Germany’s notorious Nurburgring circuit is the most popular arena for performance cars to prove their credentials. From supercars to four-door saloons, hot hatchbacks and even SUVs, there aren’t many ‘hot’ cars that escape a lap of the Green Hell.
Here are the latest 2019 ’Ring kings… followed by a full list of the 30 fastest road cars around the Nurburgring.
Lynk & Co. 03 Cyan concept – 7:15
This record-holder has taken two titles at once, while also being the first Chinese car to set a lap record. The Lynk & Co. 03 Cyan concept is officially the fastest front-wheel-drive car around the Nordschleife.
Strictly speaking, it is a concept, but with a highly respectable time of 7:15.1, it simply can’t be ignored. It’s a full 25 seconds faster than the new Renault Megane Trophy-R, and that’s hardly a slouch. Then again, it does pack a 528hp punch.
Lynk & Co. 03 Cyan concept – 7:15
That time of 07:15.1 puts the Lynk & Co. within spitting distance of many modern supercars. It’s the product of the race team formerly known as Polestar, which runs a World Touring Car campaign.
Renault Sport Megane Trophy-R – 7:40
The front-drive class at the Ring hasn’t let up in these past few years, despite what that Cyan record might lead you to believe. The new Megane Trophy-R has carbon fibre wheels and ceramic brakes – upgrades often the preserve of track-focused supercars.
It’s not cheap, though, at £72,140 for a ’Ring-spec car. This is the fastest front-driver you can actually buy.
Porsche Taycan – 7:42
This is an important record for Porsche. What better way to prove the performance of your new EV than sending it around the Green Hell? A time of 7:42 makes the Taycan the fastest electric four-door at the Nurburgring. We await the finished production car with bated breath.
But what are the times they have to beat? Here are the ultimate Nurburgring lap record holders to date.
Fastest cars around the Nurburgring
- Porsche 911 991 GT2 RS MR – 6:40
- McLaren P1 LM – 6:43
- Lamborghini Aventador SVJ – 6:44
- Nio EP9 – 6:45
- Porsche 911 GT2 RS – 6:47
- Radical SR8 LM – 6:48
- Lamborghini Huracan Performante – 6:52
- Porsche 911 GT3 RS – 6:56
- Porsche 918 Spyder – 6:57
- Lamborghini Aventador SVJ – 6:59
Now, let’s celebrate the top 30 fastest road cars round the Nurburgring, from the Ferrari Enzo to the Porsche 911 GT2 MR…
30. Ferrari Enzo – 7:25.7
In the name of the father: the Enzo took to the Nurburgring to fight the corner of the Scuderia alongside the Pagani Zonda, Maserati MC12 and Porsche Carrera GT. It didn’t fare too well alongside its fellow Italians, but gave the interloping German hypercar a bloody nose.
29. Mercedes SLS AMG Black Series – 7:25.6
If big wings, canards and blistered wheelarches aren’t a recipe for Nurburgring success, we don’t know what is. Along with a serious chassis set-up and sticky tyres, they helped AMG blast its hopped-up SLS to an Enzo-beating time in 2013.
28. Mercedes AMG GT 4-Door – 7:25.4
Illustrating how far cars have come, this series production luxury saloon, which weighs more than two tonnes, can challenge yesterday’s hypercars – and even beat some of them. It’s also faster than AMG’s best from five years ago. Still, four-wheel drive, rear-wheel steering and well over 600hp must help towards that.
27. Pagani Zonda F Clubsport – 7:24.4
Ah, the Zonda. Before getting 700hp and some questionable modifications, it was at the forefront of the Nurburgring wars of the mid-2000s. Engineering may have moved on, but that design is timeless.
26. Maserati MC12 – 7:24.3
The MC12 is a bit of a museum piece these days, but it’s still ruinously fast. A single-clutch gearbox and no electric motor assistance mean it’s no longer at the cutting edge. Nonetheless, a carbon fibre chassis and a 600hp-plus V12 mean it laps the Nürburgring rather briskly.
25. Chevrolet Corvette C6 Z06 – 7:22
Like the forthcoming ZR1, the Z06 here is the last-generation C6 Corvette. Given that it’s only three seconds slower than the former car, 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, probably.
24. Jaguar XE SV Project 8 – 7:21
Jaguar’s no-expense-spared skunkworks special has performance to back up its aesthetic bravado. Not only is it the second fastest four-door saloon around the Nurburgring, and the fastest production saloon, it’s also in the top 30 fastest cars ever at the Nordschleife.
23. Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1 – 7:19
Here’s that aforementioned tyre-shredder. The Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 uses a monster 640hp supercharged 6.2-litre V8. Ripping around the ’Ring in a time of seven minutes 19.63 seconds, we’d hate to think how much that would cost in fuel.
22. Porsche 911 GT2 RS (997) – 7:18
It’s a braver man than any of us who points the low-slung snout of a 911 GT2 RS out onto the Nürburgring for a maximum attack lap. This 997 version packs two turbos delivering a whopping 620hp and 516lb ft of torque, plus semi-slick tyres and no traction control.
21. Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE – 7:16
Nurburgring times have come a long way in the past few years. Witness the fact that a Camaro has lapped the Nordschleife quicker than a top-level 911 from eight years ago. The Camaro ZL1 1LE is a 650hp be-winged track weapon – and an incredible culture clash.
20. Lynk & Co. 03 Cyan concept – 07:15
Yes, the Cyan is officially well within the top 30 fastest cars around the Nurburgring. And it’s front-wheel drive.
19. Donkervoort D8 RS – 7:14.8
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 bona fide supercar like the Lexus LFA.
