THE NÜRBURGRING is widely considered the ultimate test of man and machine. A 12.9-mile racetrack that twists and turns through the densely wooded Eifel mountains in western Germany, it claims crumpled wings, wrecked engines and bruised egos almost daily.
Car makers routinely attempt to outdo one another by dispatching professional drivers in their latest high-powered machines, with orders to return only when they have set a new lap record. Little wonder the smell of burning brake pads and scorched tyres hangs in the air.
None of those car makers, however, has asked a driver to attempt what Han Yue has just achieved. The Chinese stunt driver has used a humble Mini to set a new lap record — driving on two wheels.
Han recorded a time of 45 minutes. By comparison the outright lap record for the circuit, more accurately known as the Nordschleife, is held by Stefan Bellof, who posted a time of 6 minutes and 11 seconds in 1983 in a Porsche 956 racing car.
It’s difficult enough to remember which way the next corner goes when you’re driving the Nürburgring upright. It officially has 73 of them: 33 left-hand turns and 40 right-handers. Han was looking at things from an unusual angle, and was reportedly in discomfort from the pressure on the left side of his body where it was pushed against the racing seat.
However, Han is no novice when it comes to performing hair-raising stunts in a Mini. In 2014 he captured a Guinness World Record by setting the tightest parallel parking record. With deft co-ordination of the steering and handbrake he slid his Mini between two parked cars into a gap just 8cm longer than his car.
He also set a Guinness World Record for performing the most “doughnut” spin turns round a car that was being driven on two wheels. As you do.