Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo: From the PlayStation to the race track

With the fully electric “Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo” concept car Audi is now turning electric mobility into a tangible experience in a unique way. Originally developed exclusively for virtual races on PlayStation 4, Audi is making the new race car reality in conjunction with Formula E. Starting with the race in Rome on Saturday, April 14, the Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo will be deployed as a race taxi.

“E-Mobility is rapidly gaining importance,” says Peter Mertens, Member of the Board of Management, Technical Development, AUDI AG. “That is why in 2017 Audi was the first German manufacturer to enter Formula E with a factory-backed commitment. In our development laboratory motorsport, we are continuously expanding our expertise in e-mobility and gathering valuable experience also in extremely demanding conditions. With the Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo race taxi we are turning electric mobility into a tangible experience for our customers and guests as part of the Formula E races – in the middle of the world’s metropolises.”

The customers and guests of the brand with the four rings will be able to experience Formula E’s city circuits as passengers in the Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo starting at the race in Rome (April 14). Employees at Audi’s pre-production center developed and produced this one-of-a-kind car within the space of just eleven months based on the example of the Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo from the “Gran Turismo” PlayStation game. The million-selling “Gran Turismo” game has long acquired cult status with gamers around the globe. Audi has been working together with Sony and Polyphony Digital – the creators of “Gran Turismo” – for nearly 20 years. Audi designers created the Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo for the “Vision Gran Turismo” competition that was launched on the market on the occasion of the popular game’s 15th anniversary. Numerous automobile manufacturers developed virtual race cars for the contest.

Many of these concept cars were subsequently built as full-scale models as well and presented at trade shows. The Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo, however, is the first concept car of this range to be deployed to real-world race tracks as a fully functional vehicle. “This is what we are particularly proud of,” says Audi’s chief designer Marc Lichte. “Although the design of a virtual vehicle allows much greater freedom and the creation of concepts which are only hard to implement in reality, we did not want to put a purely fictitious concept on wheels. Our aim was a fully functional car. The Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo shows that electric mobility at Audi is very emotive. This car incorporates numerous elements of our new design language such as the inverted single frame in the vehicle’s color that will be typical for our new e-tron models.”

Audi has deliberately taken up design elements and the color of the legendary Audi 90 quattro IMSA GTO with which the company in 1989 thrilled motorsport fans in the North American IMSA-GTO racing series with drivers like Hans-Joachim Stuck, Walter Röhrl, Hurley Haywood and Scott Goodyear. Featuring a combination of systematic lightweight design and quattro drive paired with a powerful five-cylinder turbo engine, the car was far ahead of its time back then.

The Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo has permanent all-wheel drive as well, the fully electric e-tron quattro all-wheel drive with variable power distribution. Three electric motors, each with output of 200 kW, propel the concept car. Two electric motors drive the rear axle and the third one the front axle, using individual components from the future Audi e-tron. System output is 600 kW (815 hp). With a curb weight of 1,450 kilograms the electric race car has a power to weight ratio of 1.78 kilo­grams per horsepower with ideal 50:50 percent weight distribution between the front and the rear axle. The Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in less than 2.5 seconds.

The futuristic race taxi will be deployed at all European Formula E races and numerous other events in 2018. At the wheel will be former DTM driver Rahel Frey from Switzerland or Le Mans winner Dindo Capello from Italy.

Volkswagen reveal ID-R all-electric prototype Pikes Peak racer

Volkswagen has named its latest motorsport project the I.D. R Pikes Peak. This all-electric prototype racing car will compete in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on 24 June in Colorado.

The four-wheel-drive racing car points to the sporting potential of the I.D. family of all-electric vehicles and is also the first step towards a closer relationship between Volkswagen R and Volkswagen Motorsport.

The Volkswagen brand plans to offer more than 20 fully-electric cars by 2025. Manufacture of the first production model of the I.D. family is scheduled to start at the end of 2019 in Zwickau, Germany.

