VW ID.R Nürburgring Lap Record

Hooniverse Asks: What’s the most impressive lap record?

Volkswagen and Romain Dumas pulled off one hell of a feet this past week. The VW ID.R electric race car was brought to Germany’s Green Hell. A singular mission was at hand, and it involved dispatching 13 miles of racing circuit faster than any electric vehicle prior. Dumas pulled it off. He drove one hell of a lap and smashed the old time in the process. His lap record stands at 6:05.336.

It’s not the fastest lap at the ‘Ring overall, of course. That honor belongs to Timo Bernhard and the Porsche 919 Evo, which set a lightning fast lap time of 5:19.55. Still, the efforts by the Volkswagen Motorsport team are phenomenal. Especially when you consider that the prior lap record, before Porsche smashed it, was 6:11.13. That was set by Stefan Bellof driving a Porsche 956 back in 1983.

All three of the aforementioned record lap runs are outstanding driving achievements. And I’d hear and accept arguments for any one of them being “better” than another. Bellof did his run in a machine that I’d imagine was as easy to drive as it is to lasso lightning and take it for a ride. Bernhard’s time is pure mind-bending speed. And Dumas proved just how quick and fast an electric race car can go. Though he’d already proven it earlier, when he set a new EV record at Pikes Peak in the same car, albeit with a different tune and aero setup.

Which of these three laps do you think is the best? And the bigger question here, is which lap record is the greatest of all time?

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17 responses to “Hooniverse Asks: What’s the most impressive lap record?”

  1. Eric Rucker Avatar

    They’re all impressive in their own ways.

    I feel like Bellof’s is the most impressive driving achievement – he did his in qualifying at a race, not at a dedicated record setting event. His car was RWD, 1980s turbocharged, and without any driver aids – sure, it was a 956, but a 956 ain’t a 919 or an ID.R, both of which have AWD and far more driver aids available.

    I don’t feel qualified to say which is the better technical achievement – the 919 Evo certainly got the faster time, but getting an EV around the ‘ring quickly – faster than Bellof – is actually hard, due to the need to balance weight vs. range, and thermals vs. drag.

    1. outback_ute Avatar

      Very well put

  2. neight428 Avatar

    Any closed course outright record is pretty fascinating, especially if it has changed hands frequently under the same track configuration over years. That’s the hard part, and opens things up for much arguing and bench racing. The post-competition 919 Evo seems to have been conceived as an internet wet dream come to life, there’s no real justification to spend the time and effort to put something together like that, but Porsche did, bless them.

    C&D’s Lightning Lap premise is brilliant in this regard, but for production cars, so it’s limited.

    Laguna Seca has hosted enough different types of stuff through the years that it makes for interesting reading. The last of the CART cars were damned close in capability to the F1 cars of the day.

  3. 0A5599 Avatar

    Santa. In two different lap definitions.

    First, he has the record for highest number of people sitting in his lap.

    Second, he laps the globe every December 24 eve


  4. Lokki Avatar

    I am going to ask for a bit of indulgence from the judges, because my nominee for the greatest lap record of all time goes to a motorcyclist, and not a race car driver.

    Mike ‘The Bike’ Hailwood is the racer, and the lap record was at the 1978 Isle of Man TT.

    First – a little background. The Isle of Man TT race has been run since 1907. It is run on roads, not a dedicated racetrack, and has a lap length of 37.73 mi (60.725 km) traveled in a clockwise loop around the island, passing through several villages. It has been called “38 Miles of Terror… a test of nerves and speed that may be sport’s most dangerous event.” A race is 6 laps, or the equivalent of the distance from London to York. Since 1907, 259 racers have died there (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Isle_of_Man_TT_Mountain_Course_fatalities), the most recent in 2019.

    Now to Mike Hailwood. He was a dominant force in motorcycle racing in the early 1960’s…In June 1961, he became the first man in the history of the Isle of Man TT to win three races in one week when he won in the 125 cc, 250 cc and 500 cc categories, racing for some little Japanese company called Honda. By 1967, he had won 12 times on the island mountain course. He won what many historians consider to be the most dramatic Isle of Man race of all time, the 1967 Senior TT against his great rival, Giacomo Agostini. In that race he set a lap record of 108.77 mph (175.05 km/h) on the Honda RC181, that stood for the next 8 years. For 1968, Honda pulled out of Grand Prix racing, but paid Hailwood £50,000 (equivalent to over GBP £ 739,634. or US $939,971 at 2019 values) not to ride for another team, in expectation of keeping him as its rider upon return to competition. This effectively marked the end (for the time) of his motorcycle racing career. He went on to dabble rather unsuccessfully in F1, until a broken leg ended his career there.

