Another Nürburgring Nordschleife record has fallen, ladies and gentlemen, and the car that beat it is… not a car. It’s the VW Transporter van, which set an unofficial lap record in the hands of British touring car ace Rob Austin.
The HMS Racing driver covered the infamous race track in 9 minutes 58 seconds, enough to beat the previous record set by Sabine Schmitz in 2005 with a Ford Transit. Back then, the German queen of the Nürburgring posted a lap time of 10 minutes 08.49 seconds as part of a Top Gear episode, which means Austin was almost 10 seconds quicker.
However, the Transporter T6 is not the fastest-ever van around the Green Hell: that honor belongs to another VW Transporter, a Revo-tuned T5. The 220-hp van was clocked at 9 minutes 57.36 seconds in 2013, an impressive feat given that it covered the full circuit.
Both Schmitz and Austin covered the bridge to gantry version, which is around a mile (1.61 km) shorter. Still, the 9-minute 58-second time makes the Transporter T6 one second quicker than the Jaguar S-Type Diesel driven by Jeremy Clarkson in 2004 in another Top Gear episode. That’s further confirmation his time was rubbish. For reference, Schmitz posted a 9:12 lap in the same car.
The stock VW Transporter that set the most recent record was a mid-range 150 PS (148 hp) diesel model supplied by Northgate Vehicle Hire, the UK’s largest van rental company. Rob Austin managed to post the landmark time after two days of testing and track attempts.
The following video chronicles how he made that happen and shows the T6 pushed well beyond the limits of what a cargo van is designed to do. It’s certainly fun to watch, though.