18. Lexus LFA Nurburgring Package – 7:14.6
The clue to this Lexus LFA’s stellar Nurburgring performance lies in its name. Special mods gave the standard LFA 10hp more, so its 4.8-litre V10 now shrieked out 571hp. A 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 achieve the time. The orange paint is just cool.
17. Chevrolet Corvette Z06 (C7) – 7:13
Another hero of the mid- to late-2000s American attack on the ’Ring. The old Z06, Viper ACR and subsequent Corvettes proved their performance. Expectations were high, therefore, for the new Z06. This blue-collar supercharged hero bested the all-carbon V10-powered LFA Nurburgring of a few years earlier.
16. Porsche 911 991.2 GT3 – 7:12
The 991 911 is perhaps the best Nurburgring bang for your buck. This, the updated GT3, put in a majorly impressive effort. Still nearly 20 seconds slower than the RS, mind…
15. Gumpert Apollo Sport – 7:11
Gumpert might not have the most exotic name, but the Apollo Sport is certainly quick. With 700hp from its twin-turbo Audi V8 (there’s an 800hp version, too), the Apollo Sport embarrassed non-hybrid Porsches, Ferraris, McLarens and Lamborghinis. We wonder how quick the new Apollo IE would be.
14. Mercedes-AMG GT R – 7:10
This was a private effort, but it’d be wrong to not include a car with a paint colour called ‘Green Hell’ on the options list. Germany’s Sport Auto magazine conducted the lap on Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tyres, to an impressive but not record-breaking seven minute 10 second time.
13. Nissan GT-R Nismo – 7:08
Nissan has been embroiled in a battle with Porsche for Nurburgring supremacy since the GT-R first emerged back in 2007. In the hands of driver Michael Krumm, its hardcore Nismo variant scorched to a lap time of seven minutes 8.69 seconds. We reckon the latest version, which has turbos from the racer and new wheelarch vents, could go even quicker.
12. Mercedes-AMG GT R Pro – 7:04
Merc’s ‘Beast of the Green Hell’ got a selection of aero and chassis upgrades with this Pro package. That saved it a decent chunk of time, and got it ahead of the other GT-R from Japan.
11. Dodge Viper ACR (2017) – 7:01
The 2008 Viper ACR was one of the original ’Ring heroes. This brutal lump of American iron cemented itself as a serious contender by dominating the Green Hell. No pressure on the 2017 car, then, which was rumoured to be a contender for the record. Sadly, it never happened, with the Viper ACR failing to break seven minutes. All that said, it remains the fastest car around the circuit with a manual gearbox.
10. Lamborghini Aventador SV – 6:59
Before the SVJ came the SV, with revised damping, lower weight and some serious aero. All that, some extra power and stickier tyres helped the SV become the second car (after the Porsche 918 Spyder), to break the seven-minute barrier. Impressive at the time, but plenty have topped it now.
9. Porsche 918 Spyder – 6:57
Porsche works racing driver Marc Lieb was tasked with extracting the maximum from the firm’s 887hp hybrid hypercar. He did so brilliantly, setting a lap time of six minutes and 57 seconds. With Ferrari and McLaren not publishing times for the LaFerrari and P1, the Porsche is officially the quickest of the ‘big three’.
8. Porsche 911 GT3 RS (991.2) – 6:56
Not five years after Porsche’s hypercar owned the Nurburgring, its flagship 911 goes and beats it. Who needs nearly 1,000hp, all-wheel drive and instant electric power? Equipped with the lightweight Weissach package, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R tyres and a 500hp free-breathing flat-six, the new RS did the business a second quicker.
7. 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 of this relatively conventional supercar beating out the ultra-sophisticated Porsche 918 Spyder for ’Ring supremacy didn’t fly so well. We think weight is the key factor.
6. Radical SR8 LM – 6:48
When people say “it’s a racing car with number plates”, generally that’s not strictly accurate. This actually is. Radicals genuinely race in this spec, minus headlights and those all-important number plates. Michael Vergers drove the SR8 LM around the Nurburgring on street-legal tyres for a time of six minutes and 48 seconds. That’s pretty epic, particularly as it was achieved way back in 2009
5. Porsche 911 GT2 RS (991) – 6:47
The current GT2 RS is a fitting run-out model for the 991. Its incredible performance at the Nürburgring cements it as one of Porsche’s greats. Given the GT2 name’s reputation for spikiness in the past, it’s quite an achievement to create such a well-rounded 700hp-plus 911.
4. 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 are proliferating exponentially and the king of them made a big splash at the ’Ring. The NIO EP9 is an upstart electric hypercar that obliterated the Nordschleife with a 6:45 lap time. That’s just five seconds off the new MR GT2 RS record. Expect more electric hypercars to silently dominate the circuit in the coming years.
3. Lamborghini Aventador SVJ – 6:44
The biggest and baddest of the current raging bulls didn’t have a lot of time atop the Nurburgring throne. Nevertheless, as a proof of how far the Aventador SVJ has come, its 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 slower.
2. McLaren P1 LM – 6:43
Lanzante’s ultimate road-legal P1 GTR is a homage to the five-off special McLaren F1 LM of the mid-1990s, intended to celebrate the five finishers at the 1995 Le Mans 24-hour race. The P1 LM features power and aero upgrades, but removes racing features like the air jack. It’s fully road-legal and all 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…
1. Porsche 991 GT2 RS MR – 6:40
Perhaps a tuned version of a car doesn’t count. Technically speaking, though, the Manthey Racing-fettled GT2 RS is road-legal. Not to mention that Porsche has a 51 percent stake in the Nürburgring-based company.