Tale Of Two Legends: Porsche 956 And 918 On The Nürburgring Nordschleife

Last year, in the late summer, a production car cracked 7 minutes on the Nürburgring Nordschleife for the first time; a production Porsche 918 Spyder, piloted by Marc Lieb, accomplished a blistering 6 minutes and 57 seconds on the “Green Hell.”

Still another record set in a Porsche yet endures; a Porsche 956 race car driven by Stefan Bellof lapped the Nürburgring Nordschleife in 6 minutes and 11.13 seconds, 30 years ago. That record still stands today as the fastest time ever recorded on the legendary German track.

There were differences in the two drives, to be sure. The Porsche 956 made around 650 peak horsepower from its turbocharged 2.7 liter flat-6, and weighed a mere 1,870 lbs or so. German racing driver Stefan Bellof was allowed liberties on the suspension tuning of the 956 to suit his driving style. Conversely, the Porsche 918 Spyder produces a combined 887 horsepower from a 4.6-liter V8 plus two electric motors, but weighs in at over 3,600 lbs. The 918 also “suffers” from a more forgiving suspension setup, being a production car.

“The 918 Spyder is not tuned very aggressively at the Nordschleife,” says Porsche test driver Marc Lieb. “You have to drive much rounder than in our 911 GT race car. Push less hard to avoid understeer, and select braking points much earlier.”

The time set by the Porsche 956 so long ago at the Nürburgring Nordschleife stands as a monument to Stefan Bellof, who died tragically in a crash at Spa-Francorchamps in 1985. The time set by the 918 Spyder 30 years later stands as a monument to Porsche, and its continuing legacy of building some of the world’s fastest supercars.

Story originally appeared on Curves Magazine (in German).

Aaron Birch is an automotive enthusiast and writer/filmmaker from Detroit, MI. As a rule, he only buys cars older than himself.

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