Back in the 'ring: PH Blog


Plenty of people have long since given up on the whole Nurburgring sausage waggling lap record thing. If that's you then please accept my apologies. Because I haven't at all.

Not sure how I missed the fact VW's tame racing loon Benny Leuchter went out in October and, seemingly for no good reason other than he could, lopped a full two seconds off his 7min 49.21sec to record a 7min 47.19sec. Mainly by taking the rallycross line through some of the corners and going for a maximum attack, minimum mechanical sympathy approach. Still, whatever it takes!

I should be so over all this by now. But for a good few years regular trips out to the 'ring with a bunch of mates were a major fixture of my life. And though my visits there are now far less frequent the spell the place cast over me remains in place. I invested so much - emotionally, time-wise and financially - I just can't shake it.

I guess it's a car nut's equivalent of a soap opera. I have no idea what makes people tune in to - seemingly - slightly different versions of the same old storylines every night like clockwork. Much as they probably wouldn't understand while I'll stop everything for the seven minutes and whatever seconds it takes for the latest benchmark lap time round the Nordschleife. And the ensuing discussion that follows.


Like earlier in the week when a Tweet from Dale at Bridge To Gantry alerted me to that 7min 10sec lap by Sport Auto's Christian Gebhardt in the AMG GT R. The response to the story we posted on it followed a familiar pattern; initial 'woah, geezer, he's got brass ones' and all that before the usual 'yeah, but bet he was on trick tyres and/or had the boost turned up' conspiracy theories. This even extended to Dale posting a picture of what looked like a stack of slicks in the pits, later corrected when Gebhardt himself emailed a close-up of them to reveal they were in fact the correct Cup 2s. Just ones he'd, cough, scrubbed in on a previous session. Hero points not only restored but bolstered!

The 'because it's there' factor has inspired many admirable human achievements, not to mention a few pointless ones too. There may be some sort of internal politics behind sending Leuchter out for another lap time but, whatever the motivations, the combination of unseasonably dry track conditions and cool autumnal air has made for rich pickings if you've got a turbocharged car and a point to prove at the Nordschleife. There's some personal interest too because I met Leuchter at the launch for the non-S GTI Clubsport at Portimao and enjoyed some slightly daft laps chasing his Golf R. It was meant to be ducks and drakes instruction but when he started taking big bites of kerb I realised things were escalating somewhat and the high fives and giggling when we got back in demonstrated an appealing combination of competitive spirit and appetite for mischief. A jockey-like build probably doesn't do any harm when hunting for tenths either.

So, yes, 'ring laps remain my Eastenders or Corrie. And just as inexplicably addictive to me as watching sulky people scowl and screech at each other are to soap addicts. Each to their own.

Dan

Leuchter's latest lap

 

[Source: BridgeToGantry]

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Comments (17) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Monteverdi Hai 09 Dec 2016

    I hadn't noticed from the manufacturers 'timed runs' before but do they all take the start of the timed run from the far end of the small pit straight and finish the 'timed run' at the very start of the small pit straight?
    If not, that wasn't a complete(pedantic)lap.(99.99%).

    That's a good second he lopped/cheated/duped off right there.

    Let's get back to adjustable suspension (rock hard or silky soft chosen when the mood takes you) and in-gear acceleration(real world) performance comparisons rather than laps that encourage manufacturers to make cars that ride like karts.

  • tim milne 09 Dec 2016

    One curious thing about the GTi run — other than how it stayed in one piece after bouncing off every single kerb — was that it seemed to be topping out at 237kph (146mph) on the long straight. Now, I'm pretty sure all these 300bhp hatches are good for the usual German top-speed convention of 155mph, so does that mean this is geared differently?

    If it is, how relevant is it?

  • Dan Trent 09 Dec 2016

    Monteverdi Hai said:
    I hadn't noticed from the manufacturers 'timed runs' before but do they all take the start of the timed run from the far end of the small pit straight and finish the 'timed run' at the very start of the small pit straight?
    If not, that wasn't a complete(pedantic)lap.(99.99%).

    That's a good second he lopped/cheated/duped off right there.

    Let's get back to adjustable suspension (rock hard or silky soft chosen when the mood takes you) and in-gear acceleration(real world) performance comparisons rather than laps that encourage manufacturers to make cars that ride like karts.
    Ah, but that's the great misunderstanding - the GTI Clubsport S's 'ring set-up actually uses softer suspension to ride the bumps, as evidenced by Benny's driving style! And a rock hard chassis won't get you far round there, which is why these laps actually do count for something in the cars then sold off the back of this. See also the Megane and others.

    And, to clarify on the laps, Sport Auto's measured runs traditionally start the clock at the exit to the 'T13' or Industry Pool pit and stop it at the entrance, missing out the short straight between them. More here in our interview with Horst von Saurma. VW also seems to use the 'industry pool' or Sport Auto time, likewise Renault for the Megane's laps and many of the other 'official' times like those by Lamborghini, Porsche and others.

    Cheers,

    Dan

  • Mike1990 09 Dec 2016

    I still find it interesting these laptimes, its all fun, i don't understand why people get there knickers in a twist over it.

    Although it was a fair bit 'slower' on the back straight compared to the FK2 CTR, not that it matters though!

    Edited by Mike1990 on Friday 9th December 17:10

  • Max_Torque 09 Dec 2016

    Worth noting that this 2.2 second reduction in laptime is just 0.46% better than the old time. it equates to an average speed increase over the BtG lap of just 0.4 mph!

    Effectively, unless were are talking F1 racing here, that's a small enough difference as to be statistically irrelevant.........

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