Lightning Lap: 2006 to Present
Since 2006, we have conducted an annual track test at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) that we call Lightning Lap. We take the hottest new cars to measure lap times around the 4.1-mile Grand Course circuit.
We have some minor tweaks to suggest that would make this car more of a contender.
Power and poise almost, but not quite, make up for the lack of fresh tires.
A graphic look back at 15 years, with musings about tire stickiness, the evolution of lap times, and which of our drivers gets the crown as king of our version of the 'Ring.
Near-supercar numbers, and an advantage because of all-wheel drive.
Alive and willing, this SUV is an M5 CS in platform shoes.
Destroys every other hot hatch, and it even ties the quickest car at our first ever event, a 2006 Ford GT.
Its superb athleticism more than makes up for its boxy looks and economy-car roots.
We've tested hundreds of cars over more than a decade at Virginia International Raceway, which has proved itself the ultimate test of modern machinery.
The apex predator is still a contender for quickest four-door. Maybe next time.
We've never driven a GTI that was so poised and planted.
The perfect distillation of years of Mustang development.
It looks like an SUV, but given the way it rips up the Climbing Esses, it sure doesn't act like one.
Wherein a seasoned race driver and editor discovers that the challenges of Lightning Lap go far beyond simply turning a few quick laps.
The smaller Blackwing is a track star. Any lack of confidence behind the wheel is not the car's fault.
Is it the engine that makes this car a masterpiece, or the chassis? Or both?
Placid and happy under stress, the M5 puts its insane power down coming out of corners.