    Now, finally to our story:

    In 1978 Hailwood, as one would expect of a 60’s bike racer, was bored and broke having pissed away his winnings. A British Ducati motorcycle distributor wanted some publicity, and Mike very much needed some money. The distributor offered Mike good appearance money to make a return to the Isle of Man for one more TT. They promised him a Ducati works bike, a 900Ss… which wasn’t saying much. The Japanese had been dominant at the TT for several years now. Mike, at 38, and having ridden in anger very little for years, wasn’t expected to do well, and many said he might just look like an old fool. Thus, Ducati (because Italy, and the fact Mike had been a Honda rider) sent the Brits some worn-out crap. The Distributor turned to a small British shop to turn the bits into a decent bike. So we have a very old (for bike racing) no-hoper on a old-fashioned-design no-hoper pieced-together bike.

    Balding, limping, sweating; he didn’t really seem like Mike the Bike. Knowledgeable observers wondered why a man with so little to prove would risk so much. During the race, Hailwood proved the oddsmakers wrong and and his legion of fans right. His very first lap on the Ducati was his fastest-ever lap of the TT course, a hair under 110 mph.” Phil Read, who had won the 1977 Senior on the Suzuki two-stroke at a speed of 107 mph which had finally eclipsed a lap record set by Hailwood a decade earlier was mounted on a Works Honda. He was the expected winner, and started ahead of Mike. Mike caught him and passed him on the track. Read then blew up his engine trying to catch Mike. Mike had started in 12th place in the TTF1 Superbikes class, and gained a 9-second lead at the end of the first lap. By the time he crossed the finish line, he was far ahead of everyone else with about a 2-minute lead. He shattered the lap record when he took the checkered flag.

    A small, but interesting fact that has stayed with me over the years. Hailwood was an “old fashioned” rider. Modern bike racers are often called “knee draggers” as they shift their bodies across the bike and lower their enter of gravity by moving low beside the engine on the inside of turns; this position makes their their knees the lowest point. The lower GC greatly helps handling.

    Mike didn’t do this. He stayed atop the bike and leaned. He wore the outside edges off both shoes in this race…..

    So, my nomination for the greatest lap record ever…. A has-been 38 year-old rider on an obsolete-design slapped-together bike on the most dangerous race course in the world who won the race by two minutes, made his expected-winner rival blow up his engine trying to keep up, and wore the sides off his shoes doing it

    1. Manic_King Avatar

      Came here to say “some record from Isle of Man TT”, these guys are just insane. There’s story by BBC about Michael Dunlop who has lost his dad, uncle (Joey who got killed where I live, there’s little monument and many flowers there) and brother to road racing but still continues: https://www.bbc.com/sport/motorsport/48297727

      This year’s TT has added 1 death and toll is now 258 afaik. Last year story in The Times of London about the TT:

    2. crank_case Avatar

      My car centric brain was going to suggest Mark Higgins record lap in a Subaru WRX STI, and of course you reminded me that nutters do this on bikes… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRg5Sp1iQMc

      1. Andrew Fails Avatar
        Andrew Fails

        I’ve never liked the Subaru lap records, considering they’re the only cars allowed to run. If I set the fastest time running around my yard, but don’t allow anyone else to try, it’s not much of a record, regardless of what speed I do it at.

        1. crank_case Avatar

          True, but the calmness of the driving on display on really cambered and imperfect roads is incredible. Perhaps Tony Ponds SD1 record? I think it’s less that others aren’t allowed and more that Subaru are the only ones interested enough to grab that pre TT window of opportunity? It’s a public road most the year.

          1. Andrew Fails Avatar
            Andrew Fails

            My understanding has always been that Subaru gets to do it because they’re a sponsor, and nobody else is authorized to. But I may be mistaken.

            I do agree that it’s mighty impressive driving, but I just think the times are irrelevant when nobody else has put up a time to compare it to.

          2. Vairship Avatar

            I would have to assume that at least one Peel (P50, Trident, or Viking Sport) has managed a lap, although likely not in an official race. 😉

    3. outback_ute Avatar

      Great story, well told!

    4. Jeff Glucker Avatar
      Jeff Glucker

      This should be its own post

  5. danleym Avatar

    Sebastian Loeb at Pikes Peak 2013. I know, I know, the IDR beat his record last year, but-
    When he set the record in 2013, he was a first time driver on the mountain. The previous record was 9:46. Loeb turned in an 8:13. More than a minute and a half faster on a track that until he raced it had been barely under a ten minute lap.

    A damn incredible piece of driving at the time.

  6. P161911 Avatar

    Not often in the modern day is a track record beaten by almost 10%. This one was pretty impressive.

    1. onrails Avatar

      https://media3.giphy.com/media/G5JoAjEBtfoTm/giphy.gif Holy crap. Don’t get to see an F1 car on a proper old school (I know, the Turn 10A/B) isn’t the REAL old school) road course too often. The speed down the last turn onto the straight is unreal.