Currently reading: Fastest-ever Nurburgring lap times: the definitive rundown
The Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo holds the outright lap record at the Nurburgring, but what about record holders in other categories?
Tom Morgan, deputy digital editor
News
11 mins read
24 June 2021

The Nürburgring is the ultimate test track for developing new cars, whether they are out-and-out supercars or more modest hot hatches.

The challenge posed by the circuit and the variety of corners along the 13-mile course gives car makers unparalleled insight into where their machines work best, as well as where they need to improve.

As such, a Nürburgring lap record is something of an accolade for a manufacturer, and several have spent years honing their machines around the Nordschleife in the hope of being crowned the fastest of all.

These record laps can be divided between several different types of car. Take a look below to see the quickest lap times in all the major categories.

Fastest road-legal lap around the Nürburgring

 

1 - Porsche 911 GT2 RS - 6:43:30

Guided by Porsche works driver Lars Kern, the Porsche 911 GT2 RS completed a lap of the Nürburgring in 6 minutes 43.30 seconds, breaking the previous record by 4.747 seconds with an average speed of 115.5mph.

The GT2 RS was equipped with the Manthey Performance Kit, with changes to the chassis, aerodynamics and brakes, all of which have been specifically designed for the car. The kit also extends to additional flaps on the front spoiler, a carbon underbody and additional air guide elements around the front wheels. At the back of the car, there’s a new spoiler, a modified diffuser and aero discs on the wheels, overall increasing front downforce from 49 to 70kg at 124mph, and from 93 to 200kg at the rear.

2 - Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series - 6:43:62

The ultimate version of Mercedes-AMG's flagship (for now) two-seater took the production lap record crown from the Aventador SVJ by just over 1.3sec. The 720bhp model, driven by the brand's GT3 racing driver Maro Engel, was unmodified from stock bar the addition of the optional Track package. The adjustable aero, camber and suspension were all optimised for the track, but Mercedes claims conditions were "less than ideal" due to low temperatures and some damp patches. This means another attempt could be in the works down the line. 

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3 - Lamborghini Aventador SVJ - 6:44:97

Lamborghini used active aerodynamic upgrades to transform its Aventador supercar into a record-smashing track weapon, letting the V12-powered Aventador SVJ break the Nürburgring record for a production car with a 6:44:97 lap time. That knocked the Porsche 911 GTS RS down into second place at the time, claiming a win for the Italians.

4 – Porsche 911 GT2 RS – 6:47:25

The 690bhp 911 GT2 RS blasted around the 'Ring seven-tenths of a second faster than the Radical SR8LM, making it the fastest rear-drive production car to lap the infamous Nordschleife at the time.

5 – Radical SR8LM – 6:48:28

The Radical SR8LM had held the lap record since 2009, when it lapped in just 6min 48sec in the hands of Michael Vergers, until it was dislodged by the Porsche GT2 RS. The king may be dead, but the Radical still holds a place in the top five. Vergers was driving the car just 24 hours after it was driven from England to Germany for the record. Controversially, the SR8LM only has British single-vehicle approval, not full type-approval, and so there's some debate as to whether it qualifies as a street-legal record.

6 – Lamborghini Huracán Performante - 6:52:01

Next is the Lamborghini's Huracán Performante, which lapped the 12.9-mile Nordschleife in a hair over 6min 52sec. 

7 – Radical SR8 - 6:55:00

The SR8's 2.6-litre V8 engine develops 360bhp and broke the Nürburgring record in 2005. This model was also driven by Michael Vergers. Like the SR8LM, it only has single-vehicle approval in the UK, rather than full type-approval, which has led some outlets to exclude it from production car record lists.

8 - Porsche 911 GT3 RS (991.2) - 6:56:04

The 992.1 generation GT3 RS was prepped with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R tyres, an audio system deleted to save weight, and Weissach package (all OEM options, of course) for its attempt to loop the Green Hell. It worked, with Porsche driver Kevin Estre managing to outrun the mighty 918 Spyder hybrid supercar by almost a full second.

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9 – Porsche 918 Spyder- 6:57:00

The 918 Spyder has carbonfibre construction, a hybrid powertrain and a suspension set-up donated by a prototype racing car. It has a top speed of 214mph.

10 – 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 2.8sec.

