“Epic,” “amazing” and “breathtaking” are terribly overused words these days, but there are occasions when their use seems reasonably justified. This is one of them.
Until last July, the Nurburgring Nordschleife lap record for street-legal production vehicles had stood at six minutes and 47.25 seconds, set by Porsche with the latest-generation 911 GT2 RS. Then along came Lamborghini with the Aventador LP770-4 Superveloce Jota. By the time the raging bull was done with its vulgar display of power, a new record had been achieved. That figure—six minutes and 44.97 seconds—must have been like a painful thorn in the side of Porsche engineers, agitating their egos and causing them sleepless nights. Now the boffins from Weissach have gotten their revenge with a true lap of the gods.
Six minutes and 40.33 seconds is the new number to beat, a lap time achieved with a modified version of the same 911 GT2 RS that had briefly been kicked off the throne by the Italians. Equilibrium has been restored, courtesy of some modifications that included a changed setup to better suit the track and a performance kit by Porsche-owned Manthey-Racing, the legendary German speed merchants famous for their successes in the VLN Endurance Championship, the World Endurance Championship and other racing events.
Just watching the video is an epic master class in how to tame the Ring, as driver Lars Kern is catapulting the 911 GT2 RS MR around the track with seemingly little sweat or use of brakes. This is proper poetry in motion, a symphony of 700 horses hitting every apex with the precision of a brain surgeon’s scalpel, before flying along the straight at over 300km/h like a man possessed. Whatever it was that they changed on the car, it worked. The new time is an amazing seven seconds faster than the first record set with this car, proving that Porsche engineers are either very, very good at what they do or able to use some sort of witchcraft.
Now the ball is back in the court of whoever wants to challenge the Germans at their own game and try to claim the most prestigious performance crown out there. Holding the record at the Ring can mean a huge boost for the prestige of a brand and the sales numbers of its vehicles, but the effort needed to achieve it is considerable. It’s worth the toil, though, because in the auto business, second place counts for nothing. Just ask Lamborghini.