All posts in “Nürburgring”

Watch the 2022 BMW M3 Touring Thrash it at the Nurburgring

The new 2022 BMW M3 Touring was filmed while testing on the track and public roads during the Industry Pool at the Nurburgring.

This is the very first time that BMW has offered an M3 Touring. It will come in three trims namely M3 RWD, M3 Competition RWD and M3 Competition xDrive (AWD). A manual gearbox will be available on the RWD models.

The new M3 Touring is rumored to be similar to the M3 in terms of features but bigger in size. Additionally, the new model features a big grille for delivering sufficient air to the powerful engine. Speaking of the engine, the new S58 twin-turbo I6 now develops 473hp and 550nm of torque in standard guise and 503hp and 650nm of torque in competition guise. Top speed is limited to 250km/h but can be increased to 290km/h with the M Driver’s package.

The new M3 Touring will be officially revealed in 2022.

Did the Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series set a new Nurburgring record?

According to well-known YouTube Nürburgring-watcher Misha Charoudin, the Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series likely set a new production car record at the famous German race track. According to the channel’s calculations, the 720-horsepower AMG GT Black Series likely crossed the finish line with around 6:43 showing on the stopwatch. If that’s true it would be a new record, taking top billing away from the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ, which did the deed in 6:44.97. It also wouldn’t be a big surprise, since Mercedes was known to be honing the car at that exact track for years.

Instead of rehashing the great debate about the never-ending quest to set records at the Nürburgring Nordschleife, we’ll just recap a few highlights: Does it matter? Is it repeatable? Is it relevant to actual street performance? Do the mods that make it fast at the ‘Ring make it worse on the road? Now that those are out of the way, let’s add this unqualified statement: ‘Ring records are nothing if not impressive and newsworthy.

If Charoudin’s projected time is accurate — and he’s been on the mark in the past — we expect confirmation from Mercedes-AMG will be coming in short order. Probably with onboard video, and probably with much pomp and circumstance. We look forward to it.

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VW’s ID R Sets A New Nurburgring EV Record

This Is One Fast Battery-Powered Machine

VW’s ID R was already known to be a super-fast car, but now it has further proof. The car obliterated the EV Nurburgring time. It smashed the record by cutting off 40 seconds from the old record. 40 seconds. Good Lord that’s a lot of time. It’s actually the second fastest car ever to make the lap of the racetrack. 

The car manages to lay down a 6:05.3 lap time, which puts the Nio EP9 securely in the rearview. Forget the Nio, the ID R is the new king by a long shot. The only car that’s beaten the ID R’s lap time is the 919 EVO with a time of five minutes and 19 seconds, according to Car Throttle. That means we’ll need to update our list of top Nurburgring lap times.

“For this evolved version of the ID R, the aerodynamic configuration was more strongly adapted to the highest possible speed, rather than maximum downforce,” said François-Xavier Demaison, the program’s tech boss. By not worrying quite so much about downforce, the car was truly able to fly around the racetrack.

The reduction in downforce may have raised top speed, but that would have made the car a little less stable around the corners. Still, it doesn’t seem to have mattered. Romain Dumas, the French racing driver who set the pike’s peak record in the ID R last year, was obviously able to handle it. 

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Aspark Owl to Take on Nürburgring EV Record

Melt Your Face Fast

The Aspark Owl Hypercar comes from Japan, and it appears to be the next big thing in EV Hypercars. The model recorded 0-60 mph times under two seconds in 2018, and now the rumors are that it will take on the Nürburgring lap record for EVs.

According to Top Gear, the Aspark Owl will take on the track’s lap record for electric cars. A spokesperson for the company told the publication, “[The] Aspark Owl performances are allowing us to aim [for] the Nürburgring record.” It’s unclear when the car will attempt its lap run, but it would seem the vehicle has a good chance of making that happen based on its 0-60 mph runs and its other specs. 

Aspark Owl rear three-quarterAspark Owl rear three-quarter
Image from Aspark

The car is simply a performance beast with a countenance like a pissed off alien. The vehicle comes with 1,150 hp and 625 lb-ft of torque. All that power comes from four electric motors, and the vehicle’s battery pack can propel it for up to 180 miles. It has a top speed of 174 mph. 

The Nürburgring will be the true test for the car. While it has to be fast to even come close to the record, the track will test the car from an aerodynamic standpoint and a driving dynamics standpoint. With the Owl being specifically designed as a road car, it may have a hard time at the track.

The current record holder is the Nio EP9, which completed the Nürburgring lap in a super fast 6:45.9 in 2017. The Nio is a track only car. Aspark hasn’t ruled out a track version of its hypercar. A track car may be a smart idea if it’s going to take on the ‘Ring.

