Porsche made headlines in April when its 919 Evo tribute/time attack car trekked to Belgium’s Spa-Francorchamps in an effort to lay the smack down on the track record. Driver Neel Jani ripped off a 1:41.770, which bested the prior track record of 1:42.553 set by a 2017 Mercedes-AMG Formula 1 race car driven by Lewis Hamilton.
Well the F1 world wants its track record back, and Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel have done just that.
While qualifying during last weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix, Vettel managed to lap the 4.352-mile circuit in just 1:41.501. That puts the Ferrari F1 race car ahead of the Porsche 919 Evo by just 0.27 seconds. Hamilton, as well as fellow Ferrari driver Kimi Räikkönen, were also running at a pace within striking distance of record reclamation.
Of course, none of these times truly matter when it comes to track records. The rules for setting new records require the timed lap to occur during a race. This means that Porsche’s run in the 919 Evo was an unofficial track record. It also means that Vettel’s qualifying run is now simply the new unofficial track record.
Still, Vettel can keep smiling because he also owns the official track record. During last year’s Belgian Grand Prix, Vettel managed a lap in 1:46.557. So F1 has held the track record despite the best efforts of Porsche.
Be it done during a race or on an empty track, the times posted by both Neel Jani and Sebastian Vettel are amazing. While Porsche continues to take its 919 Evo on a tour of tribute around the globe, we imagine more F1 record runs will be targeted. And we can only look forward to the F1 teams and drivers seeking to take back any top times posted by the Porsche prototype, bar the 919 Evo’s insane Nürburgring run.
Porsche is heading to Monterey next month for the Rennsport Reunion held at Laguna Seca. The iconic California race track has a top time posted by, you guessed it, a Ferrari F1 race car. For Porsche, the time to beat is 1:05.786.