These cars turn the Green Hell red, white, and blue.
With Chevrolet having just blitzed the 12.9-mile Nürburgring Nordschleife in 7 minutes 16 seconds with a 2018 Camaro ZL1 1LE, we were curious to see how other U.S. models stack up at the infamous track. You’ll notice a peculiar absence of a certain manufacturer from Dearborn on this list – we’ll talk about that later. Right now, let’s see which Americans rule the ‘Ring. With the exception of the last two, all times are manufacturer confirmed.
7:12.13 – 2010 Dodge Viper ACR
Say what you will about the Viper’s sledgehammer approach to performance. This time was established in 2011 and is still in the top-ten for all production cars at the Nürburgring. Currently there’s an enthusiast-backed effort to get the current Viper ACR to Germany for an official attempt at a new record, but until that happens, the 2010 edition is the reigning U.S. champion.
7:16.04 – 2018 Camaro ZL1 1LE
The days of poking fun at the Camaro are over. The new ZL1 is faster than the Ferrari 488, the current-generation Porsche 911 GT3, and the bonkers Pagani Zonda F Clubsport. 650 horsepower certainly helps, but Chevy also gave the Camaro the grip and poise to actually use it.
7:19.63 – 2012 Corvette ZR1
When the forthcoming C7 ZR1 takes an official stab at the ‘Ring – and you know that will happen – it will likely bury the C6 ZR1's 7:19 effort. That doesn’t take away the accomplishment of this machine, which many feel was the first Corvette model to finally earn a proper place among the world’s supercar elite.
7:22.68 – 2011 Corvette Z06
Considering the track-focused Z06 gave up over 100 horsepower to the aforementioned ZR1, nabbing a lap time within three seconds of its supercharged big brother shows just how much time was spent fine-tuning its underpinnings. Though slower than the Viper, the Z06 was often praised for being an easier car to drive at the limit, which could be why Corvette sales regularly trounced Dodge's snake.
7:29.6 – 2017 Camaro ZL1
If you wanted to know what kind of difference the 1LE package for the new Camaro ZL1 makes, here you go. There is a 13-second difference between it the standard ZL1, which by the way is still no slouch by any stretch. It’s faster than the Mercedes SLS AMG, Audi R8 V10, and it can hang with a Porsche Carrera GT.
7:37.4 – 2014 Camaro Z/28
GM made all kinds of headlines when it brought back the Z/28 moniker. It was billed as the most capable Camaro of all time, packing a 500-horsepower LS7 V8 with carbon brakes, a thoroughly reworked chassis, and an incredible track experience.
7:59 – 2009 Cadillac CTS-V
There are still scores of people who are in awe at the turnaround Cadillac has made in the last 10 years. The first-generation CTS-V started that revolution, but it was the second-generation, 556-horsepower CTS-V that established the brand as a legitimate contender in the luxury sport-sedan segment.
7:59 – 2005 Chevrolet Corvette
The fifth-generation Corvette was very much a game-changer for American performance cars when it came out in 2005, and GM was quick to advertise its sub-eight minute Nürburgring time. Back then, it was among the fastest cars in the world and it's still one of the fastest American cars to tackle the Green Hell.
7:59 – 2005 Dodge Viper SRT-10
Also posting a sub-eight minute Nürburgring lap – at least according to Motor Trend – was the 2005 Viper. Like the Corvette, this wasn’t a track-focused model but rather a run-of-the-mill Viper, using its thumping 505-horsepower V10 to beat the Nordschleife’s curves into submission.
8:06.20 – 2016 Focus RS
The only Ford vehicle on this list comes to us not from an official factory run, but through Sport Auto – a German magazine that regularly runs cars at the Nürburgring. It’s a credible time for an all-wheel drive hatchback that is certainly worthy of recognition, even if it is slower than Honda’s front-wheel drive Civic Type R.
Speaking of, why aren't there more Blue Oval badges on this list? It's not necessarily for a lack of speed; Ford has been somewhat vocal in its dislike of publishing Nürburgring times even though the manufacturer tests there. Ford representatives have even gone so far as to say such things don’t matter, though we suspect there are more than a few people in the marketing department who would disagree.
If Ford were to have a change of heart, it would likely have a few vehicles on this list. A video surfaced a few years back of a 2014 Mustang Shelby GT500 claiming a time of 7:39.28, which would be astounding considering its solid rear axle. Rumors of a Mustang Shelby GT350R running 7:32.19 were also all the rage for awhile, with sources claiming the numbers came from Ford proper. And with the new Ford GT on the minds of everyone, it could well be a contender to not just make this list, but place at the very top. Unfortunately, none of the rumored times can be confirmed, and for the immediate future it seems Ford is sticking to its guns.
The Viper officially holds the top spot for now, but there's serious competition in the works. The next-generation Corvette ZR1 will almost certainly be faster than the Camaro ZL1, and then there's Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus – an American boutique carmaker that believes the production version of its SGC 003 could dip well into the six-minute range.
Unless the current Viper ACR can get to Germany for a few recorded laps, there could well be a new American king of the 'Ring in the near future.