Ask anyone what they associate with German automotive excellence and – after rattling off some of the most iconic car brands in the world – it won’t be long before they mention the Autobahn. Long stretches of motorway with no speed limit are an integral part of the country’s motoring history. However, to truly take a car to its limits, even the Autobahn won’t suffice. Each year, the top tuning companies take their fastest automobiles and ultra-high-performance tires off public roads to an event dedicated to setting speed records.
When the world’s best tuners come together for the Papenburg 3000 high performance event, it barely feels like a competition. The highlight of the day at ATP automotive testing track in Papenburg in Northern Germany is a full-throttle race that tests the highest top speed over 3,000 meters. But the atmosphere remains one of mutual respect, professional exchange and genuine collegiality. Owner and Director of Edo Competition Motorsport, Edo Karabegovic, summed it up perfectly: “the motivation is of course to take a car to its limit, to drive it at its maximum speed. We are here to set a record, we are here to maintain a good partnership with Continental and we’re also here to have fun.”
The starting lineup read like a who’s who of premium tuning experts, ranging from industry behemoths to boutique manufacturers. Tuning began from the tires, so all participants were equipped with Continental’s speediest Ultra-High Performance tire Conti SportContact™ 6. Denise Ewald, Director R&D Replacement EMEA at Continental, was excited to witness the races in person. “Here I can really see our tires in action,” she explained. “I can see at which speeds our tires perform on these vehicles.”
Here I can really see our tires in action, she explained. I can see at which speeds our tires perform on these vehicles
Denise Ewald, Director R&D Replacement EMEA, Continental
Of course, speed is what everyone was there to achieve and witness. The vehicles’ speeds were monitored by TÜV, Germany’s notoriously accurate and fastidious technical control board. The measurement technology, implemented in collaboration with Racelogic, recorded the times and speeds on the 3,000-meter track, as well as the acceleration values.
This year’s record, an impressive 366,0 km/h, was set by 9FF engineering, in a Porsche GT2 RS. Klasen Motors came in a close second with an Audi R8 Biturbo that maxed out at 355,4 km/h, followed by Techart Porsche GT Street RS, which reached 342,3 km/h. In fourth place, a BRABUS Mercedes 800 reached a top speed of 336,5 km/h. Like most participants, this means the tuning company succeeded in what it set out to achieve, as outlined by Brabus Communications Director, Sven Gramm: “Here we can really show what our E-Class 800 hp is capable of, [at] speeds exceeding 300.”
Another thing all vehicles at the Papenburg 3000 high performance event have in common: they are all roadworthy and approved by the aforementioned TÜV. So they could drive themselves home on the Autobahn… even if they might not match their Papenburg 3000 speed records there.