Seat Leon Cupra 280 breaks Nürburgring lap record (2014)

Published: 05 March 2014

You’re looking at the fastest front-wheel drive car ever to lap the Nürburgring Nordschleife: the Seat Leon Cupra 280.

A paddleshift DSG-equipped three-door example has lapped the 12-mile lap in 7min 58.44sec – smashing the previous record of 8min 7.97sec, held by the Renaultsport Megane Trophy.

It's a slap in Honda's face too: the Japanese maker wanted its new Civic Type-R to be the first sub-8min hatch.

>> Click here to read CAR's Seat Leon Cupra 280 first drive

Is the record-breaking Seat Leon Cupra identical to the one I can buy?

Almost. Powertrain-wise, it’s the same 276bhp turbo’d four-pot driving the front wheels through a six-speed DSG transmission. However, the record run car boasted a new optional ‘Performance Pack’ including Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres.

The Performance Pack isn’t yet available in the UK, though Seat says it may change its mind if demand is sufficient. Don’t forget, VW offers a Performance Pack for the Golf GTI, which includes a limited-slip front differential, upgraded brakes, and a 10bhp engine boost.

Seat smashes the ’Ring record: the details

Seat claims the Leon’s average speed during the record run was 96 mph, with a top speed of 150mph hit on through the Tiergarten section of the circuit.

Spanish driver Jordi Gené, ex-WTCC helmsman, was at the wheel for the attempt – hinting that you need to be quite handy to make a front-driver go around ‘The Green Hell’ in less than eight minutes. Remember that next time you point your hot hatch towards the Eifel Mountains and head off for a track day…

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