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    • A BMW E92 M3 does a Nurburgring lap in 7:36? Kind of... or Why all Nurburgring laptimes are not created equal

      The Nurburgring has become a sort of standard to measure track performance. Manufacturers tout their laptimes as evidence of this performance but the problem is there is not a set standard to follow. This leads to a bit of confusion regarding times and the video below of an M3 achieving a laptime of 7:36 is the perfect example of this. Why? Well, the explanation is below but not all Nurburgring laptimes are created equal.

      When the track is open to tourist driving sessions as it was in this video, the full main straight can not be driven due to safety reasons regarding cars entering and exiting the track combined with those going at full speed. So, this area is omitted. Laptimes are then measured from the "bridge" to the "gantry" areas. This means the laptime is artificially quicker than it should be although technically it still counts as a Nurburgring Nordschleife lap.

      When we see laptimes listed often like those tested by German magazine Sport Auto (which are counted as industry testing) they omit a section by Grandstand 13 due to safety reasons regarding those entering/exiting the track. For this reason a Sport Auto laptime is only 12.8 miles long whereas the track is 12.944 miles long.

      This is further complicated with the ring laptimes wars that have started as a result of Nissan pressing for times to showcase their vehicles performance. A flying laptime where one starts their full Nurburgring lap at full speed can only be done in closed sessions where others can not enter the track but this will artificially inflate a time as well. Now everyone is doing this to get the best time possible due to the importance being put on Nurburgring laptimes today as a measure of performance and means of comparison.

      The vast majority of laps will be stopped slightly short for safety. With no standard set and evidence pretty much being a video posted of the lap taking place along with a press release there will be a bit of deviation. So, take a look at the video below and before you are ready to proclaim an M3 with suspension and tire upgrades faster than a Lexus LF-A, Mercedes McLaren SLR, or Corvette ZR-1 realize that based on the day the lap is run, weather, and if it is open to the public will change the times considerably. Still, a very impressive laptime going to show what the M3 with mild changes for the track is capable of.



      This article was originally published in forum thread: 7:36 lap time in Nurburgring started by Sorena View original post
      Comments 50 Comments
      1. oddjob2021's Avatar
        oddjob2021 -
        Thanks for the info Sorena. Tires and suspension bits do wonders on a track, especially if a lap is as long as it is at Nurburgring. Exhaust is a minimal gain on an N/A car and the seats were for safety over performance I would think. Still, 30 seconds is a very nice gain. Nice find.
      1. DavidV's Avatar
        DavidV -
        Very Nice Lap.
        This guy knows his way around the Ring.
        Probably during dinnertime or a rented BMW trackday, very quiet and mostly Beamers on track. Not normal Touristfahren.
      1. Autobahn335i's Avatar
        Autobahn335i -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by oddjob2021 Click here to enlarge
        Thanks for the info Sorena. Tires and suspension bits do wonders on a track, especially if a lap is as long as it is at Nurburgring. Exhaust is a minimal gain on an N/A car and the seats were for safety over performance I would think. Still, 30 seconds is a very nice gain. Nice find.
        I permit to quote the driver of this lap, from another forum:

        The "official" 8:05 is the time measured by Sport Auto.

        Now it get's a little bit complicated. During normal public times we don't drive the full lap including the "Doettinger Hoehe" straight.
        That's the long straight where I enter at the beginning of the video and finish the lap.
        So we measure bridge to bridge as there's a bridge at the beginning and the end.

        The full straight is about 24sec.

        2nd thing is that Sport Auto doesn't measure the "T13" part of the track as during industrial testing on the track they use this part for entering and exit so there's a speed limit - that's why Sport Auto just completely leaves it away. This part is about 8sec long which I'm driving during public times.

        So to get a rough comparison. 7:36 + 24sec @Doettinger Hoehe = 8:00 - 8sec for T13 = 7:53min "Sport Auto Time".
      1. Sorena's Avatar
        Sorena -
        Hmmm, then it's a LOT less interesting than what it seemed before. Sorry guys for a unimpressive video.
      1. oddjob2021's Avatar
        oddjob2021 -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Autobahn335i Click here to enlarge
        I permit to quote the driver of this lap, from another forum:

        The "official" 8:05 is the time measured by Sport Auto.

        Now it get's a little bit complicated. During normal public times we don't drive the full lap including the "Doettinger Hoehe" straight.
        That's the long straight where I enter at the beginning of the video and finish the lap.
        So we measure bridge to bridge as there's a bridge at the beginning and the end.

        The full straight is about 24sec.

        2nd thing is that Sport Auto doesn't measure the "T13" part of the track as during industrial testing on the track they use this part for entering and exit so there's a speed limit - that's why Sport Auto just completely leaves it away. This part is about 8sec long which I'm driving during public times.

        So to get a rough comparison. 7:36 + 24sec @Doettinger Hoehe = 8:00 - 8sec for T13 = 7:53min "Sport Auto Time".
        Interesting. Seems you are way on top of this one Click here to enlarge 12 seconds from tires suspension and driver sound way more reasonable and expected with a 7-8 min lap.
      1. Autobahn335i's Avatar
        Autobahn335i -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by DavidV Click here to enlarge
        Very Nice Lap.
        This guy knows his way around the Ring.
        Probably during dinnertime or a rented BMW trackday, very quiet and mostly Beamers on track. Not normal Touristfahren.
        Actually it was done during the Touristenfahrten in the late afternoon weekdays. Awesome driving for sure!
      1. Autobahn335i's Avatar
        Autobahn335i -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sorena Click here to enlarge
        Hmmm, then it's a LOT less interesting than what it seemed before. Sorry guys for a unimpressive video.
        lol, you mad?

