Ladies and Gentlemen of the Internet, please be upstanding for the fastest production car ever to lap the Nürburgring. At 5pm on 4 November, German racing driver Maro Engel set a laptime of 6m 43.616s in the new Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series, beating the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ by just over a second and the Porsche 911 GT2 RS by around four seconds.
Mercedes tells us that for the record attempt, which was conducted on a cold day on a track that was “not yet totally dry”, it made full use of the Black Series’ adjustable suspension and aero. It extended the Black’s front splitter to the ‘Race’ position and adjusted the lower and upper blades of the rear wing to their middle position.
Meanwhile it set the adjustable anti-roll bars to their stiffest setting, dialled-in -3.8 and -3 degrees of camber on the front and rear axles respectively and dropped the adjustable coilover suspension by 5mm and 3mm front/rear to “enhance the venturi effect of the front diffuser”. It claims that “customers can also take advantage of all these settings and variations”. If said customers are handy with a set of spanners, of course.
Engel set the nine-stage traction control system to position six or seven “depending on the section of track”. And for the lap the Black wore standard fit Michelin “Pilot Sport Cup 2 R MO” tyres.
Nowadays attempts to set a record-breaking laptime at the ‘Ring are governed by a strict set of rules to keep everyone on a level playing field. Vehicles and tyres are inspected “with regard to their series-production state”, sophisticated timing equipment must be used and an independent notary has to be present to verify that manufacturers are behaving themselves.
Vehicles are put into categories as defined by the German Federal Motor Transport Authority – the Black is a “sports car” – and two times recorded. The one quoted on the ‘Ring’s website is for the full 20.832km circuit. However manufacturers tend to quote times for the 20.6km circuit, which Mercedes says “has been the measure of all things” for years. The shorter lap has different start and finish lines, so if you think about it, isn’t really a lap at all.
It’s times for the 20.6km course that we quoted at the start of this article. The Black’s laptime for the 20.832km circuit is 6m 48.047s. Still a record for the fastest “production car” to ever lap the Nürburgring.
But the Black isn’t the fastest “road-legal sports car” to have lapped the ‘Ring. That honour goes to a Porsche 911 GT2 RS modified by Manthey Racing, which in early 2018 set a time of 6m 40.3s (6m 44.749s for the 20.832km track).