‘Ring Laps

Like many car nuts, I’m fascinated by YouTube videos of timed laps of the Nurburgring Nordschliefe–Jackie Stewart’s green hell. The first video I ever saw of a lap of the ‘Ring was of Derek Bell in a Porsche 956, which remains the fastest lap ever recorded on video (even though the video quality is terrible.) Bell narrates the lap, which adds to its value, even if it’s about the worst video of a Ring lap. Stefan Bellof, another Porsche factory driver, holds the official fastest lap record of 6’11”, which is amazing. In the Bell video he is passed by Jackie Ickx, also a factory driver, and Bell laments he is unable to keep up with Ickx because of the weight of the film equipment in his car! Bellof would die in 1985 in a horrific crash at Spa while passing Ickx at Eau Rouge. He was only 27 years old.

There have been many in-car videos of Ring laps thanks to it becoming the unofficial metric for supercar performance in recent years. Every manufacturer, even small ones like Pagani, wants to claim the fastest production car lap of the Nordschliefe. Porsche currently holds that crown with a lap of 6’57” in a 918 Spyder. (Just check out the video quality on that lap!)


Today I saw this cool comparison video of a Lotus Exige S on the left and the new Porsche Cayman GT4 on the right. What this video shows, and the thing that fascinates me the most about all these videos, is how difficult the circuit is, and how much work the driver must do to keep the car on the track. Just look at how much steering input is required! It has to be incredibly exhausting to do even one of these laps. They have a 24 hour race on this circuit every year, with cars going almost as fast as these production cars. Fortunately drivers are only allowed to race for 150 minutes before taking at least two hours rest.