New N’Ring King

By Bruce McCulloch
10.17.2007

It would appear that the near-thirteen mile Nürburgring Nordschliefe circuit has a new king.

According to English publication “EVO”, Pagani Automobili and their fabulous Zonda F “Clubsport” – a faster, more taut and powerful version of the regular unit – has finally stolen the long held crown from the Porsche Carrera GT.

Porsche’s $450,000 flagship had reportedly set a lap time of 7 minutes, 28 seconds with the company’s master test driver, Walter Röhrl at the helm in 2004. Meanwhile, shortly thereafter, well-respected German publication Sport Auto was eventually given the chance to set a lap time themselves, and with racing-trained driver Horst Von Saumra at the wheel, the magazine set a ground-breaking lap time of 7 minutes, 32.44 seconds. And thus was a huge achievement, as it was not only the fastest car Sport Auto had ran around the ‘Ring, but it was a figure which undercut most other records – save for a few 600kg go-karts.

The Zonda, equipped with semi-slick tyres -albeit completely road legal – and driven by Porsche SuperCup Driver Marc Basseng, set an official recorded lap time of 7:27.82. Though there is still little difference between the Porsche’s manufacturer claim and this one, you’ve really got to hand it to the small Modenese supercar manufacturer. With a small budget and a car boasting relatively old-fashioned technology, they’ve managed to attain the prestige award of saying they having the fastest road-legal supercar on the ‘Ring. Such a lap time also undercuts Pagani Automobili’s previous two attempts, both attempted by Sport Auto with the Zonda F and the Zonda S; 7:33 and 7:44 respectively.

What makes this all even more impressive was that the vehicle that was used was generously loaned by an owner(!) and therefore is completely road-legal.

In addition to the lap time’s boast-ability, company founder Horacio Pagani also claims the reason he attempted such was because it marked the 50th anniversary of when the car’s inspiration, Juan Manuel Fangio, won, despite great odds, what most enthusiasts label as the greatest race of all time.

Should you desire to learn more about this glorious achievement, you’ll have to keep an eye out for the November issue of EVO Magazine.

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Author: Brendan Moore

Brendan Moore is a Principal Consultant with Cedar Point Consulting , a management consulting practice based in the Washington, DC area. He also manages Autosavant Consulting, a separate practice within Cedar Point Consulting. where he advises businesses connected to the auto industry. Cedar Point Consulting can be found at http://www.cedarpointconsulting.com.

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2 Comments

  1. That a company as small as Pagani could do this in this day and age is nothing short of stunning. My personal congratulations to everyone there at Pagani.

    Brendan Moore

  2. I wonder how long they’ll have the course record before Porsche gets it back? I predict less than six months. Porsche is not going to let that go, especially on their home turf.

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