It was back in 1983 when Stefan Bellof, a renowned Formula One and sportscar racing driver, posted a lap time of 6:11.13 on Nürburgring, Germany’s famous Grand Prix race track, in a Porsche 956. That record around the Nürburgring Nordschleife (“North Loop”) had stood unbroken for quite some time, with some skeptics arguing that the record would stay untouched until some drastic measures were taken.
We’d say that drastic measures were absolutely taken in late June 2018 when Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo driver Timo Bernhard not only broke Bellof’s Nürburgring track record, but absolutely obliterated it with a time of 5:19.55.
As you can probably tell from the video, the Porsche 919 Evo is an absolute beast of a racing car, and its specifications pretty much speak for themselves.
Per Road and Track:
Its turbocharged V4 combustion engine has been cranked to produce 720 hp, while an electric motor at the front axle makes 440 hp. With Bernhard on board, the 919 Evo weighs just 1957 lbs, and it makes far more downforce than the version of this car that competed in the World Endurance Championship (WEC) last year. It even makes more downforce than a modern F1 car. WEC regulations prevent the use of active aerodynamics, too, but the 919 Evo has a drag-reduction system, which allow it to hit nearly 230 mph on the final straight on the ‘Ring, while still making loads of downforce everywhere else.
Despite his lap record at Nürburgring, Bernhard remained extremely respectful of, and even paid tribute to, his predecessor Bellof, who was killed at the age of 27 following an accident in the 1985 World Endurance Championship, only two years after his legendary run at Nürburgring.
Bernhard, a 37-year-old German who drove for Porsche’s LMP1 team in WEC, said that all this downforce forced him to recalibrate what he thought was possible. “I’m pretty familiar with the Nordschleife. But today I got to learn it in a new way,” he said in a statement.
And Bernhard has a ton of reverence for the Belgian Bellof, who was killed in 1985 during a race at Spa. When WEC visited Spa in 2015, Bernhard wore a helmet designed in homage to Bellof’s.
“For me Stefan Bellof is and remains a giant.” Bernhard. “Today my respect for his achievement with the technology available back then increased even more.”
Do you think Bernhard’s record is one that can stand the test of time at Nürburgring?