Porsche potential reduced to a mere parade
With the excitement generated by the Le Mans-winning Porsche 919’s current world tour – and Neel Jani’s successful effort to beat Lewis Hamilton’s Formula 1 lap record at Spa-Francorchamps in April – it was perhaps inevitable that the Nürburgring would beckon.
And Porsche seemed to pull out all the stops, bringing both the 956C – in which Stefan Bellof set his record time of 6min 11.13sec – and the modified 919 ‘Evo’ to the Nürburgring ahead of May’s 24 Hours.
The anticipation was swiftly muted, however, with both cars consigned to leading the pack in a ceremonial formation lap to begin the enduro.
Bellof’s record has stood since 1983 – and many claim that it will never be beaten. But with a hybrid, uprated 919 at its disposal along with an expert team, well versed in smashing records, and a crack squad of works drivers, wasn’t this a prime opportunity for Porsche to best Bellof’s feat?
Perhaps it was treating the record with reverence, honouring the driver who died at the 1985 Spa 1000Kms, but records surely beg to be broken, especially three decades on.
Hybrid racing cars are expensive to run, however, and Porsche’s restraint might have been borne from thrift.
Yet it’s hard to believe that such a mighty manufacturer would overlook the chance to rewrite a little Nordschleife history, given that the 919 has already beaten a Mercedes F1 car, travelled to New York City and will star at the Goodwood Festival of Speed and Brands Hatch’s Festival of Porsche later this year.
Most of all, it leaves us wanting.