Supra’s Chief Engineer Claims a 7:40 Nürburgring Lap Time

Toyota Should Test His Theory

The Nürburgring is the track that sports cars and supercars make their name. If they lap the track fast, they earn a spot in every car enthusiasts list of favorites. The Supra, being the sports car it is will at some point have to make the lap, and when it does, the car’s chief engineer thinks it’ll do the run in 7:40. 

Tetsuya Tada, Supra’s chief engineer, told Road and Track, that the car would hit its 155 mph electronic speed limiter on the course’s long straight. He said the company may at some point cut the speed limiter to see how fast the car could truly be around the racetrack. He also said the car would do a 7:40 lap time as it is right now. 

“But even just driving it as it is, it’s really fast,” he told Road and Track. 

2020 Toyota Supra2020 Toyota Supra
Image from Toyota

The new BMW Z4 has more horsepower but it is heavier and has a soft top. The Supra is based on that car. While BMW has no official time for that car, Sport Auto, a German publication, recently posted a 7:55 lap time in a pre-production version of the Z4. It would be interesting to see how the Supra fared around the same track. 

While it is down on power from the Z4, the Supra’s more aerodynamic hardtop and lighter overall weight could help it achieve a 7:40. The only way to know for sure is if Toyota makes the run. Toyota, get to it. 

Mercedes-AMG One won’t challenge Nurburgring record lap time

In March, Autocar reported that Mercedes-AMG had investigated challenging the outright Nürburgring lap record. Mercedes was said to have studied the fastest two laps, both set by racing driver Stefan Bellof in a Porsche 956, with the intent of setting a new benchmark using the AMG Project One, which will now be called merely the AMG One. Apparently AMG believed it could be done, the hardest part being “finding the right driver.” AMG boss Tobia Moers still believes the One could win the day even after the Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo obliterated the old mark by nearly a minute. But Moers quashed the attempt, telling Australian site Motoring, “Could we beat the Porsche’s ‘Ring time? We could, probably,” then adding, “I just don’t know what we’d do it for.”

Moers admits the Porsche run “was impressive,” and a One victory “would be close.” To give the One a chance at the title, engineers could rework the aero, yank out the air conditioning, and put on different tires. But Moers can’t see the point of a fully homologated production car challenging a race car that’s been upgraded beyond any legal race spec. “Theirs is a racing car that isn’t actually fit to race anywhere, in any class, anywhere. It doesn’t have any rules,” he said. At one point there had been rumor of a track-only version of the One, which might have made more sense to field, but such plans, if there really were any, were axed.

For a quick rundown of the figures, Bellof’s 35-year-old record stood at 6:11.13, set during qualifying for the Nürburgring 1000 KM race. The 956 produced 630 hp in its most powerful guise from a 2.5-liter, twin-turbo V6. The upgraded 919 Hybrid Evo put out not less than 1,160 hp from the combined efforts of its 2.0-liter V4 ICE and electric motor. Having had its aero tweaked and been stripped of its A/C, windshield wipers, and jack system, it averaged 147 miles per hour around the ‘Ring, hitting a top speed of 229 mph, to set a lap time of 5:19.55. We’re still waiting on final specs for the AMG One, but it’s expected to make more than 1,021 horsepower from its 1.6-liter turbocharged V6 and four electric motors, and post a top speed beyond 218 mph.

We can see Moers’ point. Now that the One’s been placed in the ring with the 919 Hybrid Evo, Mercedes takes the biggest risk. If the One doesn’t set a new best lap, it looks like the Mercedes-AMG hypercar lost, and explanations of the lopsided competition won’t get trumpeted as much as the mark in the L column. Every One is already sold, and has given new dimension to the brand a year before the first customer delivery.

And yet, we think the challenge is all the more worthwhile if Moers really believes the AMG One can do it. To have a fully homologated road car from the sporty division of a luxury car brand beat a dedicated, unrestricted effort from the legendary racing division of a legendary sports brand at the world’s most iconic lap-record track? We’d buy tickets to that show.

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Mid-engine Chevy Corvette spied showing off new angles

It’s been some time since we last saw Chevrolet’s upcoming mid-engine Corvette out testing. The last time, it is was a race version at Road America with a gigantic wing. Prior to that, we saw the road-going version launching at the track, and cruising around in traffic. Now, we have new photos from our spies in Germany, and they give us a better look at the upcoming halo car at the Nürburgring.

