How Volkswagen's electrical record-breaker conquered the Nurburgring

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128.598mph: Common pace of the ID R on its new electrical lap file run
Volkswagen’s ID R particular didn’t simply beat the Nordschleife electrical automobile file, it smashed it. We have been there to look at the monumental feat

After setting a brand new outright file on the 12.42-mile Pikes Peak hillclimb final yr, the electrical Volkswagen ID R already sat atop one very massive mountain. Which left the query: what subsequent? 

For VW, the reply was easy: showcase the electrical automobile’s potential on the proving floor of selection for all automobile corporations, the 12.90-mile snaking ribbon of bumpy, undulating Tarmac that’s the Nürburgring Nordschleife. Formally, the objective was to interrupt the 6min 45.90sec electrical automobile lap file. In reality, that was by no means actually unsure. This was about pushing that electrical file so far as it might go. 

The earlier mark was set by the Nio EP9 which, whereas producing 1341bhp from 4 electrical motors, was nonetheless a production-based automobile that could possibly be made street authorized. The ID R is a pure-bred competitors automobile, developed by one of many world’s largest producers. On its first run – a apply lap – it smashed the Nio’s file. By 20 seconds. 

Volkswagen ID R smashes electrical Nurburgring file – with video

With a ‘mere’ 671bhp from two electrical motors, one on every axle offering four-wheel drive, the ID R isn’t essentially the most highly effective EV developed – however VW’s philosophy isn’t on outright energy, relatively guaranteeing it has full energy all through a run. 

Fortuitously, at 12.42 and 12.90 miles respectively, Pikes Peak and the Nürburgring are an identical size, so VW retained the identical lithium ion battery design, that includes eight 56-cell modules, break up into two blocks (VW stays coy on the power capability of the batteries). 

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However size is the one factor the 2 programs have in widespread, and the ID R was extensively reworked for the Nürburgring. The mammoth Pikes Peak-spec rear wing was switched for a smaller one, that includes a Drag Discount System that, with a brand new ground and entrance spoiler, cuts drag by as much as 20%. Minimising drag is important on such a circuit, notably on the 1.Three-mile Döttinger Höhe straight which, inconveniently for an electrical automobile, comes close to the tip of the lap. 

With fewer gradual corners providing fewer possibilities to regain power beneath braking, the power administration system was reworked. There have been additionally new Bridgestone tyres and light-weight carbonfibre brake discs. 

One factor VW didn’t change was the driving force: Romain Dumas. Chosen for Pikes Peak as a former winner of the well-known hillclimb, Dumas can be a a number of Nürburgring 24 Hours victor. That stated, till Monday Three June, he’d by no means been around the monitor at something near the speeds he managed within the ID R. 

“In comparison with a GT automobile, the cornering speeds and g-forces are far increased,” he says. “The limiting issue turns into your physique and your thoughts.” 

On Pikes Peak, Dumas had a single timed run. However given a full day on the Nordschleife, he made 5 runs utilizing two ID R chassis (a major automobile and a second used for analysis and check runs). His first lap was 6min 25sec, however he wasn’t completely proud of the set-up of the automobile. With settings tweaked, Dumas duly clocked a 6min 12sec lap regardless of operating low on energy as he crossed the road. 

“I used to be honing the driving model, notably within the quick bits,” stated Dumas after that run. “At Flugplatz, I used to be lifting a bit: I arrived at 255km/h [158mph] and lifted to 250. On the primary run I used to be at 245, so I gained 5km/h – however now I must not carry, and discover 5km/h extra.” 

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After lunch, VW settled on two extra runs: one other check lap, earlier than one ultimate push. Dumas’ ‘apply’ lap was 6min 09sec, sufficient to make the ID R the second-fastest automobile to ever lap the Nordschleife. His ultimate effort was faster nonetheless: 6min 05.336sec. Unimaginable for an electrical automobile. Unimaginable for any automobile. 

“On the ultimate lap I attacked the kerbs and took the within line on the Karousel, which I hadn’t completed earlier than,” says Dumas. “I believed if we broken the automobile’s ground a little bit bit, it wouldn’t matter. We have been actually starting to push the restrict. It was beginning to get fascinating.” 

May the ID R have gone faster? Undoubtedly: the crew hinted its simulated quickest lap was barely quicker nonetheless, motorsport boss Sven Smeets noting the unusually scorching June climate made managing the battery temperature and energy robust. Nonetheless, the time was spectacular sufficient. 

Opinion: What does Volkswagen’s new Nurburging file show?

However we’re speaking comparatively marginal features: it was by no means going to hassle the outright lap file, the still-hard-to-fathom 5min 19.45sec set by Timo Bernhard final yr within the Porsche 919 Evo. That machine was a closely modified Le Mans winner re-imagined with out restrict, that includes a hybrid powertrain pairing a 710bhp 2.Zero-litre V4 engine with a 433bhp electrical motor. 

There’s no shame in not coming near matching that. As an alternative, contemplate that the ID R was faster than each different automobile that has ever lapped the monitor, going quicker than the file time that stood for 35 years earlier than Bernhard’s run – Stefan Bellof’s 6min 11.13sec effort in a Porsche 956 in 1983. No matter energy supply, that’s rarefied air, one other milestone for electrical automobile expertise – and one other mountain the ID R now sits atop.

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What’s subsequent for ID R?

Having conquered two of motorsport’s most storied venues, the Volkswagen ID R has two extra targets this yr. 

First it’s Goodwood, the place the ID R will return to sort out the Competition of Velocity’s quick, sharp hillclimb course for a second yr. In 2018 the machine set a brand new mark for an EV file, however fell wanting the outright file. In Nürburgring aero-spec, that might change. 

After that, the ID R will actually break new floor. With China the world’s largest EV market – and the place VW sells round half of its automobiles – discovering a strategy to showcase the ID R within the nation was apparent. However China isn’t precisely stuffed with historic, ultra-challenging motorsport venues. So VW has made its personal. 

In September, it should head to Tianmen Mountain in China to set a file on the Tianmen Shan Large Gate vacationer street. Suppose a barely smaller Chinese language Pikes Peak: the 6.Eight-mile street options 99 turns and rises from 650ft to 4265ft. 

However because the street has by no means been used for a motorsport occasion, there isn’t a file to talk of. So VW is inviting players to set a goal time on a web-based simulator that Romain Dumas will attempt to beat. 

It’s a novel idea, however unusually becoming: with few locations to showcase EV expertise in motorsport, VW has typically spoken about discovering new challenges. That is taking that to extremes.

Learn extra

How Volkswagen broke the Pikes Peak hillclimb all-time file​

Interview: Romain Dumas on Pikes Peak and Goodwood​

671bhp Volkswagen ID R to battle players for hillclimb file​


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