Hot on the heels of the Pikes Peak record being broken comes another earth-shattering achievement from the world of motorsports. Yesterday, two-time Le Mans winner and Porsche works driver Timo Bernhard climbed behind the wheel of a specially prepared Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 car at the Nurburgring Nordschleife in Germany, fired up the 2.0-liter turbocharged V4 petrol engine, and proceeded to put the hammer down. After 154 turns over 20.8km, he crossed the line with the timing board showing a figure never seen before at the historic track: 5:19.55 minutes—an absolutely astonishing new lap record.
The previous record stood at 6:11.13, a mark achieved 35 years ago by Stefan Bellof in his Porsche 956C during qualifying for the 1983 1,000km of Nurburgring endurance race. For a long time, many people thought this magic number could never be beaten, but Porsche proved them wrong by going around the famous track an unbelievable 51.58 seconds faster. To do so, they used the same 919 Hybrid Evo that had already destroyed the lap record at Spa-Francorchamps earlier this year, an unrestricted version of the company’s Le Mans prototype racing car.
With engineers allowed to go wild, the car saw its weight reduced to just 849kg and its hybrid power output increased to 1,160hp. With so much power at his disposal, Bernhard managed a sub-six-minute lap in his first attempt and set the new record on what was the third flying lap of the day. Going around the Nordschleife in 5:19.55 means he averaged 233.8km/h on his record lap, a figure that is unlikely to be improved upon anytime soon.