....For front-wheel-drive vehicles. Which is still nothing to sneeze at! And with this new record, the Seat Leon Cupra 280 has become the first FWD car to break the eight minute mark, which separates the merely sporty-ish cars from the truly fast. Joy.
...For Europeans who like Spanish Volkswagens that Americans will never get. Even still, while you can argue all day until the cows come home about the relevancy of a lap time set on an old German race track that's so outdated it's not really fit for anything near the pinnacle of motorsport anymore, a lap time of 7:58.4 is pretty good. Especially for a car that's bone-standard.
...If you get the Leon Cupra 280 DSG, equipped with an optional Performance Pack that includes Brembo brakes, specially designed 19-inch wheels, and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires. Which sounds properly equipped.
...unless you count the Seat Leon Cupra 280's slightly fancier sibling the 2015 Volkswagen Golf R, which makes do with an additional 16 horses in European specification, along with all-wheel drive. And that should set some sort of record for hot hatches.
...but the new Honda Civic Type R might have something to say about that. Though it's still early in the day, the guys over at Top Gear have heard that Honda is still claiming the Japanese uber-hatch will wrest the front-wheel-drive record from the Cupra 280, no matter what SEAT says.
Though to be honest, I really don't care who's got the record. I just find it amazing that we live in such times, where major manufacturers will do their darndest to give us, the unwashed masses, the opportunity to just get the quickest hot hatches we can ever yearn for. We've come a long way since the bad old days of the 1990s, when the most lukewarm-iest hatch you could get was a Volkswagen GTI that rivaled a nuclear-powered Nimitz-class aircraft carrier in gross tonnage.
...And that's pretty great.
UPDATE: Here's a video of the little SEAT pounding around the track. It begins with a man waking up late, because that's what the Spanish do, and weirdly ends with a text message being sent to SEAT president Jürgen Stackmann, presumably because he hates actual human contact, or something:
Photo credit: SEAT