VIDEO: Did VW cheat to make this 7m49s lap?

Official 'Ring Taxi for the Nordschleife by Jaguar RaceTaxi Nürburgring
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Wow, my mind boggles. The world’s largest automobile manufacturer hires the world’s biggest (and sometimes most expensive) racing track and attempts a lap record.

And then they record it on a badly installed, aimed at the sky, microphone-almost-none-functional RaceNavigator.

But still… here it is. In all it’s ‘glory’. Now, let’s take a closer look.

Did VW ‘cheat’ to make this time?

I don’t think so, really I don’t. Why? Because here’s a slower, but similar, lap I did in my own VW/MQB/EA888 machine, my SEAT Leon ST Cupra 280. I might not be a factory racing pilot, but I know my way around the ‘Ring, and even in my daily driver on a busy trackday, I’m not too slow. And because my car might* have been chipped to 340hp, we can use one of my Harry’s datalogs to see if the Golf above was running 310 horsepower…

Those are my SEAT’s speeds in some key sections, measured on a Dual XGPS at 10hz. And, sure enough, when I don’t hit any traffic, they’re very similar to the Golf. Remembering that the Golf is nearly 100kg lighter than my Cupra, take a look here:

  • Schwedenkreuz: the Golf takes advantage of the newer, faster Flugplatz to post a near identical speed to the 340hp SEAT. The lighter weight and a superior entry speed account for this. Don’t worry.
  • Kesslelchen: The SEAT walks this section, as you’d expect from a car with more horsepower. 221kmh versus a faltering 216kmh from the Golf. Proof that the Golf probably wasn’t chipped to hell.
  • Döttinger Höhe: Horsepower makes top speed, and my slippery SEAT estate walks this with 263kmh to 240-ish from the Golf. They didn’t cheat!

And let’s not forget that the Nordschleife is, unarguably, a few fractions quicker this year thanks to the faster Quiddelbächer Hohe section and resurfaced.

Take a look for yourself here:

So, fair play, VW… you actually posted some numbers that I trust!

Addendum: Interestingly, when I caught them running the laptimes live on that facebook video broadcast, it was the FIRST time that was the best. We could figure out the times of the next 4 laps, but the best lap actually started well before I figured out it was an attempt (1746 to 1753). After that, the tyres just got hotter and the engine probably suffered more heat-soak.

If you compare the fact that this lap was done on a weekday evening at 1753 (just before TF opened) against the 100% fictional account from VW, it’s really worth a laugh!

Chronology of a record-setting drive

Wolfsburg / Nürburgring, May 2016 – A cool spring morning. The Nürburgring Nordschleife. Temperatures slowly rise. Warmed up, the car waits, crackling in the pit lane. The new Golf GTI Clubsport S. The mission: to write history… read more here.

*Are you my service manager or warranty administrator? Because I didn’t really chip my car, I just made this up for the internet. That’s not my car. It’s my friend’s car. What’s that behind you? RUN!

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