Volkswagen ID.R sets new electric record on the Nürburgring

Volkswagen has achieved another milestone in electro-mobility: The ID.R, powered by two electric motors, lapped the Nürburgring-Nordschleife in 6:05.336 minutes – faster than any electric vehicle before it. Romain Dumas (F) beat the previous record set by Peter Dumbreck (GB, NIO EP9) in 2017 by 40.564 seconds. With an average speed of 204.96 km/h, the ID.R once again underlined the impressive performance capabilities of Volkswagen’s electric drive. This 500 kW (680 PS) emission-free race car is the racing flagship of the future fully electric ID. product family from Volkswagen.

“The Nordschleife of the Nürburgring is not only the world’s most demanding race track, it is also the ultimate test for production vehicles,” says Herbert Diess, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Group. “The ID.R has mastered this challenge with great distinction and has completed the fastest emission-free lap of all time. As further proof of its impressive performance capabilities, Volkswagen’s e-mobility can now proudly call itself ‘Nürburgring-approved’. I congratulate the team from Volkswagen Motorsport and driver Romain Dumas on the third record for the ID.R”

Within just twelve months, Volkswagen Motorsport has already set three track records with the ID.R. On 24 June 2018, Romain Dumas achieved the absolute track record of 7:57.148 minutes at the renowned Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (USA). Just three weeks later, he achieved a new best time for electric cars of 43.86 seconds at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in southern England. The new record on the legendary Nordschleife has now been added to this successful run.

For Romain Dumas, who is a four-time winner of the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring, the record lap with the ID.R is another highlight on his favourite track. “To be a record-holder on the Nordschleife makes me unbelievably proud,” says Dumas. “For me, this is the best and most difficult race track in the world. I want to thank the team at Volkswagen Motorsport, who have once again done a fantastic job. The ID.R was perfectly prepared for the Nordschleife and it was so much fun to experience the blistering acceleration and rapid cornering speeds.”

With the e-record on the Nordschleife, Volkswagen has once again demonstrated the enormous performance capabilities that come with electric mobility. “This impressive success story is the result of meticulous preparation by our engineers, the flawless work by the whole team during testing and of course a perfect driving performance by Romain Dumas,” says Volkswagen Motorsport Director Sven Smeets.

To prepare for the Nürburgring Nordschleife challenge, in just five months Volkswagen Motorsport gave the ID.R a complete makeover compared to the record outings on Pikes Peak and in Goodwood. “For this evolved version of the ID.R, the aerodynamic configuration was more strongly adapted to the highest possible speed, rather than maximum downforce,” explains François-Xavier Demaison, Technical Director. “With extensive test laps in the simulator and on the race track, we adapted the ID.R to the unique conditions of the Nordschleife, focussing mainly on chassis tuning, energy management and optimal choice of tyres for the record attempt.”

The VW ID.R now holds the second fastest Nürburgring time ever recorded, the fastest being set by sister company Porsche with a modified LMP1 919 Hybrid EVO with a time of 5 minutes 19.55 seconds at an average speed of 233.8 km/h (145.3 mph) - almost 30 km/h faster than the ID.R.

Where the 500 kW ID.R's top speed during the lap record peaked at 270 km/h, the 865 kW 919 EVO was able to regularly sustain speeds over 300 km/h with a peak of 370 km/h during his record-beating run.

Volkswagen ID. R uses DRS Formula 1 technology for Nürburgring run

Volkswagen has set itself a new challenge with the ID. R this year – the Nürburgring-Nordschleife instead of Pikes Peak. A race track instead of a hill climb. Full-throttle sections instead of hair-pins. Because of this, the fully electric-powered ID. R has been continuously developed with respect to its aerodynamics.

“Though almost identical in length at roughly 20 kilometres, the Nordschleife presents a completely different challenge for aerodynamics in comparison to the hill climb at Pikes Peak,” says François-Xavier Demaison, Technical Director of Volkswagen Motorsport. “In the USA it was all about maximum downforce, but because the speeds are a lot higher on the Nordschleife, the most efficient possible battery use is of much greater importance with regard to the aerodynamic configuration.”

On the Nordschleife, it is not primarily about downforce, but low drag as well. Furthermore, the air in the Eifel, which sits about 600 metres above sea level, is much denser in comparison to Pikes Peak, where the finish line is 4,302 metres high. “This results in completely different basic data for the measurements of the aerodynamic aids,” explains Hervé Dechipre, the engineer responsible for the ID. R’s aerodynamics.

