Ferrari may not play the Nürburgring lap time game to the extent that Porsche, Nissan and Radical do, but it has been known to go for some lap times of its own. And now an F12 Berlinetta has been spotted lapping the Nordschleife in an apparent record attempt.
Europeans get very serious about their hot hatches. So do the Japanese. In fact there's been a whole back-and-forth lately over who makes the fastest one, and now Nissan looks set to throw its racing hat into the 'Ring.
Nürburgring lap times, it should come as no surprise, have become the ultimate bragging rights for performance automakers. So much so, in fact, that the records have been categorized. The Porsche 956 has held the outright record at 6:11 since 1983, the Pagani Zonda R is the fastest production-based track car at 6:47, the Radical SR8 LM the fastest (albeit barely) street-legal vehicle at 6:48 and the Porsche 918 Spyder the fastest fully street-legal series production vehicle at 6:57. But bey
Scroll down the leaderboards of Nürburgring lap times and you'll see mostly racing cars, supercars and sports cars. Delve deep enough and you'll eventually get to hatchbacks and sedans, albeit the most performance-focused of their kind. But a hybrid? Sure, the Porsche 918 Spyder posted the top time for a street-legal series production car, and it's technically a hybrid, but we're talking about another kind of hybrid here. We're talking about a Toyota Prius.
In case you haven't been paying attention, there's a battle raging on between two European automakers over who makes the faster hot hatch. The battle ground has been the Nürburgring, where Seat and Renault have been going back and forth, taking the front-drive lap record away from each other.
Clocking a lap time of less than eight minutes on the Nürburgring is a real feat in just about any car. But a front-driver? That's the gauntlet that Seat threw down March when it hustled its new Leon Cupra 280 around the Nordschleife in 7:58.4, knocking Renault off its perch for the quickest front-drive lap of the famous German track. In doing so, Seat practically handed Renault – which had claimed the record time and time again – an embossed invitation to beat its time, and Ren
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 season premiere of Top Gear aired last night in the UK, and did so in typical Top Gear fashion. We've yet to see the episode for ourselves (it's available via Final Gear on bittorrent, and as we reported earlier, will air on BBC America in the US just a week from now on February 4), but reports are coming in that a new record was set on the Top Gear Test Track by the Pagani Huayra.
We don't envy the British for many things – certainly little in the dental or gastronomical fields – but they do know how to put on a car show, we'll give them that. While the conventional London Auto Show may not be at the same level as the shows in Frankfurt, Paris or Geneva, the English take things one step further with moving expositions that put any other to shame. Forget Top Gear Live, we're talking about the Goodwood Festival of Speed that's coming up soon, and the Cholmondele