Back in 1960, Sir Jack Stewart famously gave the Nordschleife racecourse the nickname "Green Hell." Today, due to their ever-increasing speed over the years, it is much too dangerous a course for F1 cars to race on. That doesn't mean a 500 HP, 38,000-LB tractor can't have a go.
Auto Motor und Sport recently put racing driver Christian Menzel behind the wheel of Germany's most powerful tractor, the Claas Xerion 5000 VC. In doing so, they set a new record for the fastest tractor to take on the course.
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The Class Xerion 5000 VC has a 12.8-liter six-cylinder engine that produces over 500 horsepower and 1,918 pound-feet of torque. The "VC" stands for "Variable Cab," meaning the cab can completely turn around to look in the opposite direction.
With a top speed of just over 31 mph, the tractor isn't quite up to the level of the racing cars that usually brave the infamous "Green Hell," but watching the beast take on the course in the hands of a professional racer is still a sight to behold. The final lap time was set at an impressive 24 minutes and 50.57 seconds.
While that might not seem impressive to some, it's worth taking note of other similar lap times. The Class Xerion's time, for example, is much faster than that of Auto Bild's 2014 Porsche Junior tractor, with racing legend Walter Röhrl behind the wheel. The 14 hp Junior made it round the track in one hour, five minutes, and 36 seconds — see below.
Then there's the time a Tuk Tuk made it around the course in a blistering 31 minutes and 49.46 seconds. So as far as "alternative" vehicles taking on the Nürburgring's Nordschleife racecourse, we're pretty sure the Claas Xerion 5000 VC holds the record.