Nordschleife - What do the Records actually tell us about the car?
Yeah, the records are not done in stock cars, but why do we care about them anyway?
Nürburgring-records made a comeback in 2013 when the Porsche 918 Spyder lapped the ´Ring in 6:57 minutes. The fastest time of a production car ever recorded (except Radicals but they didnt do the full lap in their attempt and are not all roadlegal). Petrolheads all over the world are still waiting for McLaren to confirm a rather weird looking Japanese website as a valid source for a sub-seven-minute time of their P1 and Koenigsegg is yet to lap the ´Ring in one of its hypercars without crashing it.
In the meantime though, Volkswagen, Seat and Honda are battling around the Nordschleife for the fastest front-wheel-drive (FWD) lap of a car, that is currently in production. The most recent occurings are a rather controversial 6:52,01 of the Lamborghini Huracan Performante (lets face it: it didnt happen) and the Honda Civic Type R which shove a mere 3,4 seconds off of the Golf Clubsport S´s 7:47,19 minutes.
So how do we know, wether the Clubsport S couldn´t achieve such a laptime? Track temperature varies on the vast 20,832 kilometers and can have a huge impact on the laptimes and so does the setup as seen in the video above. A roll cage can unarguably improve handling and traction in every of the 73 twisty bends while damper adjustments or completely new suspension setups can not even be identified through a record-lap video. Divide the 3,4 seconds the Honda was ahead by the number of turns and you get 0,0466 seconds per turn. And taking significantly higher top speeds at the end of the straights into consideration as well makes this number even smaller or lets us even assume that the Golf was faster in the bends while the Civic takes advantage of a shorter gearing.
Obviously, those laptimes are blisteringly fast in their respective cars but even the 918 wasn´t as plug-and-play as you would think. After Walter Röhrl and several other drivers under a Porsche contract had a go with the 918 in the german Eifel, the closest time was not under the 7-minute-barrier. The famous 6:57 was set by Marc Lieb who was jetlacked from his WEC race in Brazil some days earlier. Maybe everything just felt way too slow to him in the 887-hp 918 after stepping out of his 919 Hybrid LMP1 racer. Otherwise it gets hard to explain why someone could find another 3 seconds on one of the most challenging racetracks in the world.
What I´m just trying to say is, that no one can actually guarantee the repeatablity of any lap as a customer in a bone stock production version. That´s why I fully get the purists view on cars. I dont even care anymore which car laps the Nordschleife in how many minutes and seconds because the lack of credibility. Get rid of the seconds and just tell us which area of performance it competes in. Thats all we need to know. Motorsport is showing how genuine a car is built and what it is capable of. As you will see in the last video I added, money can buy some happiness and big numbers, but not the passion and addiction. Hope you enjoy the ride.