Seat Leon Cupra at the Nürburgring

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.