When the all-new Audi RS3 was launched a couple of weeks back, we called it the new performance king of its segment, just because there’s nothing out there that can compare to its numbers. But numbers are just that, numbers; you can’t be the best at something without proving it with actual tangible results, so that’s exactly what Audi did – by setting a new record with the RS3 at the Nurburgring Nordschleife.

As of June 14, 2021 (but only announced today), the all-new Audi RS3 sedan is now the official record holder for the fastest compact car around the Nurburgring Nordschleife, with a verified time of 7:40.748, beating the Renault Megane R.S‘s previous record by 4.64 seconds.

For the record to be official, the car had to essentially be bone stock, which the RS3 was, aside from the Pirelli P Zero “Trofeo R” semi-slick tires that are available as an optional extra from the factory – sometimes we wonder if these ultra-niche items are offered just for the sake of setting “official” lap records, but we digress.

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Piloting the Audi RS3 to the new Nurburgring Nordschleife lap record was Audi Sport racing and development driver, Frank Stippler, who attributed the newfound performance to the Torque Splitter technology in the car’s Quattro all-wheel drive system.

“For me, the torque splitter is a quantum leap in terms of agile driving,” Stippler said after setting the record lap. “In general, the new RS3 is much more agile when driving from the middle of the curve to its end and when accelerating out of the curve.”

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The Torque Splitter works in combination with the newly-developed RS Performance driving mode, which essentially sets the engine and transmission into an all-out attack setting for the racetrack.

In this mode, the torque splitter works to provide the “most neutral handling” possible, with a dab of oversteer or understeer depending on the actual driving situation. According to Audi, this enables the driver to accelerate earlier upon exiting a corner, thus resulting in faster lap times.

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The only other modification made to the record-seetting RS3 came in the form of a tuned tyre pressure, specifically catered to the Nurburgring’s track conditions and weather of the day during the record attempt.

“We don’t have unlimited opportunities to try for a record like this,” said Stippler. “That’s why a little is always necessary on the day when it matters – particularly with respect to tire pressure, because that also affects how the torque splitter functions.”

Audi RS3 Technical Project Leader Marvin Schwätter said, “When we started development, we didn’t know just how quickly our compact sportscar would really be on the Nordschleife. But over the course of endurance testing, we determined that we could reach very good times and set a new record.”

Mission accomplished it is, then, for the Audi RS3 and the entire project team – as it is now the indisputable performance king of the segment. Although we’re not sure if they can rest easy, as there’ll certainly be more parties interested in gunning for the same record now, just for bragging rights at the very least.


GALLERY