Did that video of the 2017 Porsche 911 GT3 slashing 12 seconds off its fastest laptime get you panting? Did Honda’s record-setting lap in the 2018 Civic Type R arouse a physical reaction in you?
Pay attention, because we’ve compiled the hairiest on-the-razor’s edge Nurburgring laps to ever be captured on video. Strap yourselves in, put your headphones on and engage fullscreen mode – here are some of the wildest Nordschleife orbits.
Ruf CTR ‘Yellowbird’
One of the most manic laps ever captured on video at the Nordschleife is also one of the oldest. In 1989 Stefan Roser took the then-two-year-old Ruf CTR around the Nurburgring’s northern loop with a camera mounted to its roll cage. Opposite-lock is applied in nearly every corner, and Roser’s driving talent is on full display.
Titled “Faszination on the Nurburgring”, the Yellowbird in-car video is still eye-wideningly impressive nearly 30 years on. And with a twin-turbo 3.4-litre flat six funnelling 350-odd kilowatts through a rear-drive chassis weighing just 1150kg, how could the CTR be anything but exciting?
Nissan Skyline GT-R [R32] 8:22
Around the same time the R32 GT-R was dominating the Group A Australian Touring Car Championship at Mount Panorama, the legendary ‘Godzilla’ was also making its mark around the Eifel mountains in Germany. Filmed by Japanese car show Best Motoring, this video highlights just how capable the R32 GT-R was for the time.
What’s more, the R33 GT-R that succeeded it is also recognised as the first production car to dip below the eight-minute mark – an incredible achievement for the mid-1990s. We don’t have video of that lap, but here’s one of the R33 GT-R V-Spec cutting it incredibly close with an 8:01.
Pagani Zonda R – 6:47
Now we get serious. The ultimate interpretation of Pagani’s AMG-engined Zonda supercar is the Zonda R, which eschewed the road-going Zonda’s 7.3-litre V12 in favour of a hard-charging 6.0-litre borrowed from the Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR.
It differed significantly from Zonda road cars, with unique suspension, chassis and a stripped-out interior. With less weight and track-honed underpinnings, it proved a rocket around the Nurburgring and reset the production car record in 2010 – though as a track-only device the validity of that record is debatable.
Then again, listen to that V12 howl.
Viper ACR-X 7:03
“American cars don’t handle” – ever heard that one before?
It’s a familiar phrase, but an outdated one. It may have applied to muscle cars of yesteryear, but Detroit has learned a few lessons in the intervening decades about how to make cars that corner.
And proof of that is manifest in the Viper ACR. Back in 2010 the ACR recorded a blistering 7:12 lap, but a year later SRT returned with the even more focused ACR-X for another try. The result was a 7:03 spin around the Nordschleife, definitively proving that the Yanks can do things other than drive in straight lines, 400 metres at a time.
Citroen AX diesel – 9:55
Why is there an oil-burning French hatchback on this list? Because the story behind this video is absolutely incredible.
Youtube user ‘Nic BTG’ is a Nurburgring addict, but as an ordinary Frenchman he didn’t quite have the dosh to record a blistering lap behind the wheel of a Nordschleife-slaying supercar. But he did have a Citroen AX 14D, a 1.3-litre diesel compact hatchback.
He also had superhuman levels of tenacity, because it took ten separate visits to the Nordschleife for him to achieve his goal of sneaking under the ten minute barrier. It also took 118 laps of the 23km circuit, nine blown engines and five dead gearboxes. He’s clearly driving the pants off the thing, and that makes for an entertaining video in itself. What’s the saying about driving slow cars fast?
Lamborghini Huracan Performante - 6:52
Forget the shenanigans about fraudulently sped-up footage – the Lamborghini Huracan’s fast lap around the Nordschleife is simply mega.
Active aerodynamics, a 40kg weight reduction, ultra-sticky Pirelli Trofeo R tyres, mega stiff suspension and a 470kW naturally-aspirated V10 all helped to make the Huracan the second-fastest fastest road car around the Nurburgring to date. The Zonda R may be quicker, but unlike the Performante you can’t pop down to the shops in one.
BMW M4 DTM 6:14
Things get serious when proper racecars hit the ‘Ring, and Augustus Farfus’ ballistic orbit of the Nordschleife in a DTM-spec BMW M4 needs to be seen to be believed. Done with a passenger next to him, this lap was only meant to be a joyride for guests of his sponsor, Shell, but Farfus’ 6:14 lap puts all road car lap records in the shade.
Holden Commodore SS-V Redline – 8:19
A home-grown hero makes this list, with Holden development engineer Rob Trubiani steering a 2013-spec Commodore SS-V Redline ute around the Nordschliefe in a highly respectable 8 minutes and 19 seconds.
Fun fact: this lap scored the Commodore ute the title of “fastest commercial vehicle around the Nurburgring”. You’re never late in a V8.
Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 – 7:29
More American metal, this time in more accessible Camaro flavour – albeit in top-tier, AU$82,900 Camaro ZL1 trim.
It’s wicked-fast in a drag race – as you’d expect – but this is another example of a Yank that knows how to run around a track. Aggressive aero, mega-grippy undercarriage and a 10-speed automatic help the ZL1 trip the beam with a solid 7:29
Nissan GT-R Nismo – 7:08
Since the R32 generation further up the page, the GT-R has been a fixture of manufacturer drive days at the Nordschliefe. Here, Super GT driver Michael Krumm expertly whips the latest evolution of the Godzilla legend, the Nissan GT-R Nismo, around the ‘Ring during its development programme.
At over 1.7 tonne empty the Nismo is a real heavyweight, but 441kW, proper aero kit and an all-wheel drive system run by supercomputer-smarts sees the big GT-R creeping up close to the seven-minute mark.
Honourable mention: BMW Sauber F1.06
Okay, bear with us on this. Yes, this isn’t solely onboard footage, and not a full lap, but you can’t go past watching a fully-fledged modern Formula 1 car attacking the Green Hell. Nick Heidfeld is the man behind the wheel of the BMW Sauber F1.06 and he certainly isn’t holding back. The glorious sound of that 2.4-litre naturally-aspirated P86 V8 is worth the price of admission alone.