Another Day, Another 'Ring Record

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

Yes, Ferrari recorded the fastest “production-based, non-street-legal” lap of the Nürburgring today, breaking the hallowed 7-minute mark with a 6:48:16 time in its 599XX. The only question I have is why did they bother? Is it possible that Ferrari is having trouble selling enough copies of the $2m+, track-only version of the 599 GTB? Not likely, considering the Scuderia won’t sell you one (regardless of how much you’re willing to pay for it), unless you’re on an exclusive invite list for the Enzo-powered track toy. So why trumpet a non-production record at all? Isn’t the very significance of a Ring rooted in the idea that it’s the ultimate test of a road car, packing nearly every imaginable on-road condition into each wrenching lap? Shouldn’t Ferrari have at least tried for lap time in its new fastest road-legal car, the 599 GTO? Especially considering it’s debuting today, at the Beijing Auto Show? Oh well, at least the 599XX makes some serious earcandy noises… if only for six minutes, 48 seconds and change.

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  • L'avventura L'avventura on Apr 24, 2010

    >>The only question I have is why did they bother? The whole point of performance cars, especially in the context of contemporary internet discussion, is 'performance' measured in things like 0-60 times, power/weight ratio, and lap recorded. subjective measurements like 'fun-to-drive' or 'soul' aren't important without the numbers to back them out. Look at how quickly the CR-Z has been written off before people have actually driven it. Now, I'm waiting for Nissan to make a non-road legal track-only GT-R to get another ring record. Million dollars and sticky race tires will go a long way.

    • Steven02 Steven02 on Apr 26, 2010

      I don't see the point in it. Would racing a C6R around the track and getting the time be worthy of a press release? No point in this at all.

  • Niky Niky on Apr 24, 2010

    Not pushing? The best laps always look undramatic. If it's dramatic, that's because either the driver or the car is sloppy. No slop, no drama. - I wasn't aware there was a "production derived, non-road legal" ring record... Too bad it's still a few ticks slower than the Radical SR8, which just happens to be road-legal... and fully production, not "production-derived".

    • See 3 previous
    • Niky Niky on Apr 26, 2010

      But it's road legal in Germany, where the record was done. And I suppose that's what really counts. If we have to add the rejoinder that the car must be street legal everywhere, a lot of cars are out. The McLaren F1 and Porsche 595 are not street legal in the US... neither was the older Nissan GT-R, the "first sub-8 minute road car", which helped kick-start the Nurb record craze back in the day... not until Motorex went to the trouble of Federalizing it. Heck, the old SR20-powered Sentra wasn't Cali-legal for a period of time back in the day... and that's nowhere near as Radical as the Radical. While it's laughable to call the Radical a car, as it has no weather protection or storage... it's still an actual road car. The 599XX is not.

  • Carsspeaktome Carsspeaktome on Apr 24, 2010

    Possibly both. But I'm a bit curious about the popular misconception that if a driver and car are having a wild ride and tossing about in a dramatic manner then the drive is a good one. No one ever expects an established professional ballet dancer to thrash about on stage to indicate they're doing it well. If they do, their career never lasts long. The driver in the video is very much like that. In synchronous balance with his/her dance partner, so the driver is with the car. A competent driver in a competent car will always have things under control on the edge. Sabine would agree. Watch old footage of the racing gods in action and most all of them will be calm and collected in even the most intense sections of track. The cars flow smoothly in and out of corners and no one is the wiser to how much effort is going in to making it all come together. That's part of the art of both the ballet dancer and the race car driver.

  • Niky Niky on Apr 24, 2010

    With the cats-eye scraping ride height of the 599xx, I doubt the driver would be able to hammer the thing over curbs like a regular sports car. While it's possible that Ferrari would have raised the car for the ring attempt, I don't know how effective the active downforce (consisting of vacuum fans in the rear, a la Chapparal racer) at higher ride heights. While cutting the corners as tight as possible is often good for laptimes, sometimes the instability caused by bouncing off those candy-cane colored strips adds more time than it removes. And it seems like he's getting as close as possible to many of them, anyway, and riding over the flat ones.