While still wearing a lot of camouflage, this wrapper is mostly form-fitting, without a lot of the plastic cladding previous testers have been draped in. We can see the car’s pointed nose, with lots of ventilation beneath. The lighting we see likely will change significantly for the production model. We can also see huge air intakes on the sides of the car. Unfortunately, the rear glass is still covered, but it’ll have at least one V8 engine option available, which is rumored to be mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

We expect the mid-engine Corvette will launch next year as a 2020 model. Chevrolet has trademarked the name “Corvette E-Ray,” so there’s possibly an electrified version in our future. We’re not sure if that will likely be applied to the C7 or to the mid-engine Corvette, but we’d love to see either join the recent trend of hybrid supercars like the Mercedes-AMG Project One.

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Watch the Lamboghini Aventador SVJ break the Nurburgring lap record

The revolution will be televised. Lamborghini has posted the video of the Aventador SVJ breaking the Nürburgring lap record. With factory-backed race driver Marco Mapelli behind the wheel and a host of Pirelli engineers in support, the kaleidoscope-colored coupe posted a time of 6:44.97. Apparently the only difference between the production-spec SVJ and the record-setter is the tires: The retail SVJ will come with Pirelli P Zero Corsa rubber, the lap-flyer got shod with what we expect to be optional P Zero Trofeo R hoops. That’s a little more than two seconds faster than the 6:47.3 set by the Porsche 911 GT2 RS — that car having taken the lap record from the Lamborghini Huracán Performante.

Since Lamborghini hasn’t revealed the Aventador SVJ, and won’t until Monterey Car Week in August, we still don’t have details on the special-edition car’s specs. It is clear, however, that the SVJ is lighter and gets more grunt from its 6.5-liter V12 than the 3,836-pound, 740-horsepower Aventador S. We can look forward to a long list of carbon fiber and whiz-bang materials applications, plus info on the carmaker’s tweaked ALA 2.0 active aerodynamics system ported over from the Huracán.

For now, though, the unofficial teasers and the official teasers have been proved. We have high-definition video of what the SVJ is capable of on the German track in the right professional hands, and VBOX telemetry information to go with it. Enjoy.

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Lamborghini Aventador SVJ teased at Nürburgring

We’ve been seeing prototypes and hearing reports about a hopped-up version of the Lamborghini Aventador, but only now have we seen something official from the company. It’s officially called the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ, and the company teased it in the above trailer of the car at the Nürburgring. It gives us our best look yet, and some tidbits about what we’ll hear next about the car.

Let’s first address the looks. The front fascia has been revised with a much deeper chin and a big wing splitting the main air intakes in the front. The side skirts are wider with end caps at the forward sections behind the front wheels. Those wheels have motorsport-style single center nuts. In one of the trailer’s clips, we can see they’re wrapped in Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R tires. It also has the outrageous rear wing we’ve seen in spy shots, and the exhaust also sits high up like on the Huracán Performante. Finally, while not necessarily part of the looks, we get a look at the instrument cluster that reveals this Aventador has a redline of roughly 9,000 rpm.

The other part of the trailer to address is the location. The whole trailer takes place at the Nürburgring, and there’s usually only one reason to make a big deal about that: lap times. Lamborghini already proved it can make some wickedly fast track cars with the Huracán Performante, a car that laps the infamous track faster than any other Lamborghini (so far) and faster than even the Porsche 918 Spyder. We expect the Performante’s left-right split active aerodynamic system will appear on this car. Add to it much more power from the V12, and we have a potential ‘Ring monster. Rumors even suggest the Aventador SVJ will have a lap time of around 6 minutes, 45 seconds, faster than the 911 GT2 RS.

The SVJ will probably be much lighter than other Aventadors, too. The Twitter post that features the trailer says something slightly ambiguous about having “the best weight to power ratio.” We assume that means the best of any Lamborghini.

Since this is a teaser, we’re expecting to see a more full-fledged video in the near future, hopefully with at least lap time, if no other specifications. Also, the fact that Lamborghini is showing this much of the car now is a sign that a full reveal can’t be far away. The Paris Auto Show would be a natural location since it’s early this fall. Stay tuned for more in the near future.

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Aston Martin Valkyrie could beat that new Nurburgring record, Red Bull F1 boss says

During last weekend’s Austrian Formula 1Grand Prix, Race Fans asked Red Bull F1 team principal Christian Horner about the Aston Martin Valkyrie. The question was whether the coming hypercar, a collaboration between Red Bull and title sponsor Aston Martin, could beat the stunning lap record around the Nürburgring just set by the Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo. Horner’s answer: “I’m not sure a Formula 1 car could actually do it, but I think that the Valkyrie — certainly the track version of the Valkyrie — could be a contender.” That’s a qualified endorsement, but it still counts as support merely putting the Valkyrie AMR Pro in the conversation.