"We want to be at the forefront of electro-mobility with Volkswagen and the I.D. family. Competing in the most famous hillclimb in the world with the I.D. R Pikes Peak is a valuable test for the general development of electric cars."
—Dr. Frank Welsch, Volkswagen Member of the Board of Management with responsibility for Development

The international Pikes Peak Hill Climb, also known as the “Race to the Clouds”, has been held since 1916 near Colorado Springs in the Rocky Mountains. The 12.4-mile route starts at just above 9,000 feet and climbs to the summit at 14,115 feet above sea level.

Volkswagen last entered the Pikes Peak hillclimb in 1987 with a spectacular dual-engine Golf, which generated 652 horsepower. However, Volkswagen did not win.

"It is about time we settled the score. The I.D. R Pikes Peak represents an extremely exciting challenge for us, to show what is possible in motorsport with an electric drivetrain. The entire team behind our driver Romain Dumas is highly motivated to set a new record for electric cars."
—Volkswagen Motorsport Director, Sven Smeets

The record in the electric prototype class currently stands at 8:57.118 minutes, set in 2016 by New Zealand’s Rhys Millen.

World Rallycross Championship all-electric in 2020

Volkswagen's push for the development of an all-electric rallycross supercar were revealed by EV News in March 2016 with plans for electric cars to be introduced into the World RX structure announced in August of last year, but a source has now indicated that electric cars will take the place of conventional internal combustion engine Supercars in the headline category after next year.

“Electric cars will be the world championship. They absolutely, categorically will be the world championship,” the source told Autosport.

“Fifteen cars are required to begin in 2020. Nine different manufacturers have been engaged in the discussions and negotiations so far, but the ability to buy the required components and build a car has to be open to privateer teams if they want to go that way too.”

It’s understood that the new electric cars will be based on a common carbon monocoque tub and safety structure that will be supplied as part of a chassis kit, expected to also include suspension and braking systems.

The FIA is expected to issue an invite to tender for the chassis kit in the coming weeks, with an additional invite to tender for batteries.

It’s believed that motors won’t be from a single supplier and neither will the composite body shells that will sit on top of the carbon chassis’, allowing for different models of cars to be used.

Competitive development of quad-motor all-wheel-drive torque vectoring electric powertrains could provide the missing link between electric motorsport and road-car technology.

Volkswagen have made clear that its electric Pikes Peak programme is designed as a learning project towards a future factory electric RX entry.

Volkswagen is developing an all-electric race car for Pikes Peak 2018

Volkswagen is developing an all-electric race car for the world’s most famous mountain race, the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in Colorado, USA on 24 June 2018. The all-wheel-drive prototype’s goal is to set a new record for electric cars at the finish line, 14,000 feet above sea level. The new motorsport project is part of Volkswagen’s process of transforming itself into the leading producer of electric vehicles. By 2025, the Volkswagen brand will already offer 23 all-electric models.

"The Pikes Peak hill climb is one of the world’s most renowned car races. It poses an enormous challenge and is therefore perfectlly suited to proving the capabilities of upcoming technologies," explains Dr Frank Welsch, Member of the Board responsible for Development. "Our electric race car will be equipped with innovative battery and drive technology. The extreme stress test posed by Pikes Peak will give us important feedback that will benefit future development, and it will showcase our products and their technologies."

The vehicle is being developed by Volkswagen Motorsport in close cooperation with Technical Development in Wolfsburg. "The race on Pikes Peak is a new beginning for us. We are developing an all-electric race vehicle for the first time," explains Sven Smeets, Volkswagen Motorsport Director. "The project is also an important milestone in our new motorsport orientation. Our team is literally electrified about taking on this incredible challenge." Volkswagen Motorsport last participated in the Pikes Peak mountain race in 1987 with a spectacular twin-engined Golf which barely missed finishing. "It is high time for a rematch," continues Smeets.

