Why Mercedes-AMG’s Boss Isn’t a Fan Of Nurburgring Lap Times


Mercedes

The Nürburgring is important for AMG. All of its cars turn hundreds of laps there while in development, and it even nicknamed its AMG GT R “The Beast From the Green Hell,” referencing the track’s famous nickname. But for Tobias Moers, the head of AMG, setting lap times on the Nordschleife isn’t important.

We were talking to Moers today at the New York Auto Show when the subject of the Nürburgring came up. He brought up the AMG GT R’s Nürburgring lap time, which was actually set by Sport Auto journalist Christian Gebhardt—not one of AMG’s own hot shoes. And that’s how Moers prefers it.

“Auto manufacturers work three months in the industry pool with race drivers, one dedicated car and then they announce ‘we broke seven minutes with our whatever GT,'” he says sarcastically. Moers isn’t into that.

“I don’t like to announce lap times with a car customers can buy,” Moers told me. “And this makes a difference because if a car is able to run fast on the Nürburgring with Christian Gebhardt or someone else, then the car is easy to drive.”

Moers says the Nürburgring Nordschleife remains an important place to test, but setting a lap time, even one that’s kept internal, isn’t worthwhile. He instead wants a car that works on a variety of race tracks, including his other favorite benchmarks, Hockenheim and the Nurburgring Grand Prix circuit.

To prove his point, Moers told me that with a pro racer, AMG itself set a quicker GT R lap time than Gebhardt. But, he won’t reveal precisely how much quicker it was, and that’s the point. He’s more comfortable sharing Gebhardt’s lap time, as it’s representative of what a customer—admittedly a very talented customer—could do.

All that said, there is one car Moers would like to tear around the Nordschleife—AMG’s new Project One hypercar.

“Maybe Project One will be a different story,” he said with a laugh.

Can you blame him? It might not be a useful real-world test, but if you were building a 1000-plus-hp F1-powered machine, you’d probably want to see it beat everyone else too.

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