It's a fact that Nürburgring lap times have become something of a standard when it comes to comparing sports cars’ performance. Car & Driver magazine decided that it was impractical to conduct its annual Lightning Lap event in Germany as they had 20 cars to test, so its editors chose the Virginia International Raceway (VIR) as the U.S. equivalent of the ‘Ring.
While the 4.1-mile long track is one-third of the Nordschleife, it features more than 30 turns and elevation changes and, according to C&D, it makes for a demanding venue in which to test each car to its limits.
The Lightning Lap test is all about lap times. New cars are divided into five sub-categories according to their price, starting with LL1 for cars costing up to US$29,999 and topping up to LL5 for cars that exceed US$240,000, plus an "LLOink" segment for police vehicles...
This year, the LL4 class, which contains cars priced between US$120k-240k consisted of two contenders: the Jaguar XKR-S and the Ferrari 458 Italia. Needless to say, the Leaping Cat was easily whipped by the Prancing Horse when it came to lap times.
The Ferrari, though, didn’t stop there; it also beat the Lexus LFA, which at US$379,575 was the only entry in the LL5 class and is over $140k more expensive than the Ferrari.
Lexus’ supercar may be a brilliant piece of engineering and it earned nothing but praise but, in the end, its 2:55.1 lap time was noticeably slower than the 2:49.9 posted by the 458 Italia in the VIR.
You can watch a video of the LL4-LL5 test, along with the two videos showing all the 2013 contenders right after the break.
By Andrew Tsaousis