The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb—which insiders also call the ‘Race to the clouds’—has been run since 1916 in the Rocky Mountains near Colorado Springs. The race course is 12.4 miles long, and it climbs 4,700 feet to the summit at just over 14,000 feet above sea level. The current record in the class of electric prototypes is 8 minutes 57.118 seconds, set by Rhys Millen in 2016.

MotoGP set for all-electric class in 2019

The world’s most popular motorcycle racing series is adding an all-electric class. Dorna CEO, Carmelo Ezpeleta, told Motorsport.com that an electric support series featuring up to 18 bikes could start competing as early as 2019.

Plans are under way to have an electric series on the support bill for as many as five MotoGP races in 2019, with four manufacturers having offered to supply the grid of 18 bikes.

The bikes are expected to reach speeds of around 200 km/h (124mph), making them slightly slower than the existing Moto3 bikes, while races are planned to last around 10 laps each.

Electric motorcycles have been around long enough that the MotoGP class won’t be the first time they’ve seen serious competition. What started in 2010 as a zero-emissions class at the yearly Isle of Man TT motorcycle race is now dominated by electric bikes, and they’re quickly catching up to their gas-powered counterparts.

Meanwhile in Australia the local superbike championship has run an eFXC electric Formula Xtreme class since 2011.

While Formula E relies on carbon-neutral glycerine generators to recharge its cars between sessions, Ezpeleta wants the new MotoGP support series to use solar panels.

“We want the batteries to be recharged from solar panels, not from generators like in other championships,” added Ezpeleta. “This way, we can leave something profitable for the circuits where the series races.”

Red Bull Global Rallycross to create all-electric series for 2018 season

Electrification is starting to have a strong presence in many forms of motorsports, from Formula One through Le Mans proto-types to French national ice racing and now the Formula E series that is exclusively for battery electric vehicles. EVs will now be added to Red Bull GRC race weekends as a distinct, standalone series, joining the Supercar and GRC Lites classes in the series’ race program. The United States Auto Club (USAC) will work in conjunction with Red Bull GRC to serve as the governing body for the new series.

Red Bull GRC has just wrapped up its sixth season, with the Supercar class now featuring four automakers: Ford, Subaru, Honda and Volkswagen.

It’s unclear which automakers will compete in the EV series, but with the European based works backed teams from Volkswagen, Audi and Peugeot publicly declaring their interest in all-electric rallycross, you can bet that automakers will use it as a place to showcase their electric technology.

VW already competes in Red Bull Global Rallycross with factory Beetle GRCs and in FIA World Rallycross with Polo RXs. Both cars squeeze around 560 HP out of their tiny engines and reach 100km/h in just 2 seconds.

“Today these cars are super-powerful, have torque from hell and use all-wheel drive,” said VW head of technology Frank Welsch. “Electric drivetrains could deliver that.”

“Red Bull Global Rallycross is pleased to add to our rallycross platform an electric series,” said Red Bull GRC CEO Colin Dyne. “The 2018 season will be a landmark year for us as we welcome electric vehicles to the grid for the first time. The electric car is one of the hottest topics in the automotive industry, and manufacturers across the globe have recognized its immense potential. We want to embrace this technology by welcoming it into our series as we continue to grow and expand.”

Would be a perfect platform to develop in-wheel motors and torque vectoring.

1965 VW Beetle Black Current III sets new EV world record [VIDEO]

A 1965 model Volkswagen beetle is now the quickest Electric Car in the world. UK based Current Racing set a 1/4 mile time of 8.282s @ 159 mph at Santa Pod Raceway in Bedfordshire, England.

The new for 2016 powertrain in Black Current III now runs 3x 9" brushed DC motors, a 2 speed gearbox and a Ford 9" diff. Power is supplied by 864x Lithium Cobalt Oxide (LiCo4) Battery cells via 2x 440 volt Zilla controllers.

