At the end of last month, the Porsche 919 Evo obliterated the Nordschleife lap record. It was a record that took 35 years to beat, but it seems challengers are already looking for a way to dethrone it as the King of the Ring.
The most vocal of these challenges comes from an interesting source: Red Bull F1 team principal Christian Horner. In an interview with Racefans at this past weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix, Horner spoke about the ‘Ring lap.
When asked about running its RB14 around the Ring, Horner had this to say regarding Porsche and its 919 Evo.
“The problem is their LMP1 car broke the record in Spa which was beating a Formula 1 car time. I’m not sure a Formula 1 car could actually do it.”
He then continued on with what he did think could beat the time:
“But I think that the Valkyrie, certainly the track version of the Valkyrie, could be a contender.”
It’s unfortunate we won’t get to see an F1 car take to the Ring, at least not one from Red Bull. However, given the reliability of Honda engines and the deal between the two companies, that might be a good thing.
But the Valkyrie is an interesting proposition. We already know the AMR Pro model comes with 1,100hp and weighs just 2,204lb. This means it eclipses the coveted 1:1 horsepower/kilo ratio, which few other vehicles do.
The 919 Evo does best that though. Combining its electric motors and petrol engine it churns out upwards of 1,160hp. Even with fluids and driver ballast it still comes in at 1,958lb. However, the 919 Evo uses its electric power strategically, and while the Valkyrie does have a KERS unit, it produces most of its power all of the time.
While both vehicles are close in terms of performance numbers, the record would ultimately come down to a few things. Chief of those is the aerodynamics, which would play a huge role in how fast the Valkyrie could get around the Green Hell. Things like the suspension setup and brakes would be a factor as well — even the 919 had to adopt a high line around the Carousel due to the grounding risk.
Besides the performance factor, the other huge question mark is driver ability. If you watch the video of the 919 Evo slaying the record, it seems almost otherworldly. To go even faster a driver would need nerves of steel and reflexes like a psychic cat.
On paper, it’s definitely possible, but finding someone crazy enough to do it is another thing. Thankfully, there’s a whole line of world-class drivers out there. Perhaps even Red Bull’s own Max Verstappen would be up for the challenge?
Nothing is set in stone yet, but we are sure there are a number of companies waiting in the wings to beat Porsche. Seeing something like the Valkyrie go out and best the time would certainly be a sight to hold too. Hopefully this happens and even more extreme cars follow.