11 - Ferrari 488 Pista - 7:00:03

A privateer attempt by German publication Sport Auto saw Ferrari's track-ready 488 Pista lap the circuit in almost seven minutes dead.

Front-wheel-drive Nürburgring lap records

1 - 2019 Renault Mégane RS Trophy-R - 7:40:10 

Packing the 1.8-litre turbocharged unit from the already-snorting RS 300 Trophy, Renault's new limited-edition flagship hot hatch took the FWD record (before it had even been revealed) in April 2019. The model owes its celebrity status to a 130kg weight reduction, aerodynamic tweaks and reworked axle components over the 'standard' model on which it is based. 

2 – 2017 Honda Civic Type R - 7:43:80

Honda snatched the front-drive Nürburgring lap record back from the Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S less than a year after the German opposition took it from the previous-generation Civic Type R. It's got 316bhp – 10bhp more than both the Golf and the previous-generation Civic Type R.

3 – 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, and 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.

4 – 2015-2016 Honda Civic Type R - 7:50:63

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The previous-generation Honda Civic Type R also held 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. 

5 – Renault Mégane 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.

Four-wheel-drive Nürburgring lap records

1 - Lamborghini Aventador SVJ - 6:44:97

Lamborghini proved you don't need an electric powertrain with instant torque delivery to break records. The naturally aspirated Aventador SVJ achieved a blistering time of 6:44:97, thanks to some clever aero upgrades evolved from the Huracán Performante.

2 - Nio EP9 - 6:45:90

When it claimed the electric record, the Nio EP9 also earned first 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 - but now settles for the silver medal in light of the SVJ's record-smashing time. Four inboard electric motors power all four wheels, and the car's total power output is 1360bhp. Only bespoke tyres used for the attempt kept it off the production car leaderboards, where it would otherwise sit in second place.

3 - Lamborghini Huracán 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 record holder before the Nio EP9's second attempt, and is more than 50 seconds ahead of the Civic Type R's front-wheel-drive record. It's now third overall in the four-wheel-drive category.

4 - 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, and then two Lamborghinis. It first set the record in 2012, wearing nothing more extreme than its track-friendly Weissach package and a set of road tyres.

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5 - 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 helped it to grab the title.

Rear-wheel-drive Nürburgring lap records

1. Porsche 911 GT2 RS - 6:43:30

The Porsche 911 GT2 RS set a new rear-wheel record with a lap of 6 minutes 43.30 seconds, breaking the Merc’s previous record by 4.747 seconds. It was equipped with the Manthey Performance Kit, with changes to the chassis, aerodynamics and brakes. It also gained additional flaps on the front spoiler, a carbon underbody and additional air guide elements, with a new spoiler amd diffuser.

2 - Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series - 6:43:62

The ultimate version of Mercedes-AMG's 720bhp flagship was unmodified from stock bar the addition of the optional Track package. The adjustable aero, camber and suspension were all optimised for the track, but Mercedes claims conditions were "less than ideal" due to low temperatures and some damp patches. 

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3 - Porsche 911 GT2 RS - 6:47:30

 Porsche has blasted its 911 GT2 RS around the circuit just shy of a second quicker than long-time champion, the Radical SR8LM. 

4 - Radical SR8LM - 6:48:28

Whether or not it counts as a production car given the questions over its UK single-vehicle approval, there's no doubt the Radical's blistering time is impressive. That power is only being sent to the rear wheels makes it all the more so.

5 - Radical SR8 - 6:55:00

In fact, Radical has two cars in the rear-drive top five, the other being the SR8. 

6 - Porsche 911 GT3 RS (991.2) - 6:56:04

Porsche's old-school approach to record setting saw few tweaks required to the GT3 RS, with only a racing bucket seat and harness chosen from the options list along with the weight-saving Weissach package.

7 - Mercedes-AMG GT R Pro - 7:04:06

It may not pack any more power than the standard model, but stiffer suspension and a downforce-enhancing bodykit help the Pro to lap the Nordschleife more than six seconds quicker. 

Electric Nürburgring lap records

1 - Volkswagen ID R - 6:05:336

Volkswagen's purpose-built ID R racer followed up a historic victory at Pikes Peak by becoming the fastest electric car ever to lap the Green Hell. Driver Romain Dumas took the heavily modified single-seater around the 'Ring 40 seconds quicker than the previous record holder, and blitzed the historical record set by Porsche's Stefan Bellof in the process. 

