5 ROAD CAR LAP RECORDS OTHER THAN THE NÜRBURGRING
Unless you’ve been hiding in a cave the last few months, you’ll probably have noticed that a couple of the most highly-coveted lap records have recently taken a tumble. Somewhat controversially, Lamborghini monstered the Nürburgring (and the Porsche 918 Spyder) with its scintillating new Huracan Performante, followed by the Nio EP9 taking the EV record just a couple of days ago. And Honda has put its latest iteration of the Civic Type R around ‘The Green Hell’ and ousted the Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S from its front-wheel drive title.
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I personally think manufacturers are far too obsessed with the Nürburgring and should expand their reaches and records to other circuits. On that note, let’s take a look at the road car records held at other reputable circuits around the world.
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SPA FRANCHORCHAMPS – RADICAL SR8 LM
Radical is a bit of a conundrum when it comes to lap times; technically some of its cars are road-legal, but are much more of an interpretation than a terminology to be taken seriously. They’re like the latest crop of phones that claim to be ‘waterproof’ – you’re still not going to be dunking your Samsung in the bath anytime soon.
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In Radical’s defence, all the company has done is stick to the required regulations, but its ‘road cars’ are essentially fully-blown racing cars with conversion kits to scrape them through the legal testing in the UK.
Due to ticking these boxes, Radical has laid official claim to the Nordschleife road-legal lap record with a 6min 48second lap using an SR8 LM. The company has gone on to take numerous other lap records, with another notable mention being a 2min 16sec lap of Spa, a full 22 seconds quicker than a McLaren P1.
LAGUNA SECA – DODGE VIPER ACR
Another manufacturer stepping on the toes of the thoroughbreds has been Dodge with its aero-obsessed Viper ACR. An 8.4-litre V10 in any car these days seems a bit much considering how far engine technology has progressed in the last ten years but it hasn’t stopped the US firm coaxing 645bhp and 600lb ft of ‘Murica from under the Viper’s louvred bonnet.
Couple in a huge front splitter and frighteningly large rear wing and the Viper produces an impressive downforce package that has seen it take 13 lap records around the US. The most reputable of these happens to be the Porsche 918-scalping 1min 28.65sec lap of Laguna Seca.
HOCKENHEIM – CHEVROLET CORVETTE ZR1
Always the German understudy to the Nordschleife in terms of reputable lap records, Hockenheim has been claimed by a somewhat unlikely victor.
Although heavily modified, the road car lap record belongs to a Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 tweaked by tuning company TIKT Performance. Outputting in the region of 830bhp from a race-prepped LS9 V8, this ZR1 also had upgraded suspension, brakes and aero from the guys at TIKT and smote the lap record at Hockenheim back in 2015.
The 1min 46.75sec time is a massively impressive standard considering a Radical RXC Turbo can only manage a time over a second slower than this track-focussed muscle car.
SUZUKA – KOENIGSEGG ONE:1
Potentially one of the most exciting circuits on the Formula 1 rostrum, this sliver of Japanese tarmac has been claimed by the horsepower-heroes of the hypercar market. Christian Von Koenigsegg is always full of praise for his hand-built performance icons but things can get tricky when it comes to setting speed and lap records when compared to the so-called holy trinity of the Porsche 918, McLaren P1 and LaFerrari.
Although the One:1 is by far the company’s best chance of rivalling the popular kids with what Koenigsegg classed as its first ‘Megawatt’ car (defined by a hp-to-kg curb weight ratio), they seem to shy away from any real form of confrontation. Despite this, a 2min 17sec road car lap record at Suzuka is not to be sniffed at, with the One:1 using all of its 1322bhp and active aero to see-off the likes of the R35 Nissan GTR.
ANGLESEY – BAC MONO
Seen in multiple UK car review videos and the chosen home for performance car testing at DriveTribe, the Anglesey Coastal circuit has been attacked by multiple heavyweights of the car world. But it is a single-seater homeboy that currently holds the lap record, brushing aside the likes of the ‘Holy Trinity’, the McLaren 675LT and the ever-present contenders from Radical.
With a 1min 7sec lap, the 2.5-litre Mono again pushes the boundaries of road-legality but in doing so smites a Radical RXC Turbo by nearly three seconds and leaves the ‘normal’ supercars in a different dimension. Using only four cylinders and 305bhp, this ultra-lightweight mid-engined weapon is a true hypercar killer.
What other lap records do you find particularly interesting? Do you think lap records should be taken somewhere other than the Nordschleife? Comment below with your thoughts!