The first illegal, dangerous, record lap of Manhattan we know of was Alex Roy's 27 minute run in 2001. In 2010, a group called CBC broke that with 26:03. Now a new driver claims 24:07. But what exactly is a lap of Manhattan, and how do you set the record? UPDATE: We have spoken with the driver.
The new fastest laps claims to be set by the elegantly-named AfroDuck Productions. The run supposedly took place just a few days ago on August 26th, 2013. The car is a stock 2006 BMW Z4.
So what's the route? The driver starts on FDR/East Side Drive at 116th Street, just outside of Harlem. They tear down under the Williamsburg, Manhattan, and Brooklyn Bridges, then shoot through the Battery Park Tunnel around the downtown tip of the island. After that there are the red lights of West Street/West Side Drive, which finally opens up in Midtown by all of Trump's buildings.
The course then cuts off the northern tip of Manhattan, turning right by the George Washington Bridge in Washington Heights. From there, the driver gets across Manhattan at one of its narrowest points, turns back onto FDR/East Side Drive and runs to the start/finish line.
It's about 26.5 miles in total. That makes the average speed only something around 66 miles an hour. As you can tell by watching the video, the real time saving comes from managing traffic.
Well, by managing traffic, I mean passing on the right, weaving across lanes, and cutting people off like a cabbie. Despite the fact that the run is set when there's very few cars on the roads (by Manhattan standards), this is still very much reckless driving.
I wouldn't want anyone I know to attempt this, and I wouldn't want to try a record run myself. It's one thing to drive and crash out your own car, it's another thing to try and drive the limit surrounded by completely innocent strangers in their own cars.
UPDATE: We asked a few questions from Afro Duck, and received the following responses.
JALOPNIK: Why publish your video so close to when you performed the run? Other drivers waited over a year to release their footage, if ever.
AFRODUCK: You frankly can't identify who I am by just looking at the video and records were meant to be broken. I'll release my name a year from now.
J: How did you prepare for the run?
AD: Other than my car being stocked, I went out various times throughout the night to figure out the traffic patter[n]s.
J: What was your hairiest moment during the lap?
AD: None, I was always in control. In fact, this wasn't the first time I broke the record. I can do it consistently under 24 minutes and most likely beat my own record again.
J: What would you say to someone considering an attempt on breaking your record?
AD: Go ahead. Just watch out for the speeding tickets.
J: What do you say to someone calling your driving dangerous and extremely reprehensible?
AD: Whether you['re] a good driver or not, when you're on the road, you have a high chance of getting hit by a drunk driver, being cut off (especially in NY), etc. Being a good driver, you're more aware of what is around you. Being a fast driver doesn't mean that you're inherently a bad or reckless driver. Like I said before, I'm in control. That said, understand traffic patterns, understand what's around you and understand how others control or don't control their cars.