Benny couldn’t work it out. He’d rocked up at the Nürburgring – yes, sorry, going to dwell on the place just once more, will try not to make a habit of it – and driven the crackers off a Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S around the place. He’d pulled back in, looked at a stopwatch and discovered that he was about seven or eight seconds slower than he should have been.
Which is an unusual situation if you’re Benjamin Leuchter, a racing driver who, like most of them, has an unfaltering confidence in how fast he is. I haven’t yet met a racing driver who doesn’t believe they’re as quick as the driver next to them. But in this case there was no one next to him except an engineer, with a stopwatch, saying: “Sorry mate, no lap record today.”
See, Leuchter is not only a man whose surname Google translates to ‘chandelier’ but also the man VW had tasked with going as fast as he could around the Nordschleife – and doing a bit of handling development while he was at it – as it tried to wrestle the front-drive production car lap record from… I don’t know, from whoever had it at the time. Honda, I think, with a Civic Type R.
Honda had nabbed it from Seat, which had a Leon with some bits on. And Seat had taken it from Renault (pictured below), which made a hot hatch with no rear seats and asked a fella who used to rallycross 2CVs, and was therefore adept at maintaining corner speeds, to drive it.