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.

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