Head of Hyundai N not a fan of Nordschleife lap times
Albert Biermann, Hyundai Group’s executive technical advisor and the man credited with creating the N Performance division, said chasing a lap time around the Nordschleife runs counter to the philosophy of driving enjoyment that he is trying to install in every car that carries the N badge.
Biermann is no stranger to the Nürburgring, prior to working for Hyundai he led BMW’s M Division. And every Hyundai N model is tested on the Nürburgring to ensure it lives up to the “corner rascal” and “racetrack capable” ethos of the brand. The company even entered the Nürburgring 24-hour race with a production i30 N to demonstrate its potential in 2017.
But Biermann insists that driving feel and not the ultimate lap time is the most important thing for him.
“Our engineers keep starting again and again and there’s discussions with headquarters people about ‘what should be the lap time at the Nürburgring’ and I say ‘go to hell!’ We don’t care about this damn lap time, it has no meaning,” Biermann said. “The way you feel when you toss 2.4 tonnes around the Nordschleife, that is what matters. Of course it’s fast, it just happens to be fast [but] I couldn’t tell you any lap time from my driving around the Nordschleife – I don’t care.
Hyundai wants its N models to be fun to drive on a track, even if that means they aren’t the quickest
“But when I go through Schwedenkreuz and I get wet hands [from adrenaline] this is what matters. I want to feel comfortable when I go through Schwedenkreuz when I go 220, 230[km/h] even with a car that has more than two-tonnes of weight.
“This is what counts. We are not making these cars for professional racing drivers, we want to have normal guys in the car and enjoy it. That’s the whole idea. That requires a whole different thinking, going the full opposite way from lap times – fun and good feeling.”
So do you agree, can the pursuit of pure lap times rather than building a fun car for everyone spoil things?