Comprehensive guide to Nurburgring lap records

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Car makers love trying to set new world records at the Nurburgring, carving faster lap times than ever before. This is a comprehensive list of the fastest times from manufacturers around the Nurburgring Nordschleife in Germany, from production models to electric racing cars.

Germany’s Nurburgring race track is worshipped by petrolheads around the world and many make the pilgrimage in their own cars on track days. But the appeal of the ‘Green Hell’ extends to manufacturers as well. New cars are often tested and developed on the Nordschliefe circuit with anything from supercars to hot hatchbacks aiming to topple Nurburgring records.

The 20.5km Nurburgring Nordschleife circuit features some of the most challenging stretches of tarmac in the world, and with almost 1000 feet of elevation change in a dense pine forest, squeezing every last tenth out of a flying lap is a task best reserved for the elite.

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With the reputation of some performance cars riding heavily on ‘Ring times, the Nurburgring lap time is a valuable currency in the eyes of car brands and consumers so we’ve seen various companies claim Nordschleife records for everything from the aforementioned hot hatches and SUVs to ‘4-door cars’, wagons and electric cars.

Whatever you think of this practice, the Nurburgring’s profile in the car world shows no sign of waning and we’ve got details of all the fastest cars of each type at the ‘ring below…

Top ten fastest Nurburgring lap times by production cars

The prominence of the front-wheel drive lap record may have risen in recent times, but the real kings of the ‘Ring are the machines challenging for the overall production car mark. These days, it’s never long after the covers have been pulled back off a new hypercar or extreme track weapon that the question of Nurburgring potential is asked.

1 – Mercedes-AMG One

Lap time – 6:35.183s

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Mercedes-AMG’s F1-engined road-going hypercar is the latest hybrid to take on the infamous 20.6km track and obliterate the previous record holder. The One is powered by a seemingly tiny 1.6-litre V6 petrol engine, but the unit is based on Formula 1 technology and works in tandem with four electric motors to produce a mind-blowing 771kW. As a result of this immense power and some highly-skilled driving by Maro Enge, the Merc managed a truly blistering time of 6:35.183 – just over eight seconds faster than the previous production ‘king of the ‘Ring’.

Mercedes claims that the car used for this record-breaking run was technically identical to the standard version, and had the “Race Plus” driving mode engaged.

2 – Porsche 911 GT2 RS Manthey-Racing

Lap time – 6:43.300s

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Porsche is no stranger to setting lap records at the Nurburgring. The German manufacturer currently holds the outright lap record with its monstrous 919 Hybrid setting a scarcely believable time of 5:19:55s. Porsche and race team Manthey Racing have previously set a blistering 6:40 lap time around the ‘Ring, but although that car was road legal, the specification it ran to complete that lap time was for track-use only. So, Porsche, Manthey-Racing and development driver and racer Lars Kern gave it another go with another tuned 911 GT2 RS and ended up beating the production car record with a 6:43.300.

3 – Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series

Lap time – 6:43.616s

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The Black Series is the most focused and powerful evolution of the Mercedes-AMG GT with extra aerodynamic downforce to help the uprated twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 put down its 537kW.

Mercedes says all of the components fitted to the lap-setting car can be fitted to the road car, but AMG engineers were on hand to adjust the aero and chassis settings to optimise the Black Series for the particular strains that the Green Hell places on a car. Given the Black Series moniker usually denotes the most extreme performance version of an AMG Mercedes, this record is unlikely to be topped by an even more powerful AMG GT but who knows, Mercedes could bring it back for another go.

4 – Lamborghini Aventador SVJ

Lap time – 6:44.97s

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Having seen the Huracan Performante dethroned in September 2017, Lamborghini took less than a year to reclaim the lap record at the Nurburgring. This time they snatched it with the Aventador SVJ, which lowered the benchmark to a 6:44.97s, more than two seconds faster than the GT2 RS, thanks to its 567kW version of Lambo’s 6.5-litre V12.

The Aventador SVJ is based on the Aventador SV, which itself has lapped the Nurburgring in less than seven minutes, hitting 6:59.73s in 2015.

