Video: Audi RS3 breaks Nurburgring record. Again | CAR Magazine

Video: Audi RS3 breaks Nurburgring record. Again

Published: 24 June 2024 Updated: 27 June 2024

► Audi RS3 set new ring record
► 5sec faster than the BMW M2
► Chassis upgrades the key

Ahh, just when you thought banging on about Nurburging lap records was a dead sport, along comes a new Audi RS3. Which has not only regained its ‘ring record crown in the ‘compact’ class, but done so by taking more than five seconds out of the old record – which was held by the BMW M2.

You can see how much it means to the team involved in that lead photo.

As with the last time the RS3 set a new benchmark here, behind the wheel was none other than Frank Stippler, long-time Audi Sport racing and development driver, and the man in mid-air in the picture above. He was driving a prototype version of the new RS3 saloon ‘product upgrade’. Which is to say the forthcoming facelift model.

What’s the Audi RS3’s new record lap time?

A fairly scorching 7:33.123 minutes, beating the M2’s 7:38.706 pretty convincingly. You can watch both laps below.

2024 Audi RS3 Nurburgring lap record video

The previous official RS 3 lap record was 7:40.748 with Stippler driving, set back in June 2021.

2023 BMW M3 Nurburgring lap record video

Notable about the BMW lap is that it appears to be a stock car with no rear roll cage. The Audi is a pre-production example with at least a half-cage visible.

How has the RS3 gone faster this time?

‘Optimised cornering behaviour’ was the key to the dramatic improvement, apparently. Over to Frank: ‘The new RS3 turns in more willingly at corner entry thanks to fine-tuning – including brake torque vectoring – which allows the vehicle to be positioned earlier and better for corner exit from the apex, at the latest.’

He continued: ‘The result is a lower steering angle from apex to corner exit, which leads to less friction and earlier acceleration, allowing you to carry more momentum and speed onto each subsequent straight.’

2024 Audi RS3, pre-production, front, driving round Nurburgring carousel corner

You can see this very much in action in the video – the Audi clearly capable of deploying its power very early on the way out of corners, and carrying a load of speed into the apex as well. Although Stippler does seem to be employing a sort of double-strike approach to get it turned-in in places.

In tech terms, the ‘modular vehicle dynamics controller’ has a new algorithm, which means it’s better able to join the dots between the electronic stability control, brake torque vectoring at the individual wheels, the torque splitter that varies the distribution between the rear wheels, and the adaptive dampers.

Any other stats for the updated Audi RS3?

The updated model gladly still relies on the characterful 2.5-litre TFSI five-cylinder turbo engine, which produces 394bhp and 369lb ft of torque.

2024 Audi RS3, pre-production, rear, driving on Nurburgring

For the record it was combined with the optional adaptive dampers, 19-inch ceramic brakes and Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R semi-slick tyres. The M2 was on Michelin Pilot Sport Cup2 tyres, incidentally, which aren’t generally quite as extreme.

When does the new Audi RS3 go on sale?

Audi will start taking orders for the new RS3 in August 2024, ahead of first deliveries in October.

Pricing for the current model starts at £57,675 – but we’d expect that to go up quite a bit when UK order books open for the new version in the summer.

By CJ Hubbard

Head of the Bauer Digital Automotive Hub and former Associate Editor of CAR. Road tester, organiser, reporter and professional enthusiast, putting the driver first