Friday, 29 June 2018

Porsche smashes Bellof's record at the Nordschleife (updated)

5.19.546, that's the new lap record of the Nürburgring Nordschleife, set by Timo Bernhard in the Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo this morning. 

© Porsche


Two times Le Mans winner and reigning World Endurance Champion Bernhard broke the longstanding lap record of Stefan Bellof from May 28th 1983.  Bellof lapped the Nordschleife in 6.11.13 in his Porsche 956C during qualifying for the 1000 km of the Nurburgring.

This Friday morning Timo  Bernhard's laptime over the 20.832 km Nordschleife circuit in 5 minutes and 19.55 seconds results in an average speed of 233.8 km/h on what is revered by race drivers, engineers and enthusiasts alike as the world’s most difficult track. Driving the Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo, Bernhard beat the previous lap record, set by Stefan Bellof, by 51.58 seconds.

For 35 years and 31 days Bellof’s 6:11.13 minutes record remained uncontested. The German driver from Gießen, who tragically died at Spa-Francorchamps in 1985, counted as the biggest racing talent of his time. He drove his record on May 28 in 1983 at the wheel of a powerful 620 bhp Rothmans Porsche 956 C during qualifying practice for the 1000-kilometer sports car race. Also his average speed was over 200 km/h. It's also to be noted that Bellof set that time during a qualifying session - with traffic - which makes it even more impressive.



Proud and relieved Timo Bernhard, five-time overall winner of the Nürburgring 24-hours, two-time outright winner of the Le Mans 24-hours and reigning World Endurance Champion with the Porsche 919 Hybrid, clambered out of the tight Le Mans prototype cockpit. “This is a great moment for me and for the entire team – the 919 programme’s icing on the cake. The Evo was perfectly prepared and I have done my best on this lap. Thanks to the aerodynamic downforce, at sections I never imagined you can stay on full throttle. 

Timo Bernhard raced with a replica of Bellof's helmet 
at the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps in 2015


I’m pretty familiar with the Nordschleife. But today I got to learn it in a new way”, said the 37-year old from Bruchmühlbach-Miesau in the German region of Saarpfalz. He is a huge admirer of Stefan Bellof. In 2015, on the thirtieth anniversary of Bellof’s fatal accident, Timo raced at the Spa-Francorchamps 6-hour race of the FIA World Endurance Championship with a helmet carrying the famous black-red-gold design of the 1980s star. “For me Stefan Bellof is and remains a giant”, he emphasises. “Today my respect for his achievement with the technology available back then increased even more.”

Today’s success is the second track record on the Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo tally: On April 9 this year in Spa, the dramatic evolution of the three-times Le Mans winner lapped faster than a Formula One car with Neel Jani at the wheel. The 34-year old Porsche works driver from Switzerland – Le Mans outright winner and Endurance World Champion of 2016 – set a lap of 1:41,770 minutes on the 7.004 kilometre (4.35 mile) Grand Prix circuit in the Belgian Ardennes mountains. He topped the previous track record, set by Lewis Hamilton in 2017 qualifying, by 0.783 seconds. The British Mercedes driver took pole position for the Belgian Grand Prix in 1:42.553 minutes.

© Porsche


The Evo version of the Porsche 919 Hybrid is based on the car that took outright victory at the Le Mans 24-Hours and won the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Over the winter, it was freed from some restrictions hitherto determined by the regulations. Thus, its hybrid power train now develops a system output of 1160 hp. The Evo weighs only 849 kilograms and its modified (and now active) aerodynamics generate over 50 per cent more downforce compared to the WEC model. Top speed at the Nürburgring was 369.4 km/h (229.5 mph).

LMP Team Principal Andreas Seidl commented: “As a race team we constantly search for challenges that push a car, driver and team to operate on the limit. Conquering the “Green Hell” definitely provided such a challenge. Since last winter we were preparing for that task together with our tyre partner Michelin – painstakingly and with a great deal of respect for this track. Today we have shown the full potential of the 919 Evo. Congratulations to Timo for his sensational drive. Being a record winner at the Nürburgring, Timo was the logical choice for the job. Balancing attack and caution at all times was mandatory on this circuit. Safety is the highest priority. In this regard, I also like to thank the Nürburgring team. Porsche cultivates a long and deep relationship with the ‘Ring. Record attempts wouldn’t be possible without the highly professional track support.“

© Porsche


Fritz Enzinger, Vice President LMP1, added: “A big thank you goes to our development team in Weissach and the crew on site for the focused and safe operation of this record attempt. It is terrific what our team has achieved in four years in the World Endurance Championship: From 2015 to 2017 three overall wins in Le Mans and three drivers’ and three manufacturers’ world championship titles. This isn’t easy to be reproduced by anyone. The Tribute Tour is our homage on these years. We didn’t want to see the most innovative race car of its time disappearing unceremoniously in to the museum. Thanks to the support from our partners, we were able to develop the Evo version of the Porsche 919 Hybrid for record attempts.”

No comments:

Post a Comment