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Frankfurt show: Porsche’s 918 Spyder bites the ’Ring

’Ring around: Porsche’s plug-in 918 Spyder proves green motoring does not have to be boring, with a sub-seven-minute lap of the Nurburgring.

Electrifying sub-seven-minute lap puts Porsche’s plug-in 918 on record pace

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Porsche logo11 Sep 2013

PORSCHE claims its new hybrid 918 Spyder has become the first fully showroom-legal production car to lap Germany’s famed 20.6km Nurburgring Nordschleif track in less than seven minutes, just days before the green-but-mean sportscar made its world debut at the Frankfurt motor show this week.

Driven by Porsche test driver Marc Leib, the all-new plug-in petrol-electric supercar stopped the clock at six minutes and 57 seconds in its fastest run, although the company says the car made several sub-seven-minute runs in the session that also included bursts by former European rally champion Walter Röhrl and another Porsche test driver, Timo Kluck.

The German company said the fastest lap shaved 14 seconds from the previous record for a homologated road car, a lap of 7:11.57 by a Gumpert Apollo Sport, piloted by Florian Gruber, in August 2009.

Wikipedia attributes the fastest street-legal production car lap of Nurburgring – 6:48 – to a British-made Radical SR8 LM, also in August 2009, but clearly Porsche does not recognise that track-oriented race-bred sports car as a bona fide homologated production vehicle.

The Nurburgring is frequently used by car companies as a yardstick for outright pace for performance vehicles, adding some gloss to marketing claims.

The previous fastest lap of the circuit by a production Porsche was in 2010 when Horst von Saurma is said to have covered the single lap in 7:24 in a 911 GT2 RS.

Porsche said last night in Frankfurt that the 918 Spyder’s pace at Nurburgring demonstrated the enormous potential that lay in the sportscar maker’s pioneering plug-in hybrid concept.

Porsche AG board member in charge of research and development, Wolfgang Hatz, said the record lap underpinned the company’s leading role in developing sporty hybrid cars.

“We promised a great deal with the 918 Spyder, namely to redefine driving pleasure, efficiency and performance,” he said. “We have kept our word.” Two 918 Spyders were prepared for the Nurburgring attempt, each fitted with an optional ‘Weissach Package’ of handling enhancements that include lightweight wheels.

The cars were fitted with Michelin tyres developed by the French company for the 918.

Porsche said both cars used in the attempt were immediately on record pace, with Leib ultimately setting the quickest lap at an average speed of a tick under 180km/h.

The 918 is powered by a 4.6-litre V8 petrol engine producing 454kW, matched with a hybrid module featuring two electric motors and producing 115kW. Combined, the total output is 652kW.

Thanks to the electric motors – one on each axle – the Porsche produces between 917Nm and 1280Nm of torque, depending on the gear.

The 918 uses technology drawn from Porsche’s hybrid Le Mans race cars, and can zoom from 0-100km/h in just 2.8 seconds, Despite the high performance, the plug-in 918 Spyder can travel up to 32km on electric power alone, and sip just 3.0 to 3.3 litres per 100km on the combined fuel test.

The 6.8kWh lithium-ion battery pack can be recharged in four hours from a wall socket.

Just 918 of the cars will be built, all of them in left-hand drive.

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