Porsche has obliterated the outright Nurburgring Nordschleife lap record by setting a time of 5 minutes 19.55 seconds with a modified version of its Le Mans winning 919 race car.

Driven by Germany's Timo Bernhard around the iconic 20.8 kilometre German circuit on Friday 29 June, the 919 Evo Hybrid beat the 35 year old lap record of 6:11.13 set by Stefan Bellof in a Porsche 956 C back in 1983. In so doing, Bernhard attained an astonishing average speed of 233.8km/h.

Porsche also holds the production car lap record at the Nurburgring after its 911 GT2 clocked a 6:47.3 in September 2017.

The Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo is a development of the Le Mans LMP1 prototype with which Porsche won the Le Mans 24-hour race in 2015, 2016 and 2017 as well as the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) three times in a row.

Now that it's quit the championship, Porsche wanted to see what the 919 was really capable of without the WEC's stringent performance-limiting rules.So the German team tweaked the power and improved the aerodynamics to make the fastest possible version of the 919.

And what a race car it turned out to be! Power in the petrol-electric two-litre turbo V4 that powers the rear axle was raised to 536kW - up from about 372kW in race trim - while the electric motor powering the front wheels makes 328kW. A much larger rear wing with an active drag reduction system - like an F1 car's - give the up-specced Porsche more downforce in the corners and better top speed on the straights.

Porsche is taking the 919 Hybrid Evo on a global road trip as a farewell journey before it's placed in a museum, and the first leg of its trip was smashing the lap record at Belgium's Spa-Francorchamps circuit back in April.

Driven by Switzerland's Neel Jani, the Porsche lapped Spa in just 1m41.77s on 9 April, nearly a second quicker than Lewis Hamilton's Formula One lap record of 1m42.553s when he took pole position for the 2017 Belgian Grand Prix in his Mercedes F1 car. Jani achieved a top speed of 359 km/h and an average speed of 245.61 km/h on his record lap.

The next stop on the 919's record-chasing farewell tour will be the Goodwood Festival of speed at Brands Hatch in the UK on July 12-15.

IOL Motoring