The Nürburgring has long been the go-to place to both develop cars in their development stages, as well as test them upon completion, by both amateurs and big car companies alike.
A Nürburgring lap record has therefore become one of the ultimate accolades for carmakers, with multiple large manufacturers vying for the title, in multiple categories. Take a look below to see the quickest lap times across all major categories.
Front-wheel drive Nürburgring lap records
1. 2017 Honda Civic Type R - 7:43.80
They've done it again. Honda recently snatched the front-drive Nürburgring lap record, less than a year after Volkswagen snatched it from the previous-generation Civic Type R with the Golf GTI Clubsport S. Its 320hp is 10hp more than both the Golf and the previous-generation Civic Type R.
2. Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S - 7:47.19
Volkswagen's Golf GTI Clubsport S broke the lap record twice, first setting a time of 7:49.21 in May 2016, then again in December, when it shaved more than two seconds from its previous lap time. Both lap records were set by VW test driver Benny Leuchter.
3. 2015-2016 Honda Civic Type R - 7:50.63
The previous-generation Honda Civic Type R also holds a front-wheel drive Nürburgring lap record, after snatching the title in 2015 from the Renault Mégane RS 275 Trophy R. It was first announced at the Geneva motor show in 2015.
4. Renault Megane RS 275 Trophy-R - 7:54.36
Renault took the record from Seat back in 2014, with the snappily named Megane RS 275 Trophy-R. With another Megane RS on the way, it might not be long before another Megane sits atop the list of front-wheel drive 'Ring records.
5. Seat Leon Cupra 280 Estate - 7:58.12
In a top five dominated by hot hatchbacks, Seat decided to do something different, and put a front-wheel drive estate into the 'Ring. It snatched the title, albeit briefly, and was the fastest production estate around the infamous circuit.
Fastest road-legal lap around the Nürburgring
1. Nio EP9 – 6:45.90
The Chinese supercar is a limited-run, 1,378hp, all-wheel-drive two-seater. It has a top speed of 312kph. The new lap smashed the car's previous, sixth-place lap time of 7:05.12, which was set back on October 14, 2016, a week before our sister publication Autocar UK caught the EP9 on camera at the track for the first time.
2. Radical SR8LM - 6:48.00
The Radical SR8LM has held the record of the fastest lap time since 2009, which lapped in just 6min 48sec in the hands of Michael Vergers. He was driving the car just 24 hours after the car was driven from England to Germany for the record.
3. Lamborghini Huracan Performante - 6:52.01
Next is the Lamborghini's Huracán Performante, which broke the Nürburgring production car lap record by lapping the 12.9-mile (20.7-km) Nordschleife in a hair over 6min 52sec.
4. Radical SR8 - 6:56.08
The SR8's 2.6-litre V8 engine develops 365hp and broke the Nürburgring record in 2005. This model was also driven by Michael Vergers.
5. Porsche 918 Spyder - 6:57.00
The 918 Spyder has a hybrid carbon-fibre construction, a combustion engine and suspension set-up donated by a prototype racing car. It has a top speed of 344kph.
6. Lamborghini Aventador SV - 6:59.73
This has a single-clutch automated gearbox and is 50kg lighter than the regular Aventador. The 0-100kph time is claimed at 2.8sec.
7. Nissan GT-R Nismo - 7:08.68
It’s got wide front bumper wheels and is furnished with the larger, high-flow turbochargers that were previously reserved for the GT3 racer. It has a 0-100kph time of 2.7sec.
8. Mercedes-AMG GT R - 7:10:92
The Mercedes-AMG GT R may not be the most powerful car in AMG history but it has sheer, naked aggression and laser-like focus on the driving experience.
9. Gumpert Apollo Speed - 7:11.57
One of the finest examples of a racing car for the road, the 650hp it produced is by a heavily modified version of the previous-generation S8’s 4,163cc V8.
10. Dodge Viper SRT-10 ACR - 7:12.13
The acronym, ACR, stands for American Cup Racer – adding forged wheels with super-sticky Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tyres, two-piece brake discs and an aero kit that delivers 450kg of downforce at 241kph.
Four-wheel drive Nürburgring lap records
1. Lamborghini Huracan Performante - 6:52.01
It might not have taken the overall road car record of the 'Ring, but the Huracán Performante takes the crown as all-wheel drive 'Ring record holder, and is over 50sec ahead of the Civic Type R's front-wheel drive record.
2. Porsche 918 Spyder - 6:57.00
After nearly five years, the Porsche 918 Spyder's reign as the all-wheel-drive Nürburgring champ came to an end. It first set the record in 2012, wearing nothing more extreme than its track-friendly 'Weissach package' and a set of road tyres.
