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, 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. (Duplicates of a same M/Y vehicle are not included, fastest lap is picked)
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.
|5.||2018 Lamborghini Huracan Performante||6:52.01|
|10.||2015 Lamborghini Aventador SV||6:59.73|
|44.||2011 Lamborghini Aventador||7:25|
|56||2016 Lamborghini Huracan LP610-4||7:28|
|94||2010 Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera||7:38|
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.
|3.||2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS (991.2)||6:47.25|
|7.||2018 Porsche 911 GT3 RS (991.2)||6:56.4|
|8.||2013 Porsche 918 Spyder||6:57|
|11.||2022 Porsche 911 GT3 (992)||6:57.927|
|22.||2018 Porsche 911 GT3 (991.2)||7:12.7|
|28.||2010 Porsche Turbo S (991.2)||7:17.11|
|29.||2010 Porsche GT2 RS||7:18|
|38.||2017 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS (991.2)||7:23.77|
|54.||2003 Porsche Carrera GT||7.28.71|
|60.||2020 Porsche Panamera Turbo||7:29.81|
|65.||2007 Porsche GT2||7:31|
|70.||2010 Porsche GT3 RS||7:33|
|88.||2011 Porsche Carrera S||7:37|
|95||2017 Porsche Panamera Turbo||7:38|
|98.||2010 Porsche 911 Turbo (997)||7:39|
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….
|12.||2019 Ferrari 488 Pista||7:00.03|
|34.||2015 Ferrari 488 GTB||7:21.63|
|45.||2002 Ferrari Enzo||7:25.21|
|51.||2018 Ferrari 812 Superfast||7:27.48|
|89.||2009 Ferrari 458 Italia||7:38|
|99.||2007 Ferrari F430 Scuderia||7:39|
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.
|32||2012 Nissan GT-R||7:19.1|
|41.||2011 Nissan GT-R||7:24.22|
|50.||2009 Nissan GT-R||7:26.70|
|79.||2010 Nissan GT-R Spec-V||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.
|1.||2021 Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series||6:43.616|
|14.||2019 Mercedes-AMG GT R Pro||7:04.632|
|19||2017 Mercedes-AMG GT R||7:10.92|
|46.||2019 Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe 63 S 4MATIC+||7:25.41|
|47.||2014 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black Series||7:25.67|
|62.||2013 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT||7:30|
|80||2016 Mercedes-AMG GT S||7:35|
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.
|53.||2016 BMW M4 GTS||7:27.88|
|83.||2020 BMW M5 Competition (F90)||7:35.90|
|97||2019 BMW M5 (F90)||7:38.92|
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.
|23.||2017 Chevrolet Corvette Z06||7:13.90|
|27.||2018 Chevrolet Camaro Zl1 1LE||7:16.04|
|33.||2012 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1||7:19.63|
|36.||2012 Chevrolet Corvette Z06||7:22.68|
|49.||2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1||7:26.4|
|59.||2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1||7:29.6|
|61.||2020 Chevrolet Corvette||7:29.9|
|87.||2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28||7:37.4|
|92.||2010 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1||7:38|
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 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.