In June of last year Volkswagen’s ID.R didn’t just set an electric car record. No, it blew past all vehicles whether powered by electricity or gas to set the overall record at Peak International Hill Climb in Denver Colorado.
Consider that the ID.R toppled the record set in 2013 by Sébastien Loeb in a Peugeot 208 T16. Loeb clocked a time of 8:13.878, but the ID.R shaved off over 16 seconds to cross the finish line at an impressive 7:57.148.
Not one to cool its heels after a win, Volkswagen immediately went back to the workshop to prime the ID.R for another challenge: to set a new electric vehicle lap record on the 12.9-mile-long Nürburgring-Nordschleife. If Romain Dumas, the man who’s going to be behind the ID.R’s wheel, has one number on his mind, it’s most certainly 6:45.90 minutes. That’s the number to beat. The current electric record set by Peter Dumbreck in a NIO EP9. Or, could VW be brave enough to go after Porsche’s absolutely insane overall record of 5:19.5 with it’s hybrid racecar, the 919 Evo?
Redeveloping for Different Conditions
After redeveloping the ID.R, Volkswagen debuted its contender at the Nürburgring and testing will start almost immediately in preparation for the record attempt. As part of Volkswagen’s ID. product family, ID.R is the flagship, intending to showcase the brand’s expertise in building exciting performance cars with emissions-free technology.
To take on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife course, Volkswagen adapted the ID.R’s 670 horsepower electric drivetrain. The car gets its power from two lithium-ion battery blocks, which aren’t just custom pieces designed for this contest. Volkswagen says these batteries are comparable to what consumers will get in future production vehicles in the ID. family.
Since the conditions at Nürburgring-Nordschleife are quite different than at Pikes Peak, Volkswagen had to rethink ID.R’s aerodynamics. With the number of turns and thinner air characteristic of Pikes Peak, the ID.R needed to focus on maximum downforce. For Nürburgring-Nordschleife, it’s calculated that the ID.R will reach an average speed over 112 mph with a top speed of 168 mph. Although that top speed sounds a bit low, it still required a reconfiguration to accommodate that max-velocity.
François-Xavier Demaison, Technical Director of Volkswagen Motorsport explains, “We have therefore developed a completely new aerodynamic package using DRS, the drag reduction system known from Formula 1, as well as optimising the energy management, which controls the power output of the two electric motors and energy recovery under braking.”
What is this DRS? It’s a hydraulically-adjustable element on the rear wing of the ID. R. At the touch of a button, Dumas can reduce air resistance by about 20 percent. Demaison can elucidate further. “In contrast to Formula 1, the DRS on the ID. R serves not to overtake, but to improve efficiency,” he says. “The ID. R has a very powerful drivetrain. The DRS helps to use this performance with lower energy consumption, so that it can continue being deployed for the entire lap of the Nordschleife.”
Participate in the Action
Volkswagen has a great jockey in Dumas. He has already won the famous 24-hour Nürburgring race four times. Although he’s raced the ID.R on the simulator many times, there’s no substitute for getting out on the track and burning rubber.
For those of you just itching to have the opportunity to drive the ID.R, all is not lost. Volkswagen has launched a partnership with RaceRoom, a free online racing simulation to put people in ID.R’s driver’s seat. Gamers can compete with Dumas on the track – and there’s also an option to incorporate virtual reality glasses into the game. Volkswagen promises it’s a very realistic experience created from original ID.R data and Volkswagen Motorsport engineers providing insight into driving dynamics to the game developers. For further information about virtually getting out on the track, visit www.raceroom.com/volkswagen.