5 – Porsche 911 GT2 RS

Lap time – 6:47.3s

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Porsche said it was targeting a lap time in the region of 7:05s when it first conceived the 911 GT2 RS. But it absolutely smashed that figure, and knocked the Lamborghini Huracan Performante off its perch with a blistering record run of 6:47.3 at the hands of test driver Lars Kern in late 2017

The standard Porsche 911 GT2 RS completed the lap on Michelin Pilot Cup 2 tyres, and although these were developed specifically for this model, they are both road legal and standard for the production car.

6 – Porsche 911 GT3 RS

Lap time – 6:49.32s

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The 992-generation 911 GT3 RS certainly looks at home on the Nurburgring (or any track for that matter) and its lap time of 6:49.3 is a decent step up from the ‘regular’ GT3. Only a small part of that improved time can be attributed to the extra 11kW. The huge wing and active aero help to deliver three times more downforce than the GT3, which might not be so noticeable on the road, but it certainly makes a difference at the ‘ring.

7 – Lamborghini Huracan Performante

Lap time – 6:52.01s

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Ahead of its big reveal at the Geneva Motor Show, Lamborghini released footage of its new, track-focused Huracan Performante tearing round the ‘Green Hell’ in an astonishing time of 6:52.01s. Shrouded in a camouflage wrap, the 5.2-litre V10 powered beast was piloted by test driver Marco Mapelli, who surely gained a handsome bonus on his paycheck at the end of the month. Worth every penny.

8 – Porsche 911 GT3 (992)

Lap time – 6:55.3s

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Porsche is famous for evolving the 911 with each iteration, and proof is no clearer than the lap time of the latest 911 GT3. Despite being a rung down on the performance ladder, it was faster around the tortuous track than the outgoing 991.2 GT3 RS. That’s without any extra power, and just goes to show how much more downforce – and therefore grip – the 992 GT3 can generate.

9 – Porsche 911 GT3 RS (991.2)

Lap time – 6:56.4s

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The GT3 RS has the same 4.0-litre flat-six as found in the regular 911 GT3 – revving to 9000rpm and developing 383kW. Use the Race Start function and the RS will shoot from 0-100km/h in a lightning 3.2 seconds.

The Weissach Pack helps to reduce overall weight by 30kg (from a claimed 1430kg), by including a carbon fibre roof, magnesium wheels and a titanium roll cage.

10 – Porsche 918 Spyder (Weissach Package)

Lap time – 6:57s

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While McLaren was being unusually coy about the Nurburgring lapping prowess of its P1 hybrid hypercar (it will only say that the P1 has done a sub 7-minute lap), Porsche rocked up and clocked a 6:57s lap in its 918 Spyder, albeit one benefitting from Porsche’s Weissach Package. It’s the first – and so far only – of the ‘Big Three’ to post an official time, giving the LaFerrari and P1 something to aim for.

With a combined 652kW and 1280Nm of torque from its petrol-electric powertrain, the all-wheel-drive machine blitzed the ‘Ring in September 2013, holding the outright production record until the arrival of the Lamborghini Huracan Performante.

Top ten fastest Nurburgring lap times ever

Though it’s far from an objective indicator of a car’s overall performance, there’s no denying that a machine with a Nürburgring lap record earns a level of respect from any enthusiast. As a symbol of pride then, not to mention a very useful marketing tool, the ‘Ring remains king.

1 – Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo

Lap time – 5:19.546

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To celebrate its 70th anniversary, Porsche took its 919 Evo – a modified version of its Le Mans-winning 919 Hybrid – to set lap records at a handful of European circuits. The 919 Evo obliterated the all-time Nordschleife lap record, with driver Timo Bernhard completing the lap in just 5:19.546 in June 2018 – that’s almost an entire minute faster than the previous record.

It’s aero was also tweaked, with the now-active system able to generate 53 per cent more downforce than the 919 Le Mans-spec racer whilst also increasing aero efficiency by 66 per cent.

2 – Volkswagen ID.R

Lap time – 6:05.336

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Coming in second place is Volkswagen’s purpose-built, all-electric ID R. Despite the compromises of an all-electric powertrain on the circuit, VW’s engineers managed to extract enough performance for a 6:05.336 lap in June 2019, not just taking second spot, but also breaking the electric vehicle record.

3 – Porsche 956

Lap time – 6:11.13

The outright record was long-held by the late Stefan Bellof for 35 years, until the aforementioned 919 came along in 2018. In May 1983, the then 25 year old racing driver set an astonishing time of 6:11.13 in a Porsche 956 during qualifying for the Nurburgring 1000km.

4 – Porsche 956

Lap time – 6:16.85

Proving just how committed drivers were in the golden age of endurance racing, not to mention what an incredible Nordschleife weapon the Porsche 956 is, it also takes the fourth spot on this list. On the same day as Bellof’s famous lap, German driver Jochen Mass achieved a time of 6:16.85.

5 – March Engineering 832-BMW

Lap time – 6:28.03

Next on the list was another lap from 1983, with March Engineering bagging fifth place on the all-time list with its 832 Formula 2 car. Piloted by Christian Danner, the racer was powered by a 2.0-litre naturally-aspirated BMW four-cylinder, a unit that also saw action in Brabham’s famous BT52 Formula 1 car (albeit in 1.5-litre turbocharged-form).

6 – Mercedes-AMG One

Lap time – 6:35.183

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Mercedes-AMG has smashed the production car record with its One hypercar, the long-awaited road-going development of its Formula 1 car. Driven by DTM driver Maro Engel, the lap was completed in non-ideal conditions, suggesting there’s even more to come. Still, the AMG One ripped over eight seconds off the previous production car lap record holder, although it is worth remembering none of its hypercar rivals have attempted a lap record of their own.

7 – Porsche 911 GT2 RS MR

Lap time – 6:43.30

Manthey Racing broke its own record in 2021 with a further update on its MR kit designed specifically for the Porsche 991.2 911 GT2 RS that’s since been beaten by AMG. With various tweaks to its aero, suspension setup, braking system and cooling, Porsche development driver Lars Kern broke its previous record by nearly 5sec, in the process also breaking the fastest lap completed by a road-legal car. For reference, the 992-generation 911 GT3 RS achieved a 6:49.3, proving just how potent this package is…

8 – McLaren P1 XP1 LM Prototype

Lap time – 6:43.22

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With almost 600kW coming from its 4.0-litre V8 and a further 150kW provided by electric motors, the Lanzante-fettled McLaren P1 LM managed an incredible lap time of 6:43.22 with Kenny Bräck at the wheel; around four second quicker than McLaren’s own quoted time for the track-only P1 GTR.

9 – Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series

Lap time – 6:43.616

The most recent addition to the list is Mercedes-AMG’s GT Black Series, with its 6:43.616 lap the eighth fastest of all-time, but also the fastest lap ever achieved by a road-legal production car. Piloted by GT3 driver Maro Engel, the Black Series was fitted with a set of road-legal Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R MO tyres developed specifically for the Black Series, and had its standard aero setup tweaked to suit the challenging conditions of the Nürburgring, knocking the Aventador SVJ off the top spot as the world’s fastest production car.

10 – Lamborghini Aventador SVJ

Lap time – 6:44.97

Sitting just 1.3sec behind the AMG is Lamborghini’s Aventador SVJ, with the marque’s factory driver Marco Mapelli lapping the circuit in 6:44.97 in July 2018. The SVJ is more powerful than the limited-run Aventador SV, but also features an array of changes elsewhere that also contribute to its improved performance. Most notable is ALA 2.0, a revised version of the aerodynamics system first seen on the Huracan Performante, said to increase downforce by 40 per cent over the SV.

All-time Nurburgring lap record

Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo

Lap time – 5:19.55s

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Porsche smashed the overall lap record at the Ring with a time of 5:19.55 minutes in a 919 Hybrid Evo. The car is a development of the Le Mans prototype the German marque has raced competitively, and it hit a top speed of 369km/h on its mind-blowing lap. The previous record, which had stood since 1983, was completed by Stefan Bellof in a Porsche 956 C which came in at 6:11.13 minutes.

Nurburgring front-wheel drive lap record

Renault Megane Trophy R

Lap time – 7:40.1s

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Competition to set the Nurburgring lap record among front-wheel drive production cars has become particularly fierce in recent years thanks to a new generation of hot hatches. We say ‘production car’ in the broadest sense of the term, as manufacturers often develop ‘special edition’ versions of their fast hatchbacks purely to attack the FWD Nurburgring lap record.