2 - Nio EP9 - 6:45:90

Nio's EP9 stormed into the history books when the electric supercar initially took the electric 'Ring record for the second time, smashing its previous time by almost 20 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.

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3 - Tesla Model S Plaid - 7:30:91

Elon Musk is never one to pass up on an opportunity for some publicity, so the Tesla CEO took to the digital airwaves to proclaim the Model S Plaid the EV production lap record holder. According to Musk on twitter, the new 1006bhp range-topper lapped the 12.8-mile Nordschleife circuit in 7mins 30.909secs - 12 seconds quicker than the previous record lap set by the Porsche Taycan Turbo in 2019. The Tesla's average speed was 103mph. 

4 - 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 800lb ft certainly helped it attain the title, and what's more, it managed to claim the crown in road-legal tyres. 

4 - 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 more than 12 seconds. Its 740bhp and 737lb ft certainly gave it the required shove.

5 - Audi R8 E-tron - 8:09:09

The Audi R8 E-tron held first place on the electric 'Ring record charts for almost a year before Mercedes' SLS AMG Electric Drive came along; the R8 set its 8:09:09 time in July 2012. It had around half the power of the Mercedes, at 376bhp, but had less of a torque deficit, producing 605lb ft. 

Fastest-ever recorded Nürburgring laps

1 - Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo - 5:19:546

When it derestricted its Le Mans-winning 919 Hybrid prototype racer and sent it on a farewell tour of iconic race tracks before pulling out of endurance racing, smashing the all-time fastest lap of the Nordschleife was all Porsche had in mind.

The car was 39kg lighter than its race spec, with radically reworked aerodynamics that improved downforce by 53%. The 2.0-litre V4 hybrid powertrain was tuned to produce 710bhp, with an additional 433bhp coming from an electric motor.

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With Porsche works driver Timo Bernhard behind the wheel, the 919 Evo proceded to obliterate the all-time lap record, first setting a 5:24:375 in practice and then a 5:19:546 in an official run.

2 - Volkswagen ID R - 6:05:336

It's a real achivement that Volkswagen has not only managed to claim the fastest lap time in an electric car with its ID R programme, but also place among the fastest-ever recorded. It has subsequently gone on to set records at the Goodwood Festival of Speed hillclimb and China's Tianmen Shan Big Gate Road, while the technology it pioneered will go on to influence R division's electric road cars.

3 - Porsche 956 - 6:11:13

Previously the absolute Nürburgring lap record holder, the Porsche 956, driven by the late Stefan Bellof in qualifying for the 1983 1000km Nürburgring race, set a target that would hold for more than three decades. Due to construction of the Nürburgring's Formula 1 circuit, that race was the only time top-level Le Mans sports cars race on the 12.9-mile Nordschleife layout.

The 956 driven by Bellof, then 25, was powered by a 2.65-litre flat six that produced more than 620bhp and featured a ground effect downforce-producing underbody.

In qualifying, Bellof's goal was to beat fellow Porsche driver Jochen Mass's best lap (see below). Aided by new 13in front wheels, he flew, despite claiming he made two mistakes and was baulked 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.

It remains the fastest car to lap the Nürburgring solely on combustion power.

4 - Porsche 956 - 6:16:85

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The 956 holds the fourth-fastest overall 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. 

5 - Porsche 956 - 6:25:91

Just to drive the point home, the 956 also set the fifth-fastest time and, yes, this too was at the 1983 1000km Nürburgring. It was Bellof this time (again), mind.  

READ MORE 

How to break a Nürburgring lap record

Porsche smashes all-time Nürburgring record - with video

The fastest cars around the Autocar handling circuit

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Norman Taylor 18 March 2021

What about lap times for a Ford Transit van?Is the late Sabine Schmitz still the record holder?

berkorich 25 November 2020

Erm, how come 911 GT2RS is still listed as fastest rear-wheel drive record? Surely AMG-GT Black just eclipsed that as well as overall production car.

elosga 16 October 2019

Ring Time and vehicles

The ring has some interesting challenges. It's long and has various types of turns and straights, but your question is vague because potential is very subjective. Faster on the Ring might not mean better road car, better track car, better fun car or faster car. It just means a car is faster on the Ring.

Some cars tuned to go fast on the Ring make them shittier daily cars.