When Porsche announced at the Detroit auto show that is capable of lapping the Nürburgring Nordschleife in 7 minutes and 18 seconds, we were genuinely surprised. Not because of the time itself, which is well within the frame of reference for Porsche's mega-fast machinery, and which means that the four-wheel-drive Turbo S is quicker around the 'Ring than the GT3 RS. But because we thought there was supposed to be a moratorium on manufacturers announcing times from the 12.9-mile circuit, which currently has two speed-restricted sections, imposed after a fatal crash in a race last year.
As to the first charge, the 911 Turbo's engineering boss, Erhard Mössle, only smiled when we talked to him about it on Porsche's stand at NAIAS, but he also admitted that there's some digital simulation in that number.
"Some parts are driven and compared to the previous 911 Turbo," he explained, "and the [speed-] limited sections where you're not allowed to do top speed are calculated. We will then go and check it later this year in spring . But the 7:18 we are sure to meet; we are normally very conservative with times and that time was set on the standard tires, not sports tires."
We'll leave you to decide on the morality of this one, but it looks as though even the imposition of speed limits can't spare us the claim and counter-claim of Nürburgring lap times.