3. Lamborghini Aventador SV - 6:59.73
The Aventador SV actually reached a much higher top speed on its 'Ring run than its little brother, the Lamborghini Huracán Performante; reaching 325kph where the Huracán only managed 302kph; but the smaller car's added agility ultimately got it the title.
4. Nio EP9 - 7:05.12
Claiming the electric record also garnered the Nio EP9 fourth place overall in the all-wheel-drive leaderboard; sandwiched between the Lamborghini Aventador SV and Nissan GT-R Nismo. Four inboard electric motors power all four wheels, and the car's total power output is 1,379hp.
5. Nissan GT-R Nismo - 7:08.68
Nissan's most hardcore GT-R, honed by its motorsport division Nismo, has the added track pack to help it achieve such blistering 'Ring laps. Nevertheless, a time of 7:08.68 places it comfortably in the top five all-wheel-drive cars to traverse the infamous track.
Rear-wheel drive Nürburgring lap records
1. Radical SR8LM - 6:48.28
Process of deduction could bring you to this list, but with three of the overall top five 'Ring records belonging to all-wheel drive cars, it shows four-wheel drive's increasing prevalence, as manufacturers look to take advantage of its performance benefit, particularly on twisty tracks like the Nürburgring...
2. Radical SR8 - 6:56.08
...in fact, the only two top-ten rear-drive cars are the Radical SR8LM and SR8.
3. Mercedes-AMG GT R - 7:10.92
Mercedes' most hardcore current model, the AMG GT R, is a long way behind, at 7:10.92. It'll remain Mercedes' rear-drive performance pinnacle for a while though; the Project One hypercar will be four-wheel drive.
4. Gumpert Apollo Speed - 7:11.57
The Apollo Speed's 7:11.57 time is enough to keep it in the top five rear-wheel-drive cars to lap the Nürburgring, but not the top five overall.
5. Dodge Viper SRT-10 ACR - 7:12.13
The Viper may be dead, but the Viper SRT-10 ACR's Nürburgring record lives on, as does its place in the top-ten road-car records and top five rear-drive records.
Electric Nürburgring lap records
1. Nio EP9 - 7:05.12
Nio's EP9 quietly stormed into the history books when the electric supercar took the electric 'Ring record earlier this year. The company has since showcased a more mass-market friendly SUV concept. We doubt it'll match its supercar sibling's Nürburgring time.
2. Toyota TMG EV P001 - 7:47.79
It was way back in 2011 when Toyota claimed the 'Ring record with the TMG EV P001, but its record stuck until just a few months ago. The car's 1,084.6Nm certainly helped it attain the title, and what's more, it managed to claim the crown in road-legal tyres.
3. Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Electric Drive - 7:56.23
Mercedes' electric blue SLS AMG Electric Drive is hard to miss, and so was its Nürburgring record in 2013; it walked all over the Audi R8 e-tron's lap time, trouncing it by over 12sec. Its 750hp and 999Nm certainly gave it the required shove.
4. Audi R8 e-tron - 8:09.09
The Audi R8 e-tron held first place on the electric 'Ring record chart for almost a year before Mercedes' SLS AMG Electric Drive came along; setting its 8:09.09 time in July 2012. It had around half the power of the Mercedes, at 381hp, but had less of a torque deficit; producing 820Nm.
5. Electric RaceAbout - 8:42.72
The Finnish-made Electric RaceAbout achieved the electric Nürburgring record back in 2011, with German racing driver Ralf Kelleners behind the wheel. The university-based makers of the car even posted the lap video to prove the car's time.
Fastest ever recorded Nürburgring laps
1. Porsche 956 - 6:11.13
The absolute Nürburgring lap record holder is the Porsche 956, driven by the late Stefan Bellof during the 1983 1,000km Nürburgring race. Bellof's average speed around the track was more than 200kph, and, as the list suggests, has never been beaten.
2. March Engineering 832-BMW - 6:28.03
Just one month prior, Formula 2 driver Christian Danner set the Nürburgring’s fastest ever lap time in his March Engineering 832-BMW; this was short-lived, though, and Danner has been in second place on the 'Ring records ever since.
3. Pagani Zonda R - 6:47.50
Pagani's ultimate Zonda is the R; a 749hp, track-honed, Ferrari 599XX-beating racer for the track. It's based on a road car, though, and is capable of 350kph and 0-100kph in 2.7sec
4. Radical SR8 LM - 6:48.00
The fastest road car around the 'Ring certainly isn't the fastest ever; it's fourth by precisely half a second. It's one of only two road-legal cars in the top five. Just because it's road-legal, doesn't make it road-friendly, mind.
5. Lamborghini Huracan Performante - 6:52.01
The Huracán Performante claimed another hot spot as the fifth fastest Nürburgring lap of all time, in addition to its other Nürburgring titles of second fastest road-legal car and fastest all-wheel drive around the 'Ring.