It's the favoured destination for any car manufacturer looking to test their machinery to the limit. Now, Japanese carmaker Toyota has set a new record at the Nurburgring with the plug-in hybrid version of its Toyota Prius.
Performance fans shouldn't get too excited though – the 1.8-litre hybrid hatchback never really stood a hope of stealing the production car lap record from the Porsche 918 Spyder (also a hybrid). Instead, the iconic eco-car stuck to its strengths, setting a record high fuel economy figure over the 12.9-mile track.
The Prius managed an average fuel consumption of 698mpg according to the trip computer, which took place during a standard public session, meaning the car had to comply with all circuit rules including an average minimum speed of 60kph (37.2mph).
In all, the lap took 20 min and 59 secs – some three times as long as the 6 min 57 secs set by the 918 Spyder. The Prius managed to cover the entire distance on battery power alone, save for one uphill section where the petrol motor fired up for extra power. Toyota claims the Prius got through just five tablespoons of petrol over lap.
The car used was a standard road-going customer model, but was finished in TRD (Toyota Racing Developments) specification. As such, the record-breaking Prius wore lightweight 18-inch alloy wheels, low-rolling resistance tyres, and aerodynamic enhancements including revised front and rear bumpers and a roof spoiler.
Journalist Joe Clifford was in the hot seat for the lap and commented: "We used no special tricks for this test. We simply took a fully charged car, fitted it with low rolling resistance tyres and drove the lap, among all the other public drivers taking the opportunity to experience the challenge of the Nurburgring.
"Although the 12.9-mile distance is similar to a typical commuter trip, the difference here is a rise and fall in elevation of around 1,000 feet. In fact it was only on one long climb that the petrol engine cut in, and then only for a short while. Without that, we think we might have even achieved the ultimate 999.9mpg read-out – the highest figure the display can show."
You can view behind the scenes footage of Toyota's record run below.