Let’s compare, shall we? The 919 Hybrid Evo is based on the 2017 World Endurance Championship-winning 919 Hybrid. Freed from motorsport regulations, Porsche Motorsport upgraded numerous performance bits. The 2.0-liter, turbocharged V-four-cylinder went from 500 hp to 720 hp. The two KERS units went from 400 hp to 440 hp. We don’t have a figure for downforce, but items like active aero, a larger front diffuser, optimized turning vanes, and larger rear wing increased downforce by 53 percent over the WEC car, at the same time being 66 percent more aero efficient. It weighs 849 kg dry, or 1,868 pounds because Porsche threw out everything that didn’t contribute to speed.

The Valkyrie specs we know of so far state a weight of 1,000 kilograms, or 2,200 pounds. Powering that is a custom, naturally aspirated, 6.5-liter AMR Cosworth V12 with more than 900 horsepower, augmented by a kinetic energy recovery system contributing around 230 hp. According to Autocar’s sources, the Valkyrie could generate up to 4,000 pounds of downforce at an aerodynamically-limited 225 miles per hour. That boggling number comes courtesy of Adrian Newey’s prowess at making changes such as openings between the front wheel arches and the cockpit that work the front wing harder. The two-seater coupe’s unrestricted top speed is 254 mph.

Note, though, that the Valkyrie AMR Pro will be more powerful, lighter, and could have even more downforce. And since Aston Martin and Newey continue to work on the hypercar, specs could get even better before deliveries begin. Right now, Horner’s suggestion doesn’t seem all that outrageous.

We’ll also wait to see if the Mercedes-AMG Project One pokes its nose in the ring, too. Not long ago, AMG chief Tobias Moers said it’s “reasonable to speculate” the F1-inspired hypercar could claim an absolute lap record around the ‘Ring. But that was before Porsche went ahead and did it. Even if Aston Martin and Mercedes-AMG don’t put up an official challenge, we’ll probably get an idea of what’s possible when the FIA’s new “Hypercar” class begins racing in 2021.

VIDEO: Porsche Just Absolutely Smashed the Nürburgring Lap Record

Porsche 919 Sets Nurburgring Record – All-Time Fastest Nordschleife Lap Time

You guys all know by now that we’re obsessed with the fastest Nurburgring times and have been publishing the top 100 production cars around Nurburgring for years now. While we won’t be adding this monumental time to our list (since this is clearly not a production car) we can’t not share the news.

WOW, just WOW.

This morning (Friday June 29 2018) Timo Bernhard (D) lapped the 20.832 kilometre (12.94 miles) Nürburgring Nordschleife race circuit in 5 minutes and 19.55 seconds. This results in an average speed of 233.8 km/h (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. 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 for the 1000-kilometre WEC sports car race. Also his average speed was over 200 km/h.

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Porsche 919 Evo to Set Sub 6 Minute Nurburgring Time?

The Porsche 919 Evo has been spotted lapping the Nurburgring recently. Given its domination of Spa earlier this year, rumours are suggesting that the Nurburgring lap time could tumble too!

The overall, fastest time recorded on the famous Nordschleife is a stunning 6:25.91, set in 1983 in the iconic Porsche 956. That record has stood for 35 years, mainly due to the fact that high level racing events no longer take place on the infamous circuit. Those that do, use a different setup, incorporating the GP track.

Rumours are suggesting that Porsche have smashed the lap record on their test run! The rumours suggest that they dipped below the 6 minute mark for the first time in history. Some are even suggesting that the lap time set by the German company was as low as 5 minutes 30 seconds.

As the 919 no longer races in WEC, Porsche were free to redevelop parts without having to conform to any regulation. The 919 Evo is a lap record setting machine!

Earlier this year, Porsche set its first lap record with the 919 Evo at Spa Francorchamps. It stopped the watch at 1:41.770, eclipsing the 1:42.553 lap record set by Lewis Hamilton during the 2017 Spa Grand Prix in the Mercedes-AMG F1 W07.

It remains to be seen what the official time will be. Hopefully Porsche will announce something soon. For now, marvel in these insane video clips caught by spectators track-side!

2019 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera spied at Nurburgring in coupe form

We got one of our best looks at the upcoming 2019 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera when a convertible Volante version was spied testing. This time, we get a preview of the coupe version out at the Nürburgring. For the most part, it looks like that convertible, but with the DB11‘s hard top and floating roof design. There are some other detail changes, though.

The next most obvious difference is the set of wheels on this coupe. The simple, thin, split five-spoke wheels of the Volante have been traded for more aggressive, more overtly styled wheels. They’re still split five-spokes, but more angular and directional. In between the wheels, we see that the rocker panels have been redesigned. There are large openings behind the front wheels, and wide sills extend backward from those openings, eventually merging with the rear fenders.

