When Stefan Bellof set a 6:11 lap around the Nurburgring Nordschleife in 1983 driving a Porsche 956, many considered that record to be unbeatable. For 35 years, it has been.
In recent weeks though, onlookers have spotted Porsche preparing something special at the ‘Ring. It created a special, unrestricted version of its triple Le Mans-winning 919 for a victory tour of the world’s tracks. Dubbed the Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo, it already beat the fastest ever lap at Spa-Francorchamps, hosing even the fastest F1 cars.
Porsche took the 919 to Germany for a demonstration run before this year’s Nurburgring 24 Hour race. There it toured round with a 956 similar to Bellof’s car in a gentle exhibition, but the car reportedly stayed on afterwards for a few laps.
Then all went quiet until this week. ‘Ring junkies spotted the 919’s trailer and surmised a record run was on the way. And they were right.
Timo Bernhard, who won Le Mans twice (once with the 919) took driving duties again, just as with Spa-Francorchamps. He not only beat the record lap time, he stomped all over it.
On a quick warmup lap, Bernhard took the 919 to a remarkable 5:24.375. Yes, that’s a five minute lap time. But he wasn’t done there and went out for a full attack lap. Just over 12.9 miles later and Porsche was celebrating a 5:19.546 lap — more than 51 seconds faster than the 35-year old record.
For comparison, Bellof’s average speed during his 1983 qualifying lap was 125.6mph. Bernhard averaged 145.7mph, with reports from Germany suggesting he hit over 220mph down Dottinger Hohe.
Bellof’s record will still stand for now though. He set his time qualifying for an official race event, and Nordschleife laps outside of race events have no official standing. Even if they’re an incredible 15% faster than the lap record.
You can watch onboard video of the remarkable lap below: