Porsche 911 GT2 RS retakes Nürburgring lap record, with an asterisk

In the game of automotive bragging rights, the Nürburgring lap record for production cars is a trump card. Automakers claim all sorts of records at the treacherous German racetrack, but engineers and marketing people live to say their car is the quickest, period. Porsche claims to have taken that honor with a new version of its 911 GT2 RS, but, like a baseball player hitting a bunch of home runs while taking steroids, this record comes with an asterisk.

Development engineer Lars Kern piloted the Porsche 911 GT2 RS MR to a lap time of 6:40.3 around the 12.8-mile track. The “MR” stands for “Manthey-Racing,” which modified the car with what Porsche calls a “new performance kit.” That along with a vehicle setup tailored to the Nürburgring, allowed the GT2 RS to produce such a quick lap. But the MR was not a stock GT2 RS. Porsche claims the car is street legal, which it believes is good enough to claim the lap record.

In contrast, the previous record holder, the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ, is a series production car people can actually buy in essentially the same spec as the car used for the Nürburging record attempt. The Lambo lapped the track in 6:44.9, beating the previous lap record of 6:47.3 set by a completely stock GT2 RS in September 2017.

Comparing the lap times of the stock GT2 RS and the MR, the latter shaved about seven seconds off the production-spec version’s time, which is an amazing accomplishment. It’s also worth noting that both versions are substantially quicker than the Porsche 918 Spyder, an 887-horsepower plug-in hybrid supercar that cost $845,000 when new. The 918 Spyder achieved a then-record lap of 6:57 in 2013. That the lap record has tumbled by 17 seconds in five years is a testament to the constant advancements being made in automotive performance.

Not that a 911 GT2 RS is cheap. It starts at just shy of $300,000, but for that you get the most powerful production 911 since the model was introduced in 1963, boasting 700 hp and 553 pound-feet of torque. Extensive aerodynamic upgrades and massive tires help make use of that power but, since it’s sent to the rear wheels only, the driver had better be awake. The current GT2 RS will likely remain the most extreme 911 until Porsche introduces the redesigned, next-generation 992-series model, and the cycle of variants starts all over again.

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