At the back are yet more differences from the convertible. There’s a much bigger diffuser at the rear bumper. The exhaust tips are now all the same size, instead of the small outboard ones on the Volante. The taillights are more covered up, too, and what we can see appears to be different and more simple than those on the convertible and normal DB11.

Finally, we get our first look at the inside of this new Aston. And it really does just look like the interior from the DB11. But if the exterior changes we’ve seen are any indication, there’s a good chance that the interior could still see some updates.

We won’t have to wait long to see the final product. Aston Martin announced that it would reveal the DBS Superleggera this month. It will be the company’s new flagship sports car, and could have as much as 700 horsepower.

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Video: 2019 Porsche GT3 RS Sets 6min 56s Nurburgring Record

As the 911 type 991 generation is winding to an end and stepping down for a new generation to continue the legacy, Porsche is keen on displaying all that the 991 generation can achieve. Who can blame them, when every car they release under the GT name seems to heighten the benchmark once again? This time, another record crumbles at the feet of a 911 – the latest 911 GT3 RS is the culprit. Despite having only recently made headlines with the vastly powerful GT2 RS that broke lap records and dropped jaws, Porsche makes bending benchmarks and breaking records look easy.

This week, a road legal 911 GT3 RS set a lap time of 6:56.4 minutes with the 520-hp race-bread Porsche at the Nürburgring-Nordschleife circuit. This makes the GT3 RS the third quickest road car to ever lap the Nordschleife, right behind the Lamborghini Huracan Performante and the 911 GT2 RS. Although the GT3 RS may not have broken the track record, some perspective into the story quickly reveals how spectacular this new lap time truly is. The lap time is a whopping 24 seconds quicker than the previous GT3 RS and over 16 seconds quicker than the new GT3. That is some serious time improvement that surely took some major power increases? Leave it up to Porsche to wrench every bit of performance out of a ‘small’ engine: the new GT3 RS only has 20 more horsepower than its predecessor. Most of the time advantage will have come from significant chassis upgrades, including much stiffer springs, and new solid mountings on both the front and rear subframes. The optional Weissach package is likely to improve its performance evermore with additional carbon fiber and stunning magnesium wheels. The tires used were the road-legal Pilot Sport Cup 2 R – optimized especially for track use, the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R is fully compliant with EU and US road-tire requirements.

Andreas Preuninger, Director GT Model Line, commented; “All four lap times of both drivers were below seven minutes and only tenths of a second apart. This proves not only the outstanding power of the GT3 RS, but also its extraordinary driveability at the limit. A perfectly composed overall system allows for highly dynamic performance even with a relatively modest engine power. For a driver, each of the car’s thousands of parts have to feel like one – that’s an unbeatable strength of the GT3 RS.”

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The 911 GT3 RS has a 520 horsepower, four-litre, high- speed naturally aspirated engine had its world premiere at the Geneva Motor Show in early March this year. The car accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.2 seconds, reaching a top speed of 312 km/h. Although it was never thought to run a sub-7 minute time at the ring, it’s performance only highlights the spectacularism.

Chasing Down a Mercedes-AMG GTR in a Porsche 991 GT3 RS VS at Nurburgring

Quick race on a half Nurburgring lap, the Mercedes-AMG GTR was on the rear from the beginning and Porsche 991 GT3 RS just let it pass to see how this beautiful car works and yeah it works well! Lap time in 7.33 btg with big traffic and yellow flag at the beginning of the track.

AMG Project One could claim Nurburgring lap time record, says AMG boss

Speaking to Autocar, typically understated AMG head honcho Tobias Moers said it’s “reasonable to speculate” that the Mercedes-AMG Project One would take the absolute lap record at the Nürburgring. That means he’s not talking about beating the 6:47.25 lap the Porsche 911 GT2 RS set last September. Nor is he talking about the 6:43.22 lap the McLaren P1 XP1 LM Prototype set in May 2017. Apparently Moers means beating one of two lap records set 35 years ago, both of them by Stefan Bellof in a Rothmans Porsche 956.

During qualifying for the 1983 Nürburgring 1000 KM, Bellof ran the 20.832-kilometer Nordschleife in 6:11.13. In the race that weekend, Bellof clocked a 6:25.91. Moers wouldn’t divulge anything else about the Project One ‘Ring attempt, but Autocar says AMG has studied both of Bellof’s lap records in detail, and the biggest challenge to making the dream come true is “finding the right driver.”

