By on September 21, 2012

Nordschleife-enthusiasts, head for your lists. Still a year away from its official launch, the Porsche 918 Spyder rounded the Nürburgring Nordschleife in 07:14 minutes. Not bad for a plug-in hybrid. The timing however, could have been a bit more high-tech.

According to Porsche, “the lap time of the Porsche 918 Spyder prototype is one of the best ever clocked for street-legal vehicles with standard production tires. The course was only available to the development team from Weissach for one lap, and it had to be started from a standstill. The plug-in hybrid super sports car with over 795 hp was equipped with production tires from development partner Michelin as well as the optional “Weissach” package, which integrates modifications that boost driving performance.”

These lines appear to be written with at least a sideway glance at Wikipedia, where the List of Nürburgring Nordschleife lap times is being kept. The list demands that OEM tires are being used, and that a video is submitted. At the time of this typing, the 918 had not been added.

We asked Porsche about the video, and one was promised for September. With the lap time of the Lexus LFA standing at 7:14:64, we also inquired about the exact time. Porsche spokesman Holger Eckhardt says the 7:14 was “timed by hand, therefore, we only publish an approximation, generously rounded up.” With such inexact and ungerman  readings, a place on the list might be a bit shaky – until the proper timing gear arrives.

Currently, the fastest street-legal production car around the Nordschleife is the Dodge Viper ACR  (some claim it wasn’t street legal) with 7:12:13, followed by the Lexus LFA. Unless, of course, you believe that a car that needs a 45 minute start up procedure involving a laptop plugged into the ECU, and that needs an engine rebuild every 30 hours is a production car. In that case, the Radical SR8 (which would not get a license plate in Germany) is the top car.

PS: Some blogs that use other blogs to blog claim that veteran race driver Walter Röhrl (65) was behind the wheel of the ring-rounding 918. Not true, says Holger Eckhardt, “it wasn’t Walter Röhrl, it was a test driver.” The man in the picture isn’t Walter Röhrl either. It is Dr. Frank Walliser, project chief of the 918, and a proud man.


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13 Comments on “Porsche 918 Does Nordschleife In 07:14 – Film At 9/28...”

  • avatar

    “Unless, of course, you believe that a car that needs a 45 minute start up procedure involving a laptop plugged into the ECU, and that needs an engine rebuild every 30 hours is a production car.”

    I once owned an 85 VW Jetta that required a nearly 45 minute start up procedure and some sort of electrical component overhaul every 30 hours or so. Probably wasn’t all that fast though.

  • avatar

    It took me a really long time to realize that everything BUT the Martini stripe wasn’t black and white…

    Either way that’s very impressive, particularly for a production hybrid. Even if a majority of us couldn’t afford this car, we can all hope someday that the technology will trickle down into other cars. Soon we’ll be hearing stories of how great everyone’s electric Miatas are.

    • 0 avatar
      Freddy M

      Agreed. It’s an impressive feat unto itself, even if it ends up being officially behind the Viper and LFA.

      What I’d like to see is Toyota the Hybrid King picking up the gauntlet and unleashing an insane Prius R or something which in my mind would increase the coolness factor of the Prius a smidge.

      Or probably just hybridize the LFA. Whatever works.

  • avatar

    As stated, 7:14 may not be the “official” or “final” time.
    I was disappointed that it was not faster. For > $800K, I would think it should beat 7 minutes.

    But there are things we just don’t know:
    1) Were they really “pushing” the 918 during that point in their test phase?
    2) Was the car in its final configuration (it is still a prototype, after all)?
    3) Did a fully qualified professional test driver do the run?
    4) What were the track conditions? Wet? Dry? Warm? Cold?


  • avatar

    Shame if you didn’t get the Weissach package

  • avatar

    That can’t be on the Nürburgring, there’s no penis graffiti visible.

  • avatar

    Very disappointing. Not only is it slower than a Dodge that costs 1/7th the price, and only about as quick as a Toyota costing half as much (despite both having over 150 and 200 fewer hp respectively), Porsche’s doing a poor job of maintaining family hierarchy, as the 2/3 less expensive 8 year old platformed 997 GT2 RS with over 150 fewer hp is only 4 seconds behind this new supposed flagship.

    • 0 avatar

      Yes, how disappointing it is that a single car trying out something that’s still relatively new in this application didn’t perform as well as a handful of cars using technology that has existed and been refined over many many decades.

      That lap time is impressive regardless of what powers the car and how much said car costs. The fact that it’s doing it with methods that haven’t been put to this kind of use on a production car is even more so. While we still have a ways to go with alternate energy in cars, you have to start somewhere and this is a pretty good start for Porsche.

      • 0 avatar

        How is it a good start? This the technological and performance flagship of the most successful manufacturer in sports car racing, the company that has called the Nurburgring home for decades, the most powerful road car they’ve ever made, and it barely beats its little brother that has 175 fewer hp and the engine in backwards and a non factory driver? Never mind it loses to a Dodge that is essentially a 10 year old chassis with an engine that still uses pushrods and a car from a company that’s never built a supercar before and is best known for making the Maytag’s of the automotive world. 10 seconds behind it is a GT-R and as well as a 10 year old Maserati MC12 which probably wasn’t even on R compound tires. We definitely still have a ways to go. I’ll be curious to see how it does in the Stig’s hands. While I don’t think there’s much Porsche can do to tarnish it’s image in the market’s eyes and I’m sure they’ll sell every one of these they can make, it still seems like a step backwards from the company who’s previous idea of an all conquering technological tour de force performance flagship was the 959.

  • avatar
    Spanish Inquisition

    Did anybody else read this as “Walter Rohrl declined to drive some finicky car with stupid electric motor things, but otherwise would have done the Hamburgerring in 7:00 dead. In the rain. At night. With heavy fog.”?

  • avatar

    “and it had to be started from a standstill” translates into: “and it had to be started from a standstill because that’s the only way we can use the electric boost. The time for a flying lap is so bad we well never tell it anyone.”

  • avatar

    Tesla needs to go there and show those Krauts what some good ole Silicon Valley hooplah can do. Withe their newest battery packs, they may even have the range to go all the way around.

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