America: Home of the fastest Nürburgring times
General Motors has been hard at work the past few years trying to make sports cars and saloon cars that meet the strict performance standards of the German car makers like BMW, Porsche, Audi and Mercedes-Benz. First step, start testing on the German Nürburgring. The Nürburgring is a German race track since the 1920’s, set in the mountain and castle town of Nürburg.The German automakers have had a wild reign on the Ring for many a year. Now it’s the American’s turn…
Since the inception of the C6 Corvette, GM has been hard at work trying to make better, affordable, safe, but still extremely fun cars for the American automotive enthusiast. Corvette fans were tired of hearing that the Corvette may be faster in a straight line, but throw it on a track and watch a good driver in a BMW M3 school you. Corvette has always had a good fight with the Porsche 911’s as well, but this time, if Corvette couldn’t come with a clear cut win in a race, they might as well pack their bags and sell a four-door sedan.
The Corvette started its new life on the Nürburgring. It worked too, especially when the new Z06 model came out with 505hp and 470lb-ft of torque. That was amazing and all, but if it couldn’t beat the world’s best, it wasn’t worth the all new $70,000 price tag. It just so happens, that as the automotive world was excited to see the new Z06 and asking how fast it was on the track, Jan Magnussen, a factory Corvette Le Mans racing driver, piloted the new Zed around the Ring in a tire blazing 7:42.9. To this day, that is a time that keeps with cars that have 100 or more horsepower than the Z06 on tap. That also happens to be faster than the Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano. Now the Corvette is just as fast as the rest and cost anywhere from $20,000 to hundreds of thousands less than the competition.
Now though, there has been a new battle working on the Ring. The Cadillac CTS-V has kept a back door racing view in comparison to the BMW M3 and M5. Now, the CTS-V is about to come out for 2009 with an all new supercharged V8 and 550hp or more. That is 50hp easily over the V10 M5 and 124hp more than the V8 M3. Cadillac has just announced an official lap time of 7:59.32. If you didn’t realize already, that is 14 seconds faster than the current BMW E60 M5. That makes the new CTS-V the fastest stock saloon ever on the Nürburgring. What in the hell has happened here? When did the Germans start to lose the fastest lap time war around the Ring?
Well, it gets better. You know the little Chevy Cobalt SS? Chevrolet has reworked it for the new year. An all new, more sublime turbocharger makes it good for 260hp and 260lb-ft of torque. Opel used to hold the fastest FWD lap times around the Nurburgring. Now, it belongs to the SS. The Cobalt SS lapped a great time of 8:22.85. That beats the Opel Astra OPC’s 8:35.93 by 13 seconds. An 8:22 on the Ring is faster than E46 M3’s in case you didn’t know.
I know that I have only mentioned GM vehicles, this is not to say that Ford and Chrylser haven’t been doing their own Ring testing, I am just saying that the cars from General Motors have presented the most competition and been the best on the Nürburgring thus far.
What has America come to? We now have incredibly fast and fun sports cars that can do battle with the Germans. Even though I am a German car nut, and I may write for BMW Blog, I still get excited when I see cars like the Corvette Z06 and Cadillac CTS-V compete well with the Germans and Italians that are usually far superior in every little thing imaginable. I can’t wait to see what the new Camaro will do around the Ring as well. I enjoy good, steady competition. It makes the fight that much more enjoyable and that better of a race. I prefer competition, it makes me work harder. Don’t expect the Germans to be taking this one on the chin either, rumor has it the new M5 due out in a couple more years will have well over 550hp from a turbo setup. Hmm… Do I smell a turbo/supercharging war brewing? Anyone want some popcorn?
Just thought I would let you guys know about why I say “Happy Motoring.” My grandfather for many years, or at least as long as I can remember, has always said that to my family or anyone else when they went on a long driving trip. It has always stuck in my mind the way that Dennis Gage from My Classic Car on Speed Channel always says “and remember, honor the timeless classics.” Being a big car guy, and always being interested in driving short, long, any kind of distance really, I took >to these statements has not quotes but more like cool thoughts from life. I hope you guys enjoy the new quote that will adorn RawAutos.com for now on.
[Photos courtesy of: Roadfly Forums, Autoblog, About.com, Becker]