The Porsche 956 and the AMG Project One have a few things in common. The Project One exists as a result of Formula 1, Porsche used a 956 chassis as testbed for the TAG-branded F1 engine that would power McLaren to three F1 Driver’s Championships and two Constructors Championships. The 956 and Project One specialize in aero; the 956 was one of the first Group C racers to employ ground effects aero, the even sleeker Project One will generate aero downforce equal to half the car’s body weight. Regarding technology transfer from racing to road cars, the 1982 Porsche 956 switched to digital fuel injection that used less fuel but maintained horsepower and increased torque, and the 1983 Porsche 956 was the first race car to use a double-clutch transmission. The Project One represents the wholesale transfer of F1 tech to road use.

Where the two differ greatly are amenities and power. The 956 needed “the strength of a bear and a lot of courage” to drive, and Bellof’s 956 made around 630 hp in its most powerful guise from a 2.5-liter, twin-turbo V6. Moers said the 1.6-liter V6 hybrid power unit in the Project One is already showing 1,000 horsepower on the dyno, and will probably come in somewhere closer to 1,100 hp by the time customers take delivery.

That sounds like plenty of firepower to lay on the target, but there’s a reason Bellof’s record has stood for so long that some believe it won’t ever be broken. The 956 was so fast that when Bellof’s teammate, Derek Bell, ran a practice lap with camera equipment for a TV segment, Bell did a 6:47 — and got passed by a screaming Jacky Ickx on a qualifying lap in another 956. No one’s been within 30 seconds of Bellof’s qualifying time since 1983.

If AMG does find “the right driver” and the Project One is the right car, said driver will not only cut a fat hunk of time off the nearest comparable benchmark, that of the McLaren P1 Prototype, he (or she) will shame everything else out there. In a car with an airbag, infotainment system, and a phone charger. Stay tuned.

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2018 Lamborghini Huracán Performante Second Drive | The Lambo of the moment

Down the front straight, past the pits, over the start/finish line, sixth gear at 140 mph. Suddenly, the shrieking wail of the 2018 Lamborghini Huracán Performante’s mid-mounted V-10 and hits me right between the eyes. It’s an easy shot, since I’m wearing an open-face helmet.

Speed is not a problem for the Performante. This new lighter and more powerful version of the Huracán is the best-performing Lambo of all time. It just set the new production-car record around the Nürburgring Nordschleife of 6 minutes, 52.1 seconds. That’s 35 seconds quicker than the standard Huracán. And Lambo says it can accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in 2.9 seconds, which is as quick as the Aventador S. Its 202-mph top speed still lags the top end of the V-12-powered Aventador by 15 mph, but does it really matter?

Completely flat, smooth as glass and just 1.8 miles around, Thermal’s South Palm Circuit isn’t exactly the Nordschleife, but the bathrooms are much fancier. Built in 2014, the luxurious Thermal Motorsports Club outside of Palm Springs, Calif., is an ideal facility for us to taste the 2018 Huracán Performante. If owners of the $274,390 supercar want a safe and controlled environment to wring out their new toy, chances are it will be at private amusement parks such as this.

2018 Lamborghini Huracan Performante

In the age of twin-turbos, the Huracán’s naturally aspirated V10 is a (glorious) anachronism. In the Performante, it has been cranked up to 640 hp at 8,000 rpm and 442 lb-ft of torque at 6,500 rpm, a 30-hp and 40-lb-ft increase over the standard all-wheel-drive model, and it’s all above 6,000 rpm.
Displacement remains 5.2 liters, but Lambo’s engineers added lighter titanium intake valves, more aggressive camshafts, a less-restrictive air intake and a lighter freer-flowing exhaust system. The engine’s compression ratio remains a stratospheric 12.7:1, and it runs into a very aggressive rev limiter at 8,500 rpm.

The Performante is 88 pounds lighter than the standard Huracán Coupe thanks to liberal use of the company’s patented Forged Composite, which it calls the lightest, strongest and most innovative material ever used by Lamborghini. Chopped fibers embedded in a matrix of resins, it’s sort of like carbon fiber 2.0, although its finish looks like high-tech camo with golden flecks. It’s all over the Performante, including its massive rear spoiler, rear bumper and diffuser, front spoiler and its engine cover, which weights 21 percent less than the piece it replaced. Inside you see more Forged Composite on the dash, doors and console.

Lambo also stiffened up the Performante’s suspension by 10 percent, the sway bars are 15 percent more aggressive and the A-arm bushings are 50 percent stiffer. But the coolest piece of the Performante, and what’s really going to wow the crowd at local Cars and Coffee, is the new active aerodynamics system.
Officially called Aerodynamica Lamborghini Attive (ALA), the patented system opens and closes a flap in the front spoiler depending on conditions. When closed, the spoiler creates downforce for high-speed cornering and full brake conditions. When the small electric motor opens the flaps, which takes 0.2 second, it redirects the airflow through an internal channel and the underside of the car. This reduces drag, increasing acceleration and top speed.

