring. The old Z06, the Viper ACR and subsequent Corvettes proved their performance. Expectations were high, therefore, for the new Z06. This blue-collar hero still beat out the all-carbon V10-powered LFA Nürburgring of a few years earlier.
Lexus LFA Nürburgring Package – 7:14.64
The clue to this Lexus LFA’s stellar Nürburgring performance is in its name. The special mods gave the standard LFA 10hp more, so its 4.8-litre V10 now shrieked out 571hp. A faster recalibrated gearbox, aero improvements (thanks to a new front splitter, flicks on the front bumper and gigantic rear wing), and stiffer, more adjustable suspension helped to achieve the time. The orange paint is just cool.
Donkervoort D8 RS – 7:14.89
Think of the Donkervoort D8 RS as a futuristic Caterham with a ballistic Audi engine. Lots of power and very little weight mean it can lap the ’ring in a time just shy of a bonafide supercar like the LFA.
Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE
‘Ring times have come a a long way in the past few years. That point is made no more effectively than in the fact a Camaro has run the Nordschleife quicker than a top-level 911 from eight years ago. The Camaro ZL1 1LE is a 650hp be-winged track weapon but nonetheless, it’s an incredible culture clash.
Porsche 911 GT2 RS – 7:18
It’s a braver man than any of us that points the low-slung snout of a 911 GT2 RS out onto the Nürburgring for a maximum attack lap – this with 620hp, two turbos delivering a whopping 516lb ft of torque, semi-slick tyres and no traction control…
Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1 – 7:19.63
The Chevy Corvette ZR1 (that’s zee-ah-one) uses a monster 640hp supercharged 6.2-litre V8. Ripping around the ’ring in a time of 7 minutes and 19.63 seconds, we’d hate to think how much that would cost in fuel.
Chevrolet Corvette C6 Z06 – 7:22.68
Just like the ZR1, the Z06 (again, that’s zee-oh-six) here is the last generation C6 Corvette. Given that it’s only three seconds slower than the ZR1 with a 7.0-litre non-supercharged V8 making ‘only’ 505hp, we want to know what the extra power is doing in the other ‘vette? Shredding tyres, most probably.
Maserati MC12 – 7:24.3
You could arguably call the Maserati MC12 a previous generation hypercar now. A single-clutch gearbox and no electric motor assistance means it’s no longer at the bleeding edge – but a carbon fibre chassis and a 600hp-plus V12 means it can still lap the Nürburgring rather briskly.
Pagani Zonda F Clubsport – 7:24.44
The same goes for any variant of the Pagani Zonda. The F Clubsport comes in just .14 seconds shy of the Maser’s time. Engineering may have moved on, but those looks are still so visually arresting.
Ferrari Enzo – 7:25.7
Ferrari being beaten by its Italian cousin Maserati – heads will roll. The Enzo uses the same engine and chassis as the MC12, and despite being a touch more powerful, is actually slower than the Maserati around the Nurburgring. Maybe the Maserati’s curvier shape helps on the long straights.
Porsche Carrera GT – 7:28
Ex-World Rally champion and Porsche test driver Walter Rohrl (that’s him in the car) took his brain out and strapped himself in to see just how quickly the Carrera GT could go around the Nordschleife – if he can’t go any quicker, nobody can.
Ferrari 458 Italia – 7:32.92
Not only is Ferrari’s 458 Italia stunning to look at, but beating cars with much more performance than it – we’re talking Koenigsegg CCX and McLaren-Mercedes SLR – it’s stunningly quick around the ’ring, too.
Fastest Nurburgring cars 2018
- Porsche 911 GT2 RS MR – 6:40.33s
- Lamborghini Aventador SVJ – 6:44.97s
- Nio EP9 – 6:45s
- Porsche 911 GT2 RS – 6:47.25s
- Lamborghini Huracan Performante – 6:52s
- Porsche 911 GT3 RS – 6:56s
- Porsche 918 Spyder – 6:57s
- Lamborghini Aventador SV – 6:59s
- Dodge Viper ACR – 7:01s
- Nissan GT-R Nismo – 7:08s