If it wasn’t for the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 development team, Porsche never would have set the 911 GT3 RS Nürburgring Nordschleife record with a lap time of 6:56.4
When Porsche nabbed the ‘Ring record with the new 911 GT2 RS (6 minutes, 47.3 seconds) the team had to book time at the Nordschleife nearly a year in advance, such is the circuit calendar juggling tourist track days with official racing weekends and manufacturer development programmes.
This year with the new 911 GT3 RS (basically the GT2 RS without the turbochargers) Porsche kind of forgot to book the track in advance, and just decided to gate crash the place anyway.
“We went there, pretty much the first to arrive at the track, with an official and two stop watches,” Oliver Berg, Porsche GT product manager, tells Motormouth.
The Corvette guys were just standing there with their mouths on the floor. They didn’t expect us to do that on the first lap…
Turning up to the ‘Ring the Weissach team arrived to find the track booked for the whole day by their rivals from the Corvette camp, who are also holed up in the Eifel mountains with a GM development team permanently based in Germany to hone hot Cadillacs and ‘Vettes. This time they had the Corvette ZR1 out presumably for the same reason as Porsche, chasing sixes.
“Most of the engineers here know each other,” says Berg, “Because they’re always testing at the Nürburgring, and there is real camaraderie between them, a nice atmosphere.”
Graciously the Corvette team parked their ZR1 and allowed the Germans an hour of Chevrolet’s reserved track time, but as it turned out Porsche only needed half the time.
“When we started the first lap everybody had their mobile phones out,” says Berg. “Before, when we ran in traffic on a busy day we were in the low sevens, so we thought we could reach the sixes. But then the first lap was – Baam! – six-fifty-nine…”
“The first thing my boss said was ‘Oh we can stop now, we’ve achieved our goal.’” says Berg. “And the Corvette guys were just standing there with their mouths on the floor. They didn’t expect us to do that on the first lap.
“Then, second stint – Baam! – fifty-nine…”
“Third stint – Baam! – fifty-nine…”
“Fourth stint – and baam! – fifty six… They’ve been there all week, and we didn’t even need the hour – we left after half an hour. And the Corvette guys are still ‘Huh?’, speechless… But really nice guys.”
We asked Berg whether that means Porsche will return the favour one day when the Corvette guys need an hour.
“Maybe,” says Berg, “We can give them an hour, but I don’t know if that will help them…”
Now check out the full video of Kévin Estre’s 6:56.4 lap time in the new Porsche 911 GT3 RS below: