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The best laps of the Nürburgring

  1. There was good news for fans of terrifyingly claustrophobic and dangerous racing circuits this week, as details of the Nürburgring’s official sale were made public.

    Yep, following months of uncertainty and a cloud looming over the car industry’s favourite place to destroy tyres and suspension, it was revealed that German-based automotive firm Capricorn Group had bought the fabled track for the princely sum of €100 million. That’s around £83.6m, which in anyone’s book, is a lot of penny sweets.

    We’re told that €25 million of that is earmarked into redeveloping and upgrading the ol’ girl, including binning the ring-card system and rollercoaster. There is no mention of making it less scary, however.

    And don’t forget, it is a scary place. Those forested walls provide scant run-off area if you get it wrong, and believe us; many have got it wrong. But many get it right, and today, with news of the ‘Ring’s future settled and the track safe, TopGear.com has decided to celebrate with some of the best laps we’ve ever seen. Not necessarily the fastest, but just the ones that stick in the memory.

    So have a click through, and because this is a forum for debate, rational discussion and uncapitalised musings, feel free to pop some of your own suggestions in the space below.

  2. Porsche 918 Spyder

    Though McLaren has yet to tell us the exact time the P1 took to get around the ‘Ring, Porsche has revealed its 918 Spyder recorded a time of 6m 57s. Only the Radical sits ahead of it on the unofficial Nürburgring leaderboard.

    Watch the video here

  3. Seat Leon Cupra

    In the hands of Seat touring car champ Jordi Gene, the new 276bhp hot hatch managed to record a lap time of 7m 58.4s, the fastest for a front-wheel-drive production car, lopping off around ten seconds from the previous FWD record set by the Renault Megane RS Trophy (8m 07.97s) back in 2011.

    Watch the video here

  4. Formula racecar on ice

    Andy Gülden, chief instructor at the Nürburgring Driving Academy, decided to display his deft footwork and handling skills and take a single-seater race car around the ‘Ring… in the snow. And you have to admit, it’s a rather majestic sight.

    Watch the video here

  5. RUF 911 CTR ‘Yellowbird'

    Last year, RUF launched a new driver safety training course at the Salzburgring in Austria. A good idea, considering it builds tuned Porsches, like the classic ‘Yellowbird’ you’ll see in the video at the link. Remember - it was the eighties…

    Watch the video here

  6. Sabine Schmitz in a Ford Transit van

    Yep, it’s that time TG’s good friend Sabine Schmitz decided to show just how quickly she could go around the Nürburgring. In a Ford Transit van. In under 10 minutes.

    Watch the video here

  7. Citroen AX

    Like Sabine’s storming lap, here’s another simple brief: to get a diesel Citroen AX around the ‘Ring in under ten minutes. This poor chap had been chasing the ‘perfect lap’ for over seven years, and went through a reported nine engines and five gearboxes. He made it in the end, though, and that’s proof that the universe is a good place.

    Watch the video here

  8. Pagani Zonda R

    2010, and Pagani very simply announced that a Zonda R had recorded a Nürburgring lap time of 6m 47s. Wait, WHAT? 6m 47s puts it comfortably at the top of the unofficial ‘Ring leaderboard, though of course, there’s one big caveat: it’s not a street-legal car.

    Still, the Zonda R is incredibly, incredibly fast, and incredibly, incredibly loud. And excellent.

    Watch the video here

    Then read Clarkson when he took on the Zonda R

    And then read the history of the Zonda

  9. Nissan GT-R Nismo

    “My Nissan GT-R is too slow and there’s not nearly enough power,” said NOBODY EVER. Nissan’s motorsport arm decided to answer this call regardless, and rolled out the 591bhp GT-R Nismo.

    There’s more power, more torque, more stiffness, less weight and a stonking lap time thanks to FIA GT1 champion Michael Krumm. He managed to take the GT-R Nismo around the ‘Ring in just 7m 08.69s, putting it fourth fastest on the unofficial leaderboard, just behind the 918 Spyder.

    Watch the video here

  10. Nick Heidfeld in the BMW Sauber F1.06

    As part of a publicity day, BMW sent out Heidfeld in 2007 in one of their Formula One cars. Heidfeld did three laps, and managed a best time of 8m 34s. Which… isn’t very quick. This is because there are some provisos.

    Apparently Heidfeld slowed down to pose for a video truck. The car was wearing harder tyres, and the top speed was limited. On top of that, Heidfeld ran the VLN race length, so comparison is difficult.

    But, according to the Gospel of the Internet, BMW engineers had estimated a comparable lap time of 5m 15.8s.

    Watch the video here

  11. Toyota TMG EV P001

    In 2011, Peugeot took its astonishing EX1 electric concept car and recorded a Nürburgring lap time of 9m 1.338s. Later in the same year, Toyota took its Radical-based EV racer, strapped in Jochen Krumbach and managed to set a rather blistering time of 7m 47.794s, making it a new record for an electric car.

    Watch the video here

  12. And... how not to lap the Nürburgring

    Looks easy, going around the ‘Ring, doesn’t it? It’s not. It’s not a cuddly, friendly, warm blanket of open-armed hospitality. It is confusing, claustrophobic and can get crashy. As proved by the following eight and a bit minutes of footage.

    Watch the video here

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