Manufacturers such as SEAT, Renault, Volkswagen and Honda have been battling it out for years, and Renault regained the crown in 2019 with the Megane R.S. Trophy R (having previously set the front wheel-drive record in 2014 with a Megane 275 Trophy-R). The 221kW hot hatch clocked a lap time of 7:40.1 seconds, beating the old record set by the FK8 Honda Civic Type R by more than three seconds.

The Trophy R is upgraded over the standard Megane R.S. with a freer-flowing Akrapovic exhaust system, Brembo brakes, new adjustable Ohlins suspension, lighter alloy wheels and a pair of carbon-backed Sabelt bucket seats. The rear seats have also been removed to help aid weight reduction. The Megane Trophy R is expensive for a hot hatch, but taking the Nurburgring record is an impressive way of showing its worth.

Nurburgring four-door sedan lap record

Jaguar XE SV Project 8

Lap time – 7:18.36s

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With SUVs stealing car sales from conventional family sedans, manufacturers are having to come up with exciting ways to attract buyers to more traditional sedan models. Which, amongst other things can include a fire-breathing, hell-raising performance version of the standard sedan.

The Jaguar XE SV Project 8 originally toppled the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio from the top of the sedan tables in 2017, with a time of 7:21.20. However, Jaguar went back for more in 2019 and the XE SV Project 8 managed to knock 2.8 seconds off its previous time, completing an incredible lap in 7:18.36.

The two-seater XE SV Project 8 does stretch the definition of 4-door production car somewhat, but that’s increasingly what’s needed to set a ‘Ring record these days.

Nurburgring electric car lap record

Volkswagen ID. R

Lap time – 6:05.336s

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More and more manufacturers are readying electric cars, and what better way to showcase you’re serious about EVs than sending a bespoke, all-electric track special around the Nurburgring as fast as possible? That’s exactly what Volkswagen did, setting a new lap record for all-electric cars with a Nurburgring spec version of the Pikes Peak hillclimb winning ID. R. The 460kW, all-wheel-drive monster lapped the 21km circuit in 6:05.336, not only smashing the previous record held by Chinese EV maker NIO, but setting the second fastest ever unrestricted lap around the ‘ring in the process.

Other Nurburgring lap times

If you thought the above was a definitive, indisputable list, we have some bad news: plenty of other cars have set lap times which would see them break into the top ten times, but have fallen into somewhat of an automotive grey area. Should a time count if it’s set on special tyres? Should track cars be included? What about prototypes of forthcoming models? The inclusion of the following is up for debate…

Radical SR8 LM

Lap time – 6:48s

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The 336kW V8-engined Radical SR8 stretches the definition of a ‘road-legal production car’ with its 515kW per tonne power to weight ratio. So although we’ve left it out of our official top ten, it’s still worth a mention.

It looks like a race car and you certainly (we hope) wouldn’t attempt to use one on the school run. With approval, it’s possible to register one as a road legal vehicle, and it completed an incredible 6:48s lap in 2009 to install itself in the Nurburgring lap record tree.

NextEV NIO EP9

Lap time – 6:45.9s

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The all-electric NextEV NIO EP9 set what looked like a lap record on the Nurburgring racetrack with an incredible time of 6:45.9, however it later transpired that this was done on bespoke tyres, which is why it doesn’t feature in the main list.

McLaren P1 LM

Lap time – 6:43.2

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Right, so we’re deep into ‘grey area’ territory now. The McLaren P1 LM – a road-legal version of the 735kW, track-only P1 GTR, prepared by specialists Lanzante – has gone almost three seconds faster than the NextEV NIO EP9.

But as a road-going adaptation of a track-only car, we’ve decided to leave it out of our top ten, while accepting that it’s position is very much open for debate.

Porsche 911 GT2 RS MR

Lap time – 6.40.3

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Like the McLaren P1 LM above, this entry also causes some controversy. Unlike the standard Porsche 911 GT2 RS in our top ten list, this version has been specifically modified to tackle the Nürburgring very quickly. It is a road legal vehicle, but it contains additional performance parts from Manthey-Racing that give it an edge over the standard production car. Plus, while you can buy the car, it can only be used for track days in that form.

On top of the Manthey-Racing parts, the GT2 RS MR also had aerodynamic and chassis adjustments for its record-breaking run.

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