Video: McLaren P1 achieves sub-7-minute Nurburgring lap

AFP
First Published: 11:22 IST(7/12/2013)
Last Updated: 15:02 IST(7/12/2013)
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The UK supercar company has become only the second in history to complete the most grueling of circuits with a road legal car in such a short time and it celebrates the monumental achievement with a short film.

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At 20.83km and with 154 bends, the Nürburgring-Nordschleife circuit is no ordinary race track. But then, the McLaren P1 -- a hybrid electric/V8 powered hypercar -- is no ordinary car. When the prototype was first revealed at the 2012 Paris Motor Show, McLaren's boss, Ron Dennis, pledged that the company was going to do whatever it took to break the seven-minute barrier with the production model.

The new video, posted to McLaren's official YouTube channel on Friday, shows that Dennis is as good as his word.

Weaving through the Eifel forest in Germany, the Nurburgring-Nordschleife was the scene of Niki Lauda's near-fatal accident and the reason why following that now legendary 1976 race -- recently depicted in the Ron Howard film "Rush" -- the course was declared too dangerous for Formula One.

But what was Formula One's loss has quickly become supercar owners' gain as the track has become the ultimate proving ground for everything from the Ferrari Enzo to the Nissan GT-R. Even Chevrolet has started testing its Corvettes on the course that former Formula One great Sir Jackie Stewart famously christened "The Green Hell."

Until this year, no completely road-legal production car had ever set a time of under seven minutes for the full circuit, but now two cars have managed it within a handful of months. In September, Porsche announced that its 918 Spyder had achieved an official lap time of 6 minutes and 57 seconds. And now McLaren has announced that its P1 has also set a sub-seven-minute time but is yet to reveal the exact lap time.

In order to achieve such a feat the 20.8km course needs to be driven at an average speed in excess of 178 kph, simple on the straight, especially when a car is capable of 350kph in ideal conditions, but to retain some of that momentum through over 150 bends and with lateral forces of over 2G is an incredible engineering and driving achievement.

To put that into perspective, the 2012 Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1 managed it in 7 minutes 19 seconds and the mighty Ferrari Enzo in 7 minutes and 25 seconds. The latest Nissan GT-R came pretty close with 7 minutes and 8 seconds.

Of the McLaren's lap time, former Formula One world champion and current driver Jensen Button said: "Over the past dozen-or-so years I've owned a lot of ultra-high-performance road cars. I've driven the McLaren P1 on a number of occasions -- including up the hill at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, where it was sensational -- and I think it's a truly superb machine: unbelievably refined yet unbelievably quick. But, as I say, for it to have recorded a sub-seven minute lap time around the Nürburgring is the icing on the cake: proof positive, backed by hard data, on the greatest racetrack of them all, that McLaren has created a genuine game-changer."

The announcement will be great news for customers who have already ordered a P1 but will come tinged with sadness for anyone who was putting off their purchase until the lap time was reported. McLaren has just confirmed that it has already sold all 375 examples of the €1,030,000 (US$1,350,000) car.

If McLaren has succeeded in not just breaking the seven minute barrier but in beating the Porsche to the fastest ever time, it won't be the first notable Nurburgring victory for the company. The last Formula One race to take place at the Nurburgring, back in 1976, was also won by McLaren.


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