Audi 2020

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How Audi broke the Nürburgring lap record

We ride shotgun with Audi's Frank Stippler in the record-breaking RS Q8

You’d think attempting a Nürburgring Nordschleife production lap record would be a pretty straightforward affair. Book the track, turn up with your vehicle and driver, and have at it until you either set a time that sees your in-car video go viral on the internet, or head back to the workshop to try and figure out what can be improved for the next attempt.

While Audi’s record-breaking lap of the Nordschleife in its monstrous RS Q8 SUV is already the stuff of legend, not least for driver Frank Stippler’s wheelwork while lapping the infamous Green Hell in an astonishing 7:42.253s, the day was anything but straightforward.

We had the opportunity to grill Stippler about that day at the recent launch of the Audi RS Q8. Better yet, we rode shotgun with Stippler in the record-breaking RS Q8.

It seems incongruous to strap yourself into a race harness and race seats while doing no more than 60km/h through the streets of Tenerife in the Canary Islands, yet here we are listening to the man who set a new benchmark for SUVs around the daunting Nordschleife.

Stippler provides a fascinating insight into the record-breaking day – 13 September 2019, for those who like to know such things – and how the Audi team faced a mountain of hurdles that afternoon seeking to set a new benchmark for the officially titled ‘SUV, off-road vehicles, vans, pick-ups’ category.

With the day waning and with just over half-an-hour of Audi’s record-breaking window left, Stippler and his RS Q8 set off in search of history. Just 7:42.253s later, and having hit a top speed of 305km/h along the way, Stippler and the RS Q8 entered the record books.

To find out how the day played out, check out the video above where Stippler talks through the hurdles the team faced and the lap itself in an interview exactly 7:42.253s long – give or take a few tenths.

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