Mike Stevens | Oct 14, 2008

What is it about bragging rights that strikes deep into the psyche? And right now, for production sports cars there's no bragging right hotter than the Nürburgring Nordschleife production car lap record. You can make a 'bazillion' kilowatts, but more has been said about the Dodge Viper ACR, Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1, Porsche 911 Turbo and Nissan GT-R on the famous 'Ring than said about the replacement for the Veyron.

Porsche is a company with a proud history. As Germany's most successful motorsport manufacturer, with a reputation for both performance and reliability envied the world over, you know that owning the 'Ring record on 'home turf' would be a high priority. Perhaps as high for Porsche as taking over Volkswagen.

So important is the Nurburgring thing to Porsche, that now it has taken the gloves off... and might just have overstepped the mark.

Two weeks ago, Porsche accused Nissan of cheating in the GT-R's Nordschleife time. To back up its claims, Porsche bought an American-spec GT-R, shipped it to Germany, and ran it back to back with a 911 Turbo. Porsche's test driver could only achieve a time of 7:54 in the GT-R, almost 30 seconds above what Nissan claims, whereas the 911 times matched their previous testing.

Porsche then concluded that Nissan must have been using racing tyres to achieve those now-famous video-proof times. This is despite the fact that Nissan's video shows a shot of the standard ultra-performance street tyres on the vehicle.

nissan-r35-nordscliefe-1

Now bear in mind that a lot of publications have independently tested both cars on other tracks on the same day, and the GT-R has consistently been quicker. Those cars have been privately owned 'off-the-showroom floor' vehicles, as well as press vehicles, so you can't accuse Nissan of shenanigans by supplying a massaged car with more 'herbs'. (Perhaps, in responding the way it did, Porsche suspects a global conspiracy by the automotive media but doesn't want to show off their tinfoil hats by saying it outright.)

Nissan responded to Porsche's claims with the expected curt reply commenting that Nissan did not wish to engage in a "war of words" with Porsche. Nissan's spokesperson also offered some facts and proof... and then rounded off the comments up by suggesting Porsche's test engineer who did the laps, sign up for Nissan's performance driving course.

Initially it seems funny. With Porsche's initial press release, I get this mental image of a baby chucking its toys out of the pram and having a cry. Nissan's "I don't want to fight, but you're stupid" response was equally ridiculous. It’s like a pre-school fight on the world motoring stage.

What I find most depressing about the whole situation is that Porsche is arguing about third spot (now fourth?)... the lap times of the third fastest production car after the ACR and ZR-1. They're not even aiming for number 1 anymore.

Shame Porsche, shame. That's what I think, but what do you think about it?

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