The Nürburgring has long been the auto industry’s performance benchmark, despite the fact that there were no official rules for setting a lap record. You may have noticed we used past tense there, and that’s because the Nurburgring has put rules in place preventing auto manufacturers from setting quick lap times.
In March, a crash involving a Nissan GT-R GT3 at the the Nurburgring’s Flugplatz section resulted in a spectator fatality. The Nurburgring reacted by putting in speed limits of 124 mph and 155 mph on the particularly dangerous sections of the track, rules which will stand for races as well as touristenfahrten laps and industry test pool laps. For this reason, manufacturer’s will no longer be able to set competitive lap times and use the Nurburgring as a way of gauging who’s car is most capable.
The speed limits are claimed to be temporary solutions for cars going airborne on certain sections of the Green Hell, however they’ve already begun effecting manufacturer’s plans. Koenigsegg was set to run a timed lap with their One:1 hypercar around the Nordschleife when they got the news about the speed limit rules.
As told by executive producer of upcoming motoring documentary Apex, JF Musial:
“We’d been on stand-by to fly across the Atlantic (on moments’ notice) to capture Koenigsegg’s attempt,” Musial said. “This time, helicopter crews were ready to go, logistics were sorted, and travel was booked. The sudden notification from Nürburgring management (that at-speed timed laps were not allowed) couldn’t have come at a more inopportune moment for everyone.”
Now the question is “what’s the next industry-wide performance benchmark?” There’s the obvious choices like Spa Francorchamps in Belgium, but we think a North American course like Laguna Seca or Watkins glen would be a good choice, too.