To break the Nüburgring lap record you need several unique circumstances. A fast car, good weather, a clear track and also some luck. But more than anything you need a very, very brave driver.
Marco Mapelli is just that.
The 29-year-old racing driver recently proved that he’s Italy’s own Nürburgring master, smashing the production car lap record in a Lamborghini Huracán Performante despite it being a massive 234bhp down on the previous fastest car, the Porsche 918 Spyder.
Not only was Mapelli’s 6min 52sec lap 5sec quicker than the hybrid hypercar, it was also 7sec faster than he’d managed in an Aventador SV in 2015, even though the featherweight Huracán’s 631bhp V10 is down on its larger sibling’s V12 by 109bhp.
“The Performante was faster than the Aventador because it’s lighter and less demanding on the tyres,” he explains to Autocar. “The SV overheated its tyres quickly and they suffered quite a lot, but with the Performante you can keep the performance all through the lap.”
As Mapelli’s onboard footage shows (view it below), there were no signs of him backing off during the timed 11.9 miles from the Nürburgring's Bridge to Gantry markers. He said the car was so composed over the course of the run that “corner speed was much, much more than the Aventador SV, even though we lost on the straights”.
The Performante was 14mph down on its bigger sibling along the ‘Ring’s fastest straight, reaching 188mph to the SV’s 202mph. But traction was so good that Mapelli could spend more time at full throttle, including when the car was flying. Literally.
“You can have 1000bhp but if you keep sliding then the problems come,” he says. “You can have a €1 million car, but if you’re not able to use it on the Nordschleife, you won’t go as fast. Even when you jump and you are in the air in the Performante, the car is flat, which means we can stay on the power more."
Mapelli also said the Huracán's more advanced Pirelli Trofeo R tyres – which have the benefit of arriving two years after the Aventador's boots – and more efficient aerodynamics enabled him to keep up momentum.
“You can really feel the downforce,” he says. “With the Avendator you can feel it but you had more drag. When you drive the Performante on the Nordschleife it feels like a race car."
Mapelli and Lamborghini knew the car had pace, but he admits to being relieved when the lap record was broken. “There was a big pressure from the top to get the top performance from the car,” he says.
Despite his monumental effort, Mapelli says the Performante is an easy car to drive on the limit. He humbly states that anyone could go fast in it at the ‘Ring. I'm not so sure I could.
A lucky few customers may be able to find out for themselves, because Mapelli confirms that the car on sale will run with exactly the same mechanical and chassis setups as the one he drove.
Would you dare to be as committed as Mapelli at the Green Hell? Watch the video below and decide for yourself...