        Click here to enlarge
      1. Autobahn335i's Avatar
        Autobahn335i -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by oddjob2021 Click here to enlarge
        Interesting. Seems you are way on top of this one Click here to enlarge 12 seconds from tires suspension and driver sound way more reasonable and expected with a 7-8 min lap.
        Yes the driver really knows his way around the Ring. Although this kind of stuff is always a bit ambigious to me : during Touristenfahrten there are always slow/unexperienced drivers on the track (see the speed difference between the M3 and some cars he is overtaking). That makes for some scary moments for the slower drivers too (ask me how I know Click here to enlarge ).

        Additionnally there are many blind corners on the Ring. At this speed, you really have not much margin to avoid an unexpected obstacle. Now imagine someone spins/breaks down just after a fast corner and you get there at >150km/h... At best the car is totaled but chances are you'll make it into the local newspapers...

        So all my respect for the driver, but I'd keep the hunt for laptimes for closed trackdays.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Autobahn335i Click here to enlarge
        I permit to quote the driver of this lap, from another forum:

        The "official" 8:05 is the time measured by Sport Auto.

        Now it get's a little bit complicated. During normal public times we don't drive the full lap including the "Doettinger Hoehe" straight.
        That's the long straight where I enter at the beginning of the video and finish the lap.
        So we measure bridge to bridge as there's a bridge at the beginning and the end.

        The full straight is about 24sec.

        2nd thing is that Sport Auto doesn't measure the "T13" part of the track as during industrial testing on the track they use this part for entering and exit so there's a speed limit - that's why Sport Auto just completely leaves it away. This part is about 8sec long which I'm driving during public times.

        So to get a rough comparison. 7:36 + 24sec @Doettinger Hoehe = 8:00 - 8sec for T13 = 7:53min "Sport Auto Time".
        This is complicated. So how do we know what times use the full lap and which ones don't?
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by oddjob2021 Click here to enlarge
        Interesting. Seems you are way on top of this one Click here to enlarge 12 seconds from tires suspension and driver sound way more reasonable and expected with a 7-8 min lap.
        The only mods are suspension and tires?
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Autobahn335i Click here to enlarge
        Touristenfahrten
        What is this? Heh, sounds out like Tourist farting.
      1. Autobahn335i's Avatar
        Autobahn335i -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        What is this? Heh, sounds out like Tourist farting.
        lol

        "Tourist driving" would be the translation. Basically, anyone (even tourists Click here to enlarge ) can book a lap, as long as the car is street legal.
      1. Autobahn335i's Avatar
        Autobahn335i -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        The only mods are suspension and tires?
        There are a few more goodies on the car: roll cage, race seats, GT4 rear wing and front lip... and then some probably Click here to enlarge
      1. oddjob2021's Avatar
        oddjob2021 -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        The only mods are suspension and tires?
        according to the OP:
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sorena Click here to enlarge
        The car has new tires, wheels, suspension, exhaust and racing seats
        so Sticky, i discounted the variables that made little difference. one could argue the racing seat made a difference... that less driver movement = more control, and the small weight savings. you also could argue about the wheels, less rotational mass if it's a racing wheel. you even could argue about the exhaust... more weight savings and a few hp... but what really matter are the suspension and the tires, oh and of course the driver!
      1. Sorena's Avatar
        Sorena -
        ^Agreed. The tires do the biggest part, after that comes suspension in second. Slick tires shave a good amount of time of your lap time on the ring.
      1. Autobahn335i's Avatar
        Autobahn335i -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sorena Click here to enlarge
        ^Agreed. The tires do the biggest part, after that comes suspension in second. Slick tires shave a good amount of time of your lap time on the ring.
        +1 Tires and suspension will affect lap time alot. Slick tires aren't allowed on the Ring though, as the car has to be street legal. Tires used were 265/35-18 Michelin Pilot Cups all around on 9,5x18 stock BMW wheels.

        But I wouldn't underestimate the seats + harness. Besides the safety factor, at these levels you need a good seat which will hold you very tight. If your body is sliding everywhere due to the high G-forces, you'll lose more time than you would expect. Especially on a track like the Ring with high-speed corners and elevation changes. Simply because you are less in control of the car.

        Light wheels will definitely impact handling too. I even felt a big difference right away when I switched from stock brakes to the BBK which shaved off a couple kgs unsuspended masses on every corner.

        The car seems to have a stripped interior, at least the rear. Weight savings are always welcome.

        In the end, it's the complete package which results in such a great time, driver included.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        So this isn't a real 7:36? I'm confused now. And Sport Auto's times aren't accurate either?

        I have no idea.
      1. Sorena's Avatar
        Sorena -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        So this isn't a real 7:36? I'm confused now.

        It isn't while it is.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        ALSDJFLAKSDJFLASD this is confusing as $#@!.
      1. Autobahn335i's Avatar
        Autobahn335i -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        So this isn't a real 7:36? I'm confused now. And Sport Auto's times aren't accurate either?

        I have no idea.
        lol

        It's a real 7:36 "bridge-to-gate" time: the benchmark for all amateur ring drivers. Since the main straight is not open during tourist driving, all times are taken between these landmarks on the track.

        SportAuto times are great to compare the cars they've tested. It's just not an universal standard. Nor is it the best ever reachable time: a pro race- or testdriver could probably shave a few seconds off, but that's not the purpose of these tests.

        Not really confusing, is it? Click here to enlarge