Automotive performance can be measured in more ways than we can count, but lap times at the Nürburgring are a great equalizer. It has almost 13 miles of punishing pavement and concrete with 1,000 ft of elevation change. It is home to several major races, and also to engineering facilities for most European automakers. But over the last two decades, American and Japanese marques have also realized the potential of The Green Hell. Jackie Steward coined that term after being witness to the brutality it inflicts on driver and machine. Many specialized cars have been built to make the ultimate lap time, and many street cars have also been fine-tuned at the track. The fastest cars to ever hit the track are also some of the coolest cars, but we will cover the race cars another day. Let’s focus on the fastest production cars from each of the big brands.
We’re going to break it down by manufacturer, with lap times courtesy of NurburgringLapTimes.com, so let’s see how many cars each brand has in the top 100 lap times.
‘Ring Rank: These numbers are each car’s position among the 100 fastest cars to ever lap the track. The number at the right is the lap time
You might wonder how the Italians became so dominant at a German track. European borders are not the same as they once were, and neither are manufacturers. Volkswagen owns Porsche, Audi, and Lamborghini which helps them cut development costs by sharing platforms. The most obvious example has been the Audi R8 and Lamborghini Gallardo/Huracan. You can’t deny the power of V10 engines and quattro AWD.
Rank Model Lap Time
3. 2018 Lamborghini Huracan Performante 6.52.01
6. 2015 Lamborghini Aventador SV 6.59.73
25. 2011 Lamborghini Aventador 7.25
53. 2010 Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera 7.38
56. 2006 Lamborghini Murcielago LP640 7.40
62. 2009 Lamborghini Murcielago LP670 SV 7.42
72. 2007 Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera 7.46
74. 2007 Lamborghini Murcielago 7.47
82. 2002 Lamborghini Murcielago 7.50
89. 2003 Lamborghini Gallardo 7.52
Homefield advantage can be claimed here. The ‘Ring has seen more rear-mounted flat sixes than anything else, and its here where drivers like Nikki Lauda, Walter Röhrl and Sabine Sabine Schmitz learned the art. You probably guessed there would be a majority of 911s on this list, but two Panameras are here to mix it up. For a quick refresher, the 911 Turbo and Turbo S are AWD. The GT2/RS is twin turbo RWD, and the GT3/RS are naturally aspirated and RWD. The Carrera GT is a naturally aspirated Formula1 V10, and the 918 Spyder is a twin turbo V8 electric hypercar.
5. 2013 Porsche 918 Spyder 6.57
14. 2010 Porsche GT2 RS 7.18
30. 2011 Porsche GT3 RS 4.0 7.27
34. 2003 Porsche Carrera GT 7.28.71
37. 2007 Porsche GT2 7.31
39. 2010 Porsche Turbo S 7.32
42. 2010 Porsche GT3 RS 7.33
49. 2011 Porsche Carrera S 7.37
50. 2017 Porsche Panamera Turbo 7.38
51. 2006 Porsche Turbo 7 .38
58. 2009 Porsche GT3 7.40
60. 2006 Porsche GT3 7.42
64. 2003 Porsche GT3 RS 7.43
71. 2000 Porsche GT2 7.46
77. 2009 Porsche Turbo 7.47
79. 2006 Porsche GT3 RS 7.48
84. 2008 Porsche Carrera S 7.50
91. 2011 Porsche Panamera Turbo S 7.52
94. 2003 Porsche GT3 7.54
100. 2000 Porsche Turbo 7.56
Enzo built his house in the middle of their test track. Piero lives there now, so why do they need to travel north to set lap times? None of the XX series supercars are on the list, and the only halo car tested in Germany was the Enzo. Perhaps they are waiting for the world to show up at Fiorano for a battle royale….
18. 2015 Ferrari 488 GTB 7.21.63
26. 2002 Ferrari Enzo 7.25.21
32. 2009 Ferrari 458 Italia 7.28
55. 2007 Ferrari F430 Scuderia 7.39
75. 2006 Ferrari 599 GTB 7.47
96. 2005 Ferrari F430 7.55
Godzilla is a long way from home when each new Nissan GT-R is tested. The only V6 powered cars on our list, they are also AWD with twin turbo power.
7. 2015 GT-R Nismo 7.08.68
16. 2013 GT-R 7.19.10
22. 2011 GT-R 7.24.22
29. 2008 GT-R 7.26.70
46. 2009 GT-R SpecV 7.34.46
Karl Benz patented the original automobile (the Benz Patent Motorwagen) in 1885, so it’s fitting that his company is represented here. Three manufacturers are technically represented here, as AMG developed the SLS and GT-R on their own. McLaren built the SLR.
8. 2017 AMG GT-R 7.10.92
28. 2014 SLS AMG Black Series 7.26.40
36. 2012 SLS AMG GT 7.30
57. 2003 McLaren Mercedes SLR 7.40
68. 2007 CLK 63 Black Series 7.45
70. 2011 C63 AMG Black Series Coupe 7.45
86. 2009 SL65 AMG Black Series 7.51
93. 2004 CLK DTM 7.54
The Ultimate Driving Machine is also very capable on the track. It is shocking to see how fast the 2003 M3 was. Straight six power without forced induction and a perfect weight balance are why the E46 series is so admired.
31. 2016 M4 GTS 7.27.88
80. 2010 M3 GTS 7.48
83. 2003 M3 CSL 7.50
88. 2015 M4 7.52
99. 2011 M5 7:55
Many laugh at the Americans, but you can’t argue at the price. The only cars that don’t need to be LS Swapped, the Camaros and Corvettes are powered by 5.7 and 6.2 liter small block V8s. If you are wondering why the fastest car is a C6, Chevy is probably waiting on the C7 ZR1 to be finished. Notice that all the performance editions begin with the letter Z? Zora Duntov would be happy to see his innovations of fuel injection and independent suspension have evolved so far.
17. 2012 Corvette ZR1 7.19.63
20. 2011 Corvette Z06 7.22.68
35. 2017 Camaro ZL1 7.29.6
48. 2014 Camaro Z/28 7.37.47
59. 2011 Camaro ZL-1 7.41.27
63. 2003 Corvette Z06 7.42.90
While official times for the new Ford GT have yet to be disclosed, the previous generation was a true powerhouse. If your only hood ornament is a blue oval, take a look at what Dearborn brought to the track:
39. 2015 Shelby GT350R 7:32.19
89. 2005 Ford GT 7:52
The MP4-12C was their first production car since the F1, and it arrived with technologies developed for and at the world’s greatest tracks. With carbon fiber bodies and twin-turbo V8 engines, weight is kept low thanks to brilliant technology. All modern McLarens don’t have sway bars, instead of fancy hydraulic suspension controls body roll. The weight savings and ride quality are simply amazing. Obviously the models that have arrived since the 12C, but McLaren have been holding out for something special to raise the bar.
32. 2010 MP4-12C 7:28