Why are Nürburgring lap times talked about with such reverence among car and racing enthusiasts, as well as production car companies? Because the “Green Hell” has a well-deserved reputation for being one of the most—if not the most—demanding production car course in the world. It is the accepted standard by which any super sports car must be held up against if it’s to have any chance of succeeding in the modern market.
Outside of races themselves, though, there’s no official lap time certification process. Car manufacturers simply provide info such as on-board video and vehicle specs to back up their performance claims.
Nürburgring Nordschleife lap times are published by numerous media outlets each year. For instance, the German magazine sport auto produces an annual car Supertest, where Nordschleife lap time results are among the highlighted discussions. Performance Bikes Magazine, a British publication, tested their roadbikes on the course, and lap times are often found in Evo Magazine and Auto Bild, among others.
There are three main lap timing methods employed by drivers and manufacturers:
- Full Lap – This is a full run of the Nordschleife track, a total of 20.8km. This bypasses the more modern portion of the GP track. Also, the end is shortened by 200 metres in order to allow for safe finishing times.
- Sport Auto Lap – For manufacturers wishing to test their supercars, speed limits are added to allow for safe entry and exit of the course near the Tribune 13 grandstand. This Sport Auto supertest thus has a 7-second shortened lap time. There are 5 sections on the 20,600 m long Supertest-Nordschleife, detailed as follows:
- The first is 3,850 m
- The second is 4,235 m
- The third is 4,825 m
- The fourth is 4,846 m
- The fifth is 2,844 m
- The total is 20,600 m
- Bridge to Gantry – In tourist sessions, speed limits are imposed on certain portions of the track. Therefore, anyone wishing to time a lap on such a day can do so on the “bridge to gantry” portion, a distance of just 19.1km.
Timing safety concerns
Because Nürburgring is a public road and often busy with tourists, it is illegal for drivers to attempt timing laps except on designated racing or testing days. This cuts down on the possibility of accidents or high-distraction environments. Two speed limit zones are also in effect on tourist days, enforced by helicopter surveillance.