Recently, Porsche test driver Timo Bernhard lapped the 12.94 miles Nürburgring Nordschleife race circuit in 5 minutes and 19.55 seconds. This results in an average speed of 145.3 mph on what is revered by race drivers, engineers and enthusiasts alike as the world’s most difficult track. Driving the Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo, Bernhard beat the previous lap record, set by Stefan Bellof, by 51.58 seconds. For 35 years and 31 days Bellof’s 6:11.13 minutes record remained uncontested.
Bernhard, five-time overall winner of the Nürburgring 24- hours, two-time outright winner of the Le Mans 24-hours and reigning World Endurance Champion with the Porsche 919 Hybrid, clambered out of the tight Le Mans prototype cockpit. “This is a great moment for me and for the entire team…”All I can add is, “no shit”.
Bernhard beat the previous lap record, set by Stefan Bellof, by 51.58 seconds. For 35 years and 31 days Bellof’s 6:11.13 minutes record remained uncontested. The German driver from Gießen, who tragically died at Spa-Francorchamps in 1985, counted as the biggest racing talent of his time. He drove his record on May 28 in 1983 at the wheel of a powerful 620 bhp Rothmans Porsche 956 C during practice.
Porsche 919 EVO
The Evo version of the Porsche 919 Hybrid is based on the car that took outright victory at the Le Mans 24-Hours and won the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Over the winter, it was freed from some restrictions hitherto determined by the regulations. Thus, its hybrid power train now develops a system output of 1160 hp. The Evo weighs less than 1900 pounds and its modified, and now active, aerodynamics generate over 50 per cent more than the World Endurance Championship cars.
On April 9 this year in Spa, the dramatic evolution of the three-times Le Mans winner lapped faster than a Formula One car with Neel Jani at the wheel. The 34-year old Porsche works driver from Switzerland – Le Mans outright winner and Endurance World Champion of 2016 – set a lap of 1:41,770 minutes on the 4.35 mile Grand Prix circuit in the Belgian Ardennes mountains. He topped the previous track record, set by Lewis Hamilton in 2017 qualifying, by 0.783 seconds. The British Mercedes driver took pole position for the Belgian Grand Prix in 1:42.553 minutes.
The number is going to be tough to beat, but with everyone on earth deciding that the Nordschleife is now the Holy Grail of benchmarks, other sports car manufacturers are certainly burning the midnight oil in an effort to dethrone the momentary (?) hero.
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Dave Miller drives the fastest, coolest, sexiest cars on the planet. He travels the world uncovering the hidden gems in luxury transportation, meeting the owners, and connecting with extraordinary car enthusiasts. Dave is a member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association and writes for various publications.
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