Ready for take-off
The mystery of the Nordschleife can be expressed in precise figures: the lap records reflect heroic feats and technological summits
he rule applies both to racing carsand road cars: nothing reveals mo-re than the lap time on the Nürbur-gring Nordschleife. Why? Because thespeed of a car has to be in its genes: lowcentre of gravity, pulling power, balancedweight distribution and a perfectly adju-sted chassis which can cope with theattacks of this bumpy track.A glance at the history book of re-cords attests to milestones of racing tech-nology and automobile construction –and demonstrates the state of technolo-gy as the years passed. Since Formula 1engines have not been heard at the Ringsince 1976, their best time has long beensurpassed by today’s standards: Clay Re-gazzoni burned a lap time of 7.04 minu-tes into the Eifel circuit. The fastest ofthe fast was Stefan Bellof in 1983: 6.25minutes in the Porsche 956 for a lap ofthe Ring in racing trim. In the qualifying,he even made it 14 seconds faster, at anaverage speed of 200 km/h. All other re-cords pale in comparison, mainly becauseprofessional racing has avoided the Ringsince then. This is actually a shame, asshown by the DTM record of Johnny Ce-cotto in the BMW M3: 8.46 minutes forthe 25.3 kilometre combination of Nord-schleife and GP circuit.Because the Ring is no longer used forracing cars, it is now used more by regu-lar road vehicles: Wolfgang Kaufmannsqueezed a lap time of 7.32 minutes outof a Gemballa Porsche with over 600 bhp– on regular tyres. But the fascination ofa new record will always be there – afterall, fast lap times promise fame and glory.
Formula 1 record:
Clay Regazzoni took 7.04 minutes
Fabulous best time:6.25 minutesfor Stefan Bellof in the Porsche 956
DTM record:Johnny Cecottoholds the M3 record
Road record:7.32 minutes forthe Gemballa Porsche
Record-breaking:in the past,not only thelap times counted butalso the road holdingassessment.