Silly cars lapping the Nürburgring Nordschleife is usually an activity left to the virtual world. Sure, tourist days often include buses and vans alongside supercars, but there's a limit to the slowest vehicle permissible at the 'Ring. If you wanted to circle the Green Hell in something ridiculous, a la Gran Turismo, you would have to rent the track out. This is exactly what Quadrant did to attempt a lap in a Peel P50.
The Peel P50 needs little introduction. Most of you will have seen it multiple times on Top Gear, where it served as comic relief. But for the uninitiated, it’s a British three-wheeled microcar that was originally produced in the '60s, of which only 50 were made then. In 2010, two businessmen started a new company to produce them again with minor changes, but they exist largely as they did in 1962. The P50 makes around three to four horsepower from a 49-cc engine, has a top speed of 37 mph, and is possibly the worst vehicle for the Nürburgring. OK, maybe second worst.
Nevertheless, former racing driver Max Fewtrell strapped himself in for a long, slow lap around the Nordschleife. You might think the glacial pace of the P50 would make the lap safe, but the crew mechanic demonstrated how easy it is to roll the P50 in the parking lot before the lap. Fewtrell was warned that left turns would be particularly treacherous because the engine is mounted to the right-hand side of the P50, making it likelier to tip away in those instances.
The P50 struggled to make it up hills over the 13-mile course, and threatened to roll through Adenauer Forst early in the lap. Fewtrell said it was the most focused and on edge he has ever felt in a car, and we're talking about a guy who raced in Formula 3. For all of the effort, Fewtrell bagged a 25:44.136 lap that started with some daylight and ended in the dark. For reference, the P50 went slower than a Claas Xerion 5000 tractor, which achieved a 24:50.570 in Auto Motor und Sport testing. A new Civic Type R manages a lap in 7:44.881.
Suffice it to say, the Peel P50 is incredibly slow. But it sure is funny to watch it do a lap around the most fearsome racetrack in the world.