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The 10 fastest production cars ever to lap the Nürburgring

If you hold even a passing interest in speed (the rate at which an object moves, not the amphetamine drug), the Nürburgring Nordschleife circuit in Germany should need no introduction.

But, just in case, we’ll give you some handy background before we kick off our latest list — only the important bits, mind you. We wouldn’t want to bore you with a sleep-inducing history lesson.

The terrifyingly undulating track is considered one of the most demanding in the world. The Nordschleife (or “North Loop”) — as opposed to the newer, safer circuit updated for Formula One — was built in the 1920s around the medieval castle of Nürburg, which is nestled in the Eifel mountains.

A complete lap of the Nordschleife measures 20.832km long, and bypasses the modern Formula One track. Interestingly, it is still regarded as a public toll road.

Of course, it is also hugely popular with automakers, particularly ones that specialise in the type of production performance vehicles that can set the coldest of hearts racing. So much so, in fact, that a bit of a speed war has broken out over the past few years.

A blistering Nürburgring lap time now carries a significant weight – despite the protestations of one James May. And with hypercars becoming more and more, er, “hyper”, the on-the-limit Nürburgring battle looks set to rage on for some time still (interestingly, McLaren has yet to confirm the P1’s time… and there’s no official word on LaFerrari, either).

To make the list, the vehicle in question must be a production car and must complete the lap on OEM tyres (which tend to be “optional” rubber). Without further ado, here are the fastest production cars around the Nürburgring Nordschleife.

10. Porsche 911 GT2 RS (7 minutes 24 seconds)

Back in 2010, a 911 GT2 RS was piloted around the circuit by motoring journalist Horst von Saurma. With 456kW and 700Nm, the lightweight twin-turbo sportscar boasted a zero to 100km/h sprint time of just 3.4 seconds. And its lap of seven minutes and 24 seconds is just low enough to see it make the top ten. Unfortunately, there’s a distinct lack of footage online…

9. Chevrolet Corvette C6 Z06 (7 minutes 22.68 seconds)

A Chevrolet engineer by the name of Jim Mero took the Corvette C6 Z06 around the Nürburgring in 2011 in the rather rapid time stated above. The Z06 that was used was fitted with the Z07 chassis package, which included new Michelin tyres, Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes, a new traction management system, and improvements to the aerodynamics.

8. Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1 (7 minutes 19.63 seconds)

The V8-equipped C6 ZR1 may have been a step up in price and power from the Z06, but it was only about three seconds quicker around the famous German track. Mero was again the mad-man behind the wheel, in a test that was conducted just two weeks prior to that of the Z06. Like its speedy little brother, the ZR1 made up plenty of time thanks to its special optional Michelin tyres.

7. Donkervoort D8 RS (7 minutes 14.89 seconds)

Built by Dutch manufacturer Donkervoort, the D8 RS is one of the more unusual vehicles on the list. The lightweight sportscar used a 1.8-litre turbocharged Audi engine, which sent around 257kW to the rear wheels through a five-speed manual gearbox. In 2006, it set its quickest time, bettering its 2004 effort by close to four seconds. But is it a true production car? You decide…

6. Lexus LFA Nürburgring Package (7 minutes 14.64 seconds)

In 2011, a special version of the Lexus LFA made a bit of a mockery of the Nordschleife. The Nürburgring package added a mere 7kW to the “standard” LFA V10’s 413kW output, but crucially also included a tweaked transmission, uprated suspension, lightweight alloys, and some clever aerodynamic fettling. The result? Sixth place on this list. Rather impressively, the LFA Nürburgring Package is said to have hit 292km/h on the final straight… uphill.

5. Dodge Viper SRT-10 ACR (7 minutes 12.13 seconds)

Those under the impression that American cars cannot go around corners without crashing spectacularly may be surprised to find the Viper ACR in the top five. Back in 2011, this 8.4-litre V10 beast – with a distinctive aerodynamic package (featuring a carbon-fibre front splitter and massive rear wing), lightweight alloys, and sticky Michelin tyres – was thrown around the ‘Ring by SRT factory driver Dominik Farnbacher. And it didn’t crash.

4. Gumpert Apollo Sport (7 minutes 11.57 seconds)

The Gumpert Apollo Sport isn’t something you’d often see off a racetrack. But it’s still apparently road-legal in many countries and counts as a production vehicle. A pants-wettingly fast one at that. In 2009, Florian Gruber bravely piloted the German-built Apollo Sport around the “North Loop”, making full use of the turbocharged Audi V8 squeezed under the bonnet. And that time is still good enough for fourth on our list today.

3. Nissan GT-R Nismo (7 minutes 8.69 seconds)

What do you do when your already insane Nissan GT-R simply isn’t fast enough? Trade it in for the Nismo version, of course. Towards the end of 2013, German driver Michael Krumm completed a lap of the ‘Ring in a smidgen under seven minutes and nine seconds. His weapon of choice? The GT-R Nismo with track options, consisting of an aerodynamic package, some weight reduction, and plenty of tuning of the suspension. The lap was quick enough for Nissan to claim that the GT-R Nismo owns the “volume production car” lap record.

