While Porsche and McLaren vie for sub-seven-minute lap records at the Nürburgring, there's another hotly contested category, and it's not for the fastest time of any vehicle. It applies specifically to front-wheel-drive cars, and is contested between European hot hatches.

The record was set and the gauntlet thrown down by Renault in 2008 with the Megane R26.R, which clocked a lap time of 8:16.90, and then again with the newer Megane RS Trophy at 8:07.97. Honda has made no secret of its desire to claim the record with the upcoming Civic Type R, and Opel could very well take it with the new Astra Extreme, but before either of them could get to it, it appears that Seat has taken the lead.

According to the video below, Volkswagen's Spanish brand recently set a lap time of 7:58.44 with the new Leon Cupra (likely the 280-horsepower version) while testing on the Nordschleife. That would make it nearly ten seconds faster than the previous record, and place it ahead of purpose-built, performance-focused, mid-engined vehicles like the Alfa Romeo 4C and Porsche Cayman, which would be damn impressive if verified.

The video was leaked out on YouTube and not accompanied thus far with any official information from Seat, so there's always the possibility this is a hoax. But with footage spliced together from inside the car, alongside the track and overhead from a helicopter, the hoax would be almost as impressive as the purported lap time itself.


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  • 19 Comments
      AcidTonic
      • 9 Months Ago
      Just drove the Evo to work today..... through 6 inches of snow. Love my AWD.
        gameover
        • 9 Months Ago
        @AcidTonic
        the EVO is old now , the engine from the cupra gives 350NM from 1500RPM to 5600RPM its a killer , the same engine will go into the new golf R but with more power and torque to componsate the powertrain loss , the figures are 380NM from 1800RPM to 5500RPM and 300HP from 5800RPM to 6200RPM its time to change the EVO ;p
        Matt
        • 9 Months Ago
        @AcidTonic
        I drove to work today too in my Neon... through 14 inches of snow... I like the Evo as well but you really need to get your head out of your ass. AWD isn't the end all be all, hell, my buddy with his G8 GT and snow tires had no problems putting along like any other commute. Watching other people though was as entertaining as it was frightening.
          ravenosa
          • 9 Months Ago
          @Matt
          If you're a Neon guy, this may not be the greatest place to discuss cheap commuter cars.
        JonnyB
        • 9 Months Ago
        @AcidTonic
        Feel sorry for you that you need AWD to love driving in snow. Meanwhile, skilled to averaged drivers can do the same with FWD.
      ChaosphereIX
      • 9 Months Ago
      see, FWD can be very, very fast and amazing in the corners. This car is a barely street legal touring car, that is all it is. Get one and you can pretend to be Plato and Tarquini [think those were the Seat champions IIRC] at every corner...
        Semislicks
        • 9 Months Ago
        @ChaosphereIX
        barely street legal touring car??? WTF??? This is the STOCK Seat Cupra. Alfa boys go cry me a river, your new Spider has been put on hold.
      Semislicks
      • 9 Months Ago
      Slap in the face to those who doubt German car superiority. And this is just the beginning! ;)
        Jeff
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Semislicks
        No one doubt the German cars can be very fast, just few want to own one out of warranty. It's like having an industrial vacuum attached to your open wallet!
          Semislicks
          • 9 Months Ago
          @Jeff
          the only unreliable VW are the ones with 1,4 direct injection turbo called TSI. As long as you go for 2L TSI or 2L TDI (GTD/FR TDI anyone??) you have almost bulletproof engines. Plus, tell me what turbocharged engine is more reliable than its NA counterpart... Maybe 2JZ, but thats it.
          Lachmund
          • 9 Months Ago
          @Jeff
          Yet noone outside the USA believe these fairytales about unreliable german cars. I wonder why the rest of the world perceives them as being very solid instead.
      Vwfanatic
      • 9 Months Ago
      HEY VWoA, this is one you should import to the USA if you want a real performance halo car with performance and styling that makes the GTI look & perform like Whistler's Mother.
      CoyoM
      • 9 Months Ago
      This track is so amazing that it cannot be described :-). My car and me cannot do a 7:58 but this track is still the best road track I've ever driven on.
      Lachmund
      • 9 Months Ago
      it is true. the video is even on youtube already
      pghcc2007
      • 9 Months Ago
      I'm too lazy to do my own research so i'll just ask you people. Are Seats just re-badged VW's like Pontiac and Chevrolet in the bad old days, do they share a basic platform but have their own engines, interiors, suspension settings and styling like Pontiac and Chevrolet in the good old days or are they a mishmash of VW parts across models and generations, aka a sub frame from a previous generation Golf, a floor pan from the current one, suspension cradle from a Sirocco etc?
        aljoya
        • 9 Months Ago
        @pghcc2007
        I shared the main technology between the VAG group. it would be Golf GTI< Leon Cupra < Audi rs3
        Semislicks
        • 9 Months Ago
        @pghcc2007
        Platform is the same for A3, Golf, Beetle, TT, Octavia, Leon, Passat, Superb... - MQB. Engines and drivetrain are also shared with different ECU programing. But steering and suspension is completely different. Driving a Leon and Golf feels quite different. Golf is more like motorised sofa where Leon is much sharper. In couple of tests Leon FR (the poor mans Cupra) beat BMW 120 in terms of handling and overall performance. Not to mention FR is cheaper with just as good interior as Golf or A3.
          Lachmund
          • 9 Months Ago
          @Semislicks
          Yeah, the different models share a lot of components under the sheetmetal but all the styling is different as is the steering, suspension and stuff. The cars really feel like different cars and especially the new Leon is so much fun to drive.
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