In the race for the prestigious lap record on the Nürburgring Nordschleife, Audi once again has a head start, at least in the compact class. With a time of 7'33''123, the future Audi RS3 has taken five seconds off the previous record holder, the BMW M2!

Motorsport and Audi legend Frank Stippler drove a pre-production model of the restyled Audi RS3 around the 20.832-kilometre circuit to set a new record time. The racing driver, who had just won the famous Nürburgring 24-hour race in an Audi R8 LMS GT3, thus reclaimed his own record, which he had achieved in 2021 with the end-of-life RS3 and which he had subsequently had to relinquish to the BMW M2.

Audi RS3 lap record on the Nordschleife

Audi RS3 lap record on the Nordschleife

His record lap at the time was 7'40''748, more than seven seconds quicker than the current, refined model. This shows the precision work that Auto Sport has put into Audi's facelift, known as the 'product upgrade'. In particular, cornering behaviour has been optimised.

"That was the key to success," explains Frank Stippler. "Thanks to the fine-tuning of Brake Torque Vectoring, among other things, the new RS 3 turns more readily as soon as it enters the bend, enabling the vehicle to be positioned earlier and better for exiting the bend, at the latest from the apex. The result is a smaller steering angle between the apex and the exit of the bend, leading to less friction and earlier acceleration. As a result, you gain more momentum and speed on each subsequent straight."

In addition to the excellent driving dynamics achieved by the Torque Splitter with its fully variable torque split between the rear wheels, electronic stabilisation control and selective torque control of the wheels, it is above all an improved algorithm for the Modular Drive Dynamics Controller that has now made it possible to link the systems even more effectively and efficiently, thereby contributing to improved performance.

On the other hand, the emblematic five-cylinder engine and its 400 PS have remained unchanged. Tyres and brakes are decisive when it comes to lap times. The Audi RS3 broke records with semi-slick Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R tyres and the optional ceramic braking system.

What is certain is that this record will also be broken one day, even if the bar is now very high. There aren't many candidates left in the compact class. Volkswagen will make an attempt with the new Golf R, but won't be able to go that far for lack of engine power. At Honda, with the new Civic Type R, the situation is similar. That leaves BMW with a more advanced M2, albeit one that struggles to fit into the 'compact class' scheme. We can't wait.