Source: Current Racing

All-electric 4-motor SH-AWD NSX EV Concept to race @ Pikes Peak

Acura will field a pair of 2017 Acura NSX supercars in the 100th Anniversary of the running of the Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on June 26, marking the North American racing debut of Acura's next-generation NSX: the pinnacle expression of Acura Precision Crafted Performance and the only supercar made in America.

The two Acura NSX supercars will compete in the Time Attack 1 and 2 classes and will be piloted by brothers James and Nick Robinson, respectively, both from the company's North American engineering team. In addition, Acura will campaign an NSX-inspired prototype vehicle in the Electric Modified Class, featuring a further evolution of the experimental all-electric, 4-motor Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) powertrain that won last year's Pikes Peak Challenge Exhibition class.

"Pikes Peak is like no other race in the world and offers a unique opportunity to showcase the power and performance of our products," said Jon Ikeda, vice president and general manager of the Acura Division. "We are excited for this year's 'Race to the Clouds' to test the endurance and engineering of the Acura NSX and our advanced powertrain technologies – as well as an expression of our racing spirit."

A team of North American R&D engineers has been working on both NSX entries, which feature the same three-motor Sport Hybrid Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive powertrain (Sport Hybrid SH-AWD) as the production NSX. This powertrain features a twin-turbo V6 engine mated to a 9-speed dual clutch transmission and Rear Direct Drive Motor, and a front Twin Motor Unit with a world's first electrically powered torque vectoring capability in the supercar realm. Modifications to the NSX competing in the Time Attack 1 class included chassis lightening and a custom high-flow racing exhaust.

The NSX competing in the Time Attack 2 class is a production car with the required safety equipment for competition. The Time Attack 1 NSX will be driven by James Robinson of the company's North American powertrain development group, who drove a first-generation NSX in the Pikes Peak Hill Climb from 2012 to 2015. His brother Nick Robinson, an engineer in charge of the new NSX's dynamic performance during its development, will drive the Time Attack 2 NSX. Nick is also the reigning PP250 winner from the 2015 Pikes Peak Hill Climb.

The supercar-inspired 4-Motor EV Concept will be driven by Tetsuya Yamano, who campaigned last year's CR-Z-based electric prototype. The EV Concept is the ultimate embodiment of the all-wheel-drive Electric SH-AWD powertrain featuring a world's first technology that enables four-wheel independent torque allocation. The Electric SH-AWD powertrain, an evolution of the CR-Z prototype powertrain, produces three times the total system output of last year's electric prototype and is mated to the NSX body.

As Official Pace Car sponsor, Acura will feature three pace cars – the NSX, the seven-passenger MDX performance-luxury SUV and the TLX sports sedan. President of Polyphony Digital and Producer of the Gran Turismo series Kazunori Yamauchi and Pikes Peak legends Randy Schranz and Leonard Vahsholtz will lead the field of 100 entrants to the top of the 14,115-foot Colorado peak.

For Pikes Peak race attendees, the NSX and other pace cars will appear at a number of pre-race activities, including the popular Fan Fest in downtown Colorado Springs, 5 to 10 p.m. MDT Friday, June 24.

VW Push for All-Electric Rallycross Supercars

Volkswagen is considering the development of an all-electric rallycross supercar.

The German firm's head of technology Frank Welsch says the short, sharp format of rallycross events offers the perfect showcase for advances in electric car technology.

“I can certainly imagine a championship done with all-electric cars,” Welsch told Autocar. “The races are around six minutes long, which allows for short, intense bursts of competition and then charging.”

VW already competes in Red Bull Global Rallycross with factory Beetle GRCs and in FIA World Rallycross with Polo RXs. Both cars squeeze around 560 HP out of their tiny engines and reach 100km/h in just 2 seconds.

“Today these cars are super-powerful, have torque from hell and use all-wheel drive,” said Welsch. “Electric drivetrains could deliver that.”

Welsch went on to say that “If the championship moved that way it would be perfect for us.”