While Jack is ranting about blackballing PR flacks and journos with pants on fire, let me warn against journalism by Twitter. Here is a prime example: Today, the interwebs are abuzz about a Lexus LFA setting a new Nordschleifen record. The source: A tweet by Chris Harris of EVO. He wrote: “LFA Nurburgring pack just did 7.14 lap of the Ring. That’s mighty fast.” And he followed it by a “Akira Iida was the man who did the LFA’s 7.14. Great time.” That may be the case. What is shameful is what was made of this tweet.
From Torque News (“Lexus LFA Nürburgring Edition shatters production car ‘Ring record”) through GMInsideNews (“Lexus LFA Nürburgring Package Smashes Nordschliefe Production Record with 7:14 Lap”) to Jalopnik (“LFA Nürburgring Edition sets a ring record”), the blogs are blabbering that Lexus sent the standing Nordschleifen-time to the Green Hell. And nobody bothered to check. Which is what anyone should do who calls himself a journalist.
I called Keisuke Kirimoto, Toyota’s genial spokesman in Tokyo this morning. He had not heard about the stunt yet. But he had his lap times in his head: “7:14? Doesn’t the record stand at 6 and change?” He’s right: A look at Wikipedia shows that the Nordschleifen-record for production cars stands at 6 minutes and 48, and it stood there since Michael Vergers drove his street-legal Radical SR8M around the Nordschleife in 6 minutes and 48 seconds in 2009. Wikipedia even lists Akira Iida’s new 7:14 – in number 4. Well, if the journos are that lazy, no wonder they get treated in a way that upsets Baruth the Brute.
Jack: They deserve it.
Some of them corrected the copy in the meantime. Jalopnik added: “Akira Iida posted a 7:14 lap time of the Nürburgring Nordschleife in a Lexus LFA Nürburgring Edition – good enough for either the fourth or fifth all-time fastest lap.” But they didn’t change the headline, and that’s what most Jalopnik readers usually manage to read. Or that’s what Jalopnik hopes they click on.
Kirimoto promised to come back with an official confirmation by tomorrow. Good for him, he doesn’t want to rely on Twitter. Even after his boss, Akiro Toyoda, twittered via the Team Gazoo account: “レクサス LFA、ニュルで7分14秒台を記録か” which according to Frau Schmitto-san stands for “Lexus LFA, 7 minutes, 14 seconds recorded on the Nürburgring.”
Team Gazoo warns on its website that the timing is not official yet, but if it is, then it would beat the times of the Nissan GT-R (7 min 24 sec), of the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 (7 minutes 19 sec) and that of the Porsche 911 GT2 RS (7 minutes 18 seconds), “which would be a great honor.”