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Nurburgring outlaws record attempts after race death

Lucky last: The Porsche 918 hybrid set what is potentially the last unofficial production car lap time around the Nurburgring Nordschleife at 6min 57sec.

Managers of infamous ‘Green Hell’ ban car-makers from making lap record attempts

22 Jun 2015

MANAGEMENT of the Nurburgring Nordschleife race track, near Cologne in Germany, have moved to ban car companies from attempting to set record times around the 21km track.

Speed limits have already been imposed on one section of the track, known as the Flugplatz, after a spectator was killed when a racing car became airborne and flew into a crowd during an endurance race in March this year.

English driver Jann Mardenborough was unhurt when his Nissan GT-R GT3 became airborne on a crest and smashed through a safety fence at speed. A second spectator received minor injuries.

Swedish supercar manufacturer Koenigsegg was set to run its 1000kW One:1 supercar on the circuit this week in order to try and beat the six-year-old production-car lap record but the company was prevented from doing so by track management.

“Following the tragic accident of 28 March 2015, the German Motorsport Association (DMSB) introduced speed limits for races at the Nurburgring,” said Nurburgring chief executive officer Carsten Schumacher in an official statement released over the weekend.

“Capricorn Nurburgring GmbH has decided to extend these speed limits to other activities on the Nordschleife, which is why record drives are currently not permitted on the Nurburgring Nordschleife.”

The production car lap record is attributed to a road-registrable vehicle on road-legal tyres, and is currently held by small British sportscar-maker Radical at 6 minutes and 48 seconds, set in its SR8LM two-seater in 2009.

Porsche, however, claims that its 918 hybrid is the rightful owner of the record, after setting a lap of 6min 57sec in September 2013.

Porsche claims that Radical’s cars are not homologated for road use and are therefore not eligible.

The traditional ‘tourist’ lap service – where members of the general public can buy a ticket, or ‘ronde’, to access the track for a lap at unrestricted speed – is not affected, while races are still scheduled for the remainder of the summer season.

Nicknamed the Green Hell, the 89-year-old track features 154 turns, and is considered by many car manufacturers as the ultimate proving ground. Jaguar Land Rover, Porsche, Nissan and even Hyundai have permanent development and engineering facilities located in the area around the circuit.

Not all testing at the Nurburgring facility is carried out at top speed.

Hyundai, for example, aims to put 480 laps, or 10,000km, on each car it takes to its Nurburg facility, which it estimates equates to 180,000km of real-world testing.

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