While hybrid hypercars like the Porsche 918 Spyder, McLaren P1 and Ferrari LaFerrari are thrown into the (at least hypothetical) battle for the sub-7-minute Nürburgring lap record, there's another war waging further down the time sheets. That's for the fastest lap clocked around the Nordschleife in a front-wheel-drive production vehicle.
Arguably more relevant to the common (European) man, this war is being waged between the top hot hatches on the Continental market. Seat became the current leader when it clocked a lap time of 7:58.4 in the new Leon Cupra 280, and Honda has made no secret of its intent to take the record with the upcoming Civic Type R. We wouldn't be surprised to see Opel go for it with the Astra OPC Extreme, but before any of these contenders came along, the record rightfully belonged to Renault.
The French automaker set a time of 8:16.9 with the Mégane R26.R back in 2008, then reset the record at 8:07.9 in 2011 with the newer Mégane Trophy. Evidently unhappy to see its bragging rights stolen away by the Spanish (and eyed by the Japanese and Germans), Renaultsport is apparently preparing an even hotter hatch with the explicit aim of setting a sub-8-minute lap time of its own.
Teased with the social media hashtag #Under8, the project is apparently bringing on board the collaboration of Michelin for tires, Akrapovic for the exhaust, Öhlins for the suspension and BRM as official timing partner. Accompanying the image above on Renault Sport's Facebook page just days ago was the caption "two months to go", hinting that the attempt will be made sometime in mid-June.
We'd assume the Mégane will once again serve as the base, and if they want the time to mean anything, it'll have to be offered for sale. Unfortunately since Renault doesn't market in North America it's all rather theoretical to us, but as far as theoretical challenges go, this one's shaping up to be one for the record books.