The Hans Stuck M3 GTR Nürburgring Lap Is the Only One That Matters

This is an all-time car clip that never gets old – a true a display of absolute driving mastery.

This is one of those all-time car clips people reference all the time and it never really gets old. Talk about the transcendence of human-and-machine interaction – every lap is a singular test of endurance, and skill. 14 miles, seventy-three corners, it’s extremely exciting even if it’s largely irrelevant to what we do on the road. For that reason I’m not really interested in ‘Ring records… except for one.

The Hans Stuck M3 GTR Nürburgring Lap Is the Only One That Matters
Hans-Joachim Stuck talking to the race engineer Michael Kölbel from Schnitzer Motorsport during the starting grid of the 24h-race Nürburgring in 2003.
Image and caption: BMW

Still, Nürburgring hot lap really is a test of person and machine on the most challenging race track on Earth. And Hans-Joachim Stuck’s 2004 record lap in a BMW M3 GTR is a display of absolute mastery.

Stuck is a German racing driver with serious credentials. This is the sort of driver that can mob the Nürburgring with his eyes closed, and has had his name on cars like Porsche 962s, Brabham F1 cars, Audi DTM cars, and the aforementioned BMW M3 GTR. Hallowed be his name.

It starts with a classically mid-2000s garbled video feed. A crescendo of flat-plane V8 and that legendary gear whine, thrash, and lash, make for a spiritual viewing experience. 

The video itself is hard to believe. The mastery, the skill, the way Stuck wrestles the M3 GTR around the legendary circuit beggars belief. It’s a reminder of why the Nürburgring is so great, so feared. This video has done the rounds on Youtube for nearly two decades, and remains a mainstay of driving fans a world over. Even more wild; this video was my first awareness of the Nurburgring, as a seven-year-old kid. 

Imagine it, you’re playing Need for Speed: Most Wanted driving the hero M3 GTR, then you see a video of the same mythical machine getting driven to the absolute edge, straight cut gears howling, the flat-plane P60b40 V8 screaming… it gives me chills every single time I watch it.

I hope you readers enjoy it as much as I do, all these years later. Check out the enhanced version, with turn-by-turn guidance by Hans Stuck himself.

BMW’s official media page had a few M3 GTR images as well. The automaker dates these from 2003, not 2004, but the car does seem to have largely the same look. Check ’em out while you’re here:

Hat tip to raffriff42 on YouTube!

Chris Rosales
Chris Rosales

Chris has owned 12 cars of questionable quality, is an experienced motorsports photographer, and a good all-around wrench. When he isn’t tinkering with his car in his home garage, you can catch Chris in the canyons around SoCal. He also hopelessly hankers for Euros, but he honestly knows he should get something Japanese, eventually. Contact the author here.