As well as an adapted floor and a new spoiler at the front of the vehicle, the ID. R will also sport a newly designed rear wing. It will be much lower than the variant used at Pikes Peak, in order to provide less surface resistance to the flow of air. The new multi-wing rear of the ID. R will nevertheless produce high downforce in the medium-fast turns of the 73-corner Nordschleife.

A difference to Formula 1: saving energy instead of overtaking

To further reduce the drag in certain sections, the rear wing will deploy technology known from its use in Formula 1 – the so-called Drag Reduction System (DRS). In the pinnacle class of motorsport, DRS is used in order to facilitate overtaking by allowing for higher speeds. During the ID. R’s solo-drive, however, the opening element of the rear wing will be used exclusively to preserve the remaining energy reserves. “Between when the rear wing is fully deployed and when it is flat, the difference in downforce is about 20 per cent,” explains Dechipre.

DRS will be particularly significant when the ID. R reaches the ‘Döttinger Höhe’, an almost three-kilometre-long straight at the end of the Nordschleife lap. “With an activated DRS, the car requires less energy to maintain its top speed over the entire Döttinger Höhe,” says Dechipre. “The ID. R reaches its top speed quicker and with a lower use of energy.”

With the ID. R as the racing spearhead of the future fully-electric production vehicles from the ID. family, the high potential of electric drive is combined with the emotion and fascination of motorsport. In this respect, there are not only technical, but aesthetic parallels as well. Similar to the future production vehicles from the ID. family, the ID. R also requires comparatively few openings in the bodywork to allow cooling air to flow. “The electric motors operate with little cooling,” says Dechipre. “The ID. R therefore requires fewer air intakes than conventional race cars, which brings with it a great aerodynamic benefit.”

Tests in wind tunnel with models and the actual vehicle

As with the preparations for the record-breaking outing at Pikes Peak last year, Volkswagen has tested the ID. R’s aerodynamics in the wind tunnel – initially with a 1:2 model. The next step was to continue this detailed work with the original sized race car. “By doing this, we could simulate the movements of the ID. R when braking or steering, as well as the resulting changes in aerodynamics,” describes Dechipre.

In order to be able to test as many variants as possible of the aerodynamic components that were also constructed using computer simulations, Volkswagen Motorsport once again took advantage of 3D printing. As a result, particularly complex designed plastic vehicle parts (that undergo only minimal loads) can be made in a short time and with high cost savings. “A good example of this is the air deflectors in front of the rear wheel arch, which optimise the airflow around the rear wheel,” says Dechipre.

On the high-speed sections of the 20.832-kilometer Nordschleife, these can make all the difference to the ID. R’s ability to undercut the existing electric lap record of 6:45.90 minutes, and thereby lay down a clear statement as to the performance capabilities of electric drive from Volkswagen.

Audi e-tron climbs 85% gradient slope at Austrian downhill course

In late January, Audi sent its first fully electric-powered SUV onto the slopes where the world’s best ski racers battle for victory in the Hahnenkamm Race. The specially equipped Audi e-tron climbed the “Mausefalle” on the legendary “Streif”. With an 85 percent gradient, it is the steepest section of the spectacular downhill course.

With an 85 percent gradient, the “Mausefalle” is the steepest section of the famous “Streif” downhill course in Kitzbühel. To climb this passage, the Audi e-tron technology demonstrator was equipped with the triple motor powertrain originally shown when the e-tron SUV concept made it's debut in 2015.

With two electric motors on the rear axle and one electric motor on the front axle, (the production e-tron has only one motor per axle) the technology demonstrator achieved a total boost output of up to 370 kW and wheel torque of 8,920 Nm (6,579.1 lb-ft). This ensured full performance on the steep gradient. Audi also modified the software with respect to drive torque and torque distribution for the special conditions on the “Streif”. 19-inch wheels with spikes developed specifically for this driving event provided the necessary grip on snow and ice.

“Conquering an 85 percent gradient sounds impossible at first,” says Mattias Ekström, who was behind the wheel of the Audi e-tron technology demonstrator. “Even I was impressed with the way this car handles such difficult terrain,” adds the World Rallycross champion and two-time DTM champion. He considers this event to be one of his most extraordinary experiences.

For the greatest possible safety, the Audi e-tron technology demonstrator was equipped with a roll cage and a racing seat with a six-point harness. The vehicle itself was equipped with a belay, through which a safety cable was run. There was no pulling device.

Audi had a strong partner at its side for this project: the Austrian beverage producer Red Bull. The two companies are long-standing partners of the Hahnenkamm Race and conducted this event together. The Audi e-tron technology demonstrator also illustrated this collaboration with a special set of decals.

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.