919 Tribute Tour: Timo Bernhard breaks 35-year-old Nordschleife record
Another milestone on the 919 Tribute Tour! It was 29 June 2018. The 919 Hybrid Evo was on the starting grid at the Nürburgring to write motorsport history once again. The mission was to set a new record on the 20.832-kilometre Nordschleife circuit. The driver was Timo Bernhard, 37, two-time Le Mans winner and the reigning World Endurance Champion. The result was a time of 5:19.55 minutes at an average speed of 233.8 km/h. This is a new circuit record! It meant that Timo Bernhard had beaten the previous record time set by Stefan Bellof by a margin of 51.58 seconds.
“This is a tremendous moment for me and for the whole team. It is the crowning glory of the 919 programme,” said Timo Bernhard with great delight. “The Evo was perfectly prepared, and I gave it my all on this lap. The aerodynamic contact pressure meant that I was able to drive at full speed on some sections on which I would never previously have contemplated going so fast. I really am very familiar with the Nordschleife. But today I got to know it all over again,” emphasised the five-time overall winner of the 24 Hour Race at the Nürburgring.
Review: On 28 May 1983, the legendary driver Stefan Bellof set the record time of 6:11.13 minutes in his 620 hp Rothmans Porsche 956 on a practice lap on the Nordschleife. This was a circuit record that was set to last for 35 years and 31 days. “For me Stefan Bellof is and remains a giant,” explained Bernhard after setting his record. “My respect for his achievement with the technology that existed at the time has become even greater today.”
Like almost no other racing circuit, the Nürburgring together with its legendary Nordschleife places supreme demands on materials and the skill of the driver. The challenging route weaving its way through the densely wooded and winding terrain of the Volcanic Eifel region is unforgiving and always presents a real challenge even for consummate professionals.
This is a tremendous moment for me and for the whole team. It is the crowning glory of the 919 programme
Records have been set, heroes have been celebrated and legends have been born at the Nürburgring for as long as anyone can remember. The 919 Hybrid boasts an impressive track record of victories at the Eifel circuit which is so steeped in history. When the World Endurance Championship made its first appearance in Germany in 2015, the two Porsche teams claimed a rousing first and second place finish. First on the podium were Hartley, Bernhard and Bamber. Dumas, Jani and Lieb occupied second place. The successful trio of Bernhard/Hartley/Webber were again the first to cross the finish line in 2016, and the sister car finished in fourth place. The next first and second place finish came in 2017. Once again Bernhard, Hartley and Webber had their noses in front, closely followed by the Porsche trio of Jani, Lotterer and Tandy.
The 919 Tribute Tour continues – be part of it! The next stop is the 25 Hour VW Fun Cup at the Spa-Franchorchamps race circuit from 6 - 8 July 2018.