2018 Lamborghini Huracan Performante

The fully automatic system also controls two internal ducts connected to inner channels of the rear wing. When the flaps are closed, the fixed rear wing works in a traditional manner, creating downforce and aiding cornering and braking. Lambo says it generates 750 percent more vertical downforce than the wingless standard Huracán Coupe.

In high-throttle conditions, ALA opens the flaps, which routes the air through the rear wing’s inner channels and through ridges underneath the wing, reducing drag. But here’s the cool part: The air channel is split left and right and the flaps work independently, allowing aero vectoring for high-speed cornering. The ALA system can increase downforce and traction on the inside wheel, counteracting the natural cornering forces.

After 10 laps, it’s hard not to be madly in love with this ridiculously antisocial supercar. Lambo says it weighs 3,047 pounds dry, and out on the track it feels small and light. Not exactly Miata miniature, but it’s tossable and it likes to turn on the brakes. It also understeers a bit on power out just to keep you alive, but it will drift if you chuck it in and get back on the power quickly. Do it, it’s also easy to catch with a small amount of counter steer.

Our codriver agrees. Sinya Sean Michemi races a Huracán in Lamborghini’s Blancpain Super Trofeo North America. “Compared to the original Huracán, it feels quite a bit less understeery,” he yells over the Performante’s screaming V-10, which is mounted just inches behind our heads.

2018 Lamborghini Huracan Performante2018 Lamborghini Huracan Performante2018 Lamborghini Huracan Performante2018 Lamborghini Huracan Performante

Most of the corners on this circuit are handled in second gear, although there are two good, long straights where we touch sixth gear and get to enjoy the upper-rpm pull and full song of the big V-10. The straights also reveal the silky and rapid gear changes from the Lambo’s dual-clutch 7-speed, which Lambo geared perfectly to keep that goddess of an engine above 6,000 rpm.

There’s also a three-apex right-hander with a fast third-gear entry at the end of the backstraight. It’s the most challenging section of the track, and the Performante’s stability is impressive as we enter hard on the brakes and drop it down to second to finish the corner hard on the power. It’s massive 20-inch Pirelli P Zero Corsa’s are incredibly forgiving, and the compliance of the suspension over the track’s tall curbing is a nice surprise.

It’s almost stupid how easy it is to drive this car fast. The Huracán’s gargantuan cross-drilled carbon-ceramic brakes are foolproof, with telepathic pedal feel and awesome heat resistance even after constant lapping on a 100-degree day. There was a time not too many years ago that Lamborghini brakes would have caught fire and failed under such conditions.

2018 Lamborghini Huracan Performante

Lamborghini’s ANIMA system offers three modes: Strada, Sport and Corsa. In Strada, Lambo says traction and stability are prioritized, and it’s easy to find the point at which its electronic watchdogs step in on the track. In Sport, the all-wheel-drive system offers a more rear-wheel-drive bias, and the stability control system loosens up enough for some light rotation. Also, the transmission will upshift for you, even in manual mode. In Corsa, the transmission is completely manual, and the stability control allows for plenty of oversteer.

Lamborghini says demand for the Performante is high. However, buyers should know that there’s a Spyder version coming and it’s sure to steal thunder from this hardtop, especially in the States.

But the Performante’s real issue is Lamborghini’s new SUV, which will begin to overshadow the supercar the instant it is unveiled on Dec. 4. The much-anticipated Urus is the Italian automaker’s most important new product since the Countach in 1974, and according to Alessandro Farmeschi, the COO of Lamborghini North America, it’ll double the company’s production when it goes on sale next year.

When that bomb drops, the Huracán Performante will no longer be the Lambo of the moment. Its 15 minutes will be up. Hell, that game clock is already ticking. But until then, let’s enjoy the Performante for what it is: Lamborghini’s best sports car ever. It’s a masterpiece—a masterpiece with unfortunate timing.

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Viper fans are at the Nurburgring to reclaim production-car speed record

With the outgoing generation of the Viper, Dodge missed a fabulous opportunity to set another Nürburgring lap record. The company did it, twice, with the previous-generation Viper ACR, but never went back with the latest ACR, and it definitely won’t now that the car is being discontinued. This is why a group of Viper fans began fundraising back in January to take ACRs to the ‘Ring for one more shot at glory. And, right now, that group is in Germany preparing for the attempt.

The team made it thanks to support from GoFundMe donors, and sponsorship from Kumho Tires and Prefix, a design and prototype company based in Michigan. They’re using two Viper ACR GTS-R commemorative-edition cars, which are appropriate for competing track cars since they have the same white-with-blue-stripes color scheme as Dodge’s old Viper GTS-R racecars. The cars are supplied from ViperExchange and BJ Motors and equipped with Kumho Ecsta V720 tires.

According to the group’s Facebook page, the team has been practicing since Wednesday, July 19. A video posted today highlighted that the only mechanical issue so far has been an overheating problem that was solved with a new thermostat. Each car is running a different suspension setup for practice – one soft, the other hard – and they’ll adjust them as needed. The plan is that both cars will use the same setup on the record attempt. To claim the record without any argument will require beating the 6:45.9 time set by the Nio EP9 electric car. Right behind it is the Radical SR8LM, which is technically street-legal, but not really a street car. It set a time of 6:48. As for true street cars with gasoline engines, the target the Viper team will really want to beat is the Lamborghini Huracan Performante, which pulled off a time of 6:52. You can track the team’s progress at its Facebook page.

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Watch the 1,500-hp Bugatti Chiron engine thrashing in a test rig

Making sure the Bugatti Chiron is “Ring-Proof” takes a lot of testing. This rig, built by Bugatti’s engineering and testing partner AVL-Schrick, demonstrates the hypercar’s heart beating wildly while it’s subjected to the g-forces it would experience on the Nürburgring. The footage was tweeted by James Mills of The Sunday Times.

Oil starvation is one of the key issues a car manufacturer has to tackle when making sure its product can withstand track time. For example, the Group B rally car derived all-aluminum XU9J4 engine in the first edition of the Peugeot 405 Mi16 suffers from oil starvation in prolonged track use in long corners. Due to insufficient oil pan baffling, the engine oil isn’t evenly distributed when g-forces work their magic. By the time the 2.0-liter iron block XU10 version of the engine was rolled out in the facelifted car, the oil pan featured specially designed ports and baffles that restricted the oil’s movement, making the engines less susceptible to crankshaft damage when driven spiritedly on a track.

But in that case we’re talking about a 150-horsepower car, and the quad-turbocharged, W16-engined Chiron has 10 times as much power. When it was new, the engine in the $20,000 Peugeotreportedly cost the manufacturer nearly $5000 to produce, per unit. One imagines the Bugatti engines are far, far more expensive, and damaging one at a race track due to a manufacturer oversight must be a nightmare, hence this specially designed rig to iron out any Chiron bugs.

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Lamborghini: We did not cheat on Nurburgring record

“Why would we [cheat]? We have all the data, all the GPS data. It’s verified. It’s already verified.” – Lamborghini CEO Stefano Domenicali

Lamborghini is doubling-down on the legitimacy of the Huracan Performante’s production-car record at the Nürburgring.

The Italian supercar maker should have been on a high when it launched its Huracan Performante at the Geneva Motor Show, but it was instead forced to defend the 6:52.01 lap time on the Nürburgring’s Nordschleife circuit in the wake of criticism.

Skeptics suggested the footage had been sped up from a rate of 24 frames per second to 25, arguing the ‘authentic’ lap time would have been closer to 7:08. James Glickenhaus, the owner of ultra-low volume supercar maker Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus, even called for the circuit to hold a special day to verify production car lap times.

“Why would we [cheat]?” Lamborghini CEO Stefano Domenicali asked incredulously. “We have all the data, all the GPS data. It’s verified. It’s already verified.

“The simulation we did before we did the lap was already better than the previous time [set by Porsche’s hybrid supercar, the 918 Spyder].

“What we saw was the great potential of active aerodynamics. The Nürburgring is a lot of partial throttle and long corners. The SV [Aventador] was for sure faster on the straight, but the lap [by the Performante] was all recorded.”

A Lamborghini spokesman suggested the entire controversy was rooted in “one blogger’s business model [of] paying for clicks.”

Audi Sport development head, Stephan Reil, also weighed in during last week’s Audi RS3 launch, insisting Lamborghini would have had no reason to cheat at anything and that its active aerodynamics would have more than made up for any power shortfalls. Audi is a sister brand of Lamborghini under the ownership of Volkswagen Group.

“We also know that architecture well [the Huracan shares its architecture with Reil’s R8]. We know what it’s capable of,” Reil said. “The Performante ‘Ring time is absolutely credible. Active aero makes a huge difference.

“We did a TT production racer for the ‘Ring with about 380 horsepower and gave it maximum wing. It was so slow down the straight that everybody passed it, but the overall lap time was very, very fast. Much faster than without the aero downforce. So I know how much real aero downforce gives you, and Lamborghini worked out how to get it without paying for it down the straights.”

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