2. Porsche 918 Spyder ‘Weissach Package’ (6 minutes 57 seconds)

Yes, the second fastest production vehicle around the Nürburgring is a petrol-electric hybrid with a claimed fuel economy of 3.0 litres per 100km. Of course, it’s also face-meltingly fast, particularly with the factory-installed Weissach Package, which cuts the vehicle’s weight and makes it even more slippery through the air. That’s enough to see the sprint from standstill to three figures plummet to somewhere in the region of 2.5 seconds. And a lap of the Nürburgring Nordschleife? Comfortably below the seven-minute barrier.

1. Radical SR8 LM (6 minutes 48 seconds)

In 2005, the Radical SR8 turned in a lap time of six minutes 55 seconds. Four years later – with the same man (Michael Vergers) at the wheel – the LM version bettered that by a full seven seconds. But should the Hayabusa-based 2.6-litre V8 British trackday special be on this list at all? Is it really a full production, road-legal motor vehicle? The answer, seemingly, is yes. But only just. The Radical SR8 LM treads a fine line between street-legal car and full-bore racer, but manages to err on the correct side for the purposes of this list. It was, after all, driven straight from the factory in England to the ‘Ring in Germany…

Author Bio

Ryan Bubear: Columnist
Since majoring in English and Communications far too many moons ago, Ryan has spent all of his time in online media, writing about everything from sport to politics (and other forms of crime). But his true passion – sparked at least partly by a 1971 Austin Mini Mk3 that... More
  • San Jose Cars Examiner

    The Nismo was equipped with non-production Track Package parts. It was NOT a production car.

    • T S

      It’s a factory option. So are the LFA, Viper, 911 and 918. The Gumpert, Radical, and Dunkervoort can be looks at as extremely limited production cars that don’t have anything but a factory track option. I guess that leaves the Corvettes.

      • San Jose Cars Examiner

        INCORRECT. It is an option package NOT available as a delivered vehicle, NOT a production option, nor is it street legal (different ECM among other parts) in the US, and likely voids the warranty. This is not true of the Lexus, Viper and Porsches. Even the Corvettes have production performance packages. The NISMO “record” is does NOT qualify for production cars despite their claims.

      • Michael Hurst

        It was not stock, the “record car” had “bigger spoilers for more downforce, different dampers and brake pads, bucket seats that contributed to a significant 50 kg weight saving and a new ECU map.” The magazine test drive said the mods were worth “several seconds”. The parts will supposedly be available, over the counter. I would be like a z06 driver pick out parts from the GM performance catalog, or a Viper owner get mopar performance parts. If the parts aren’t listed on the build sheet, option box, they aren’t stock.

        • T S

          There is a difference however between “stock” and “production car”. I would think anything available directly from the dealer and included in the warantee would be considered “production car”. Whether that qualifies in this case seems unclear as your post seems like it would be but based on a previous response it seemed the mods were more than that.

          • Michael Hurst

            No, Production and stock are the same. They both mean, they have the same parts as when it rolled off the “PRODUCTION LINE”. The only valid addition that “might/could be allowable is safety, I.E. Rollcage/race seat/belts”.

          • San Jose Cars Examiner

            INCORRECT. It is an option package NOT available as a delivered vehicle, NOT a production option, nor is it street legal (different ECM among other parts) in the US, and likely voids the warranty. This is not true of the Lexus, Viper and Porsches. Even the Corvettes have production performance packages. The NISMO “record” is does NOT qualify for production cars despite their claims.

            And a production kit car using someone else’s powertrain is also not a “production car”.

          • NJ_casanova

            The Nismo had NONE production available parts/weight reduction,etc. so it was not even close to “stock production”.


      • San Jose Cars Examiner

        No, it is not installed by the factory and is not street legal.

  • oknahs

    News flash for 2015. The zip ran a record 6.59…..

  • Michael Hurst

    The GT-R is fast, just like others in it’s category( ACR viper, ZR1, Porsche turbo S), the main difference is that it can go very fast with basicly anyone behind the wheel. That is what makes it special, thats why viper’s have been know as a handful. The other thing is that this track suits the GT-R’s strengths, other tracks the vette or viper are faster.

    • Devin williams

      Keep in mind the ACR is older then the GT-R nismo (2015 holds that time). The viper T/A is the modern version and is likely faster around this track (and IS around laguna seca)

      • Michael Hurst

        I know the ACR was the older less power than today’s model…I think everyone else has forgotten that it was a 5yr old model;-O Seeing that the T/A has abs and more hp/tq it will be fun to see what it’s # will be. FYI, the ACR is said to be out this summer, lighter with 1000lbs more of downforce. I just hope they put Trofeo R’s on it since they switched from the Michelin cups. It should be ” 7sec flat” with the Corsa tires and could challenge the radical with Trofeo R’s, even thou the Radical isn’t “street legal “, worldwide*.

  • Thanks For Sharing that.............

  • Grant Cowlishaw

    Since when was the radical a road legal production car. The Porsche 918 spyder wins!

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