The Nürburgring and Le Mans are both race tracks, but each represents a different side of the automotive coin. When an automaker wants to prove it can build an all-out race car, it enters one of the categories at Le Mans. When an automaker wants to prove it can build an all-around road car, it goes to the Nürburgring. Yet the 'Ring as a global phenomenon and lap-time graveyard is recent; the Nordschleife didn't appear in Playstation's 'Gran Turismo' until GT4 in 2004. Today, it's unimaginable that a high-profile racing game wouldn't include the 'Ring from the off.
It's been a wild 15 years for both the video game and the track, so the folks at Sony put together a 19-minute video on how the 'Ring and the game have changed.
Though announced a few months ago, we're now getting our first look at the 2020 Toyota Supra that will be part of Gazoo Racing's two-car assault (the other is a Lexus LC race car) on the Nürburgring 24 Hours endurance race held by the VLN series that races exclusively at the German race track. It appears virtually identical to the Toyota Supra GT4 concept shown in March. The bodywork is mostly stock except for the front and side splitters and the giant rear wing. And if it's based on the GT4 concept, which was built for the SRO's GT4 class, that means it surely has a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six closely related to the production car.
The car will be racing in the SP8T class, which is a relatively open class permitting body modifications such as what we see on this GT4-style Supra. SP8T is specifically for cars up to 4.0 liters of displacement with forced induction. This will be the third VLN race in which the Supra has competed. Of the two previous races, the Supra has finished only one.
Almost exactly two years after the 2017 Honda Civic Type R set a new front-wheel-drive production car record at the Nürburgring Nordschleife, it lost it. The new record holder is the Renault Megane R.S. Trophy-R with a time of 7 minutes 40.1 seconds. That's 3.7 seconds faster than the Civic on the roughly 13-mile racetrack. You can see the record lap, which was set on April 5, above.
As for the record-setting Renault, it's based on the Renault Megane R.S. Trophy and uses the same turbocharged 1.8-liter inline-four making 295 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. Where it differs is in weight savings and improved suspension. Exact details aren't available on the chassis upgrades, but the Trophy-R weighs about 287 pounds less than the regular Trophy model.
Toyota just finished and opened a proving grounds facility in Japan with a Nürburgring-inspired racetrack as one of the main events at the complex.
"Based on long experience of the Nürburgring Nordschleife, which is famous throughout the world for its grueling driving conditions, Toyota has designed an exacting test course that takes advantage of local topography and features a roughly 75-meter change in elevation between its highest and lowest points, as well as a wide range of curves and corners."
The looks. That has to be the number one reason most folks get turned off the Honda Civic Type R. Fake vents, a giant boy-racer wing, and enough wild scoops and diagonals to make any sculptor look on with horror. But hey, it's a Type R, and it drives like one. Therefore, we sort of forgive it.
These new spy shots of what might be a minor facelift of the Type R show things are changing, but just a little bit. We saw shots of this refresh last year, and there are a couple new details, with a whole lot of carryover from before. For one, that's a yellow Type R circling the Nurburgring. It's no guarantee that Honda plans on giving the U.S. market a Phoenix Yellow Type R, but it sure does bode well for our chances. That yellow Type R curiously has camouflage on the roof, too. It's pure speculation, but Honda could be hiding a carbon fiber roof under there. We like the low price of the current Type R versus its competition, but an optional carbon roof would be sweet. The air scoop in the hood is also covered in a camouflage surround, so we'll be looking out for something different there, too.