Gumpert Electric Vehicle Enters 24 Hour Nurburgring Race

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
gumpert electric vehicle enters 24 hour nurburgring race

All the big boys test their latest performance gear on the Nurburgring's Nordschleife. But only the truly committed (and confident) campaign their gestating hotness at the Nurburgring's 24-hour endurance race. We've already reported that Toyota will be challenging the event with their Lexus LF-A supercar (despite its being a good year off from launching). But even before ToMoCo's hypercar turns a wheel in anger, they've been one-upped in the ballsiness department. The tiny Gumpert Sportwagenmanufaktur is entering the grueling endurance race with a hybrid-electric version of its Apollo supercar. Out comes the Apollo's 4.2-liter Audi V8; in goes a 3.3 bi-turbo V6 with a Lithium Technology Corporation battery mated to a 100kW electric engine. The EV will charge its batteries by plugging into the electrical grid prior to the race. During the event, the car will beam its battery management data to the team's pit crew via sat phone. Former F1 Champ Heinz-Harald Frentzen (along with Dirk Muller) will helm the ambitious challenger, capitalizing on improved efficiency to pursue a less frequent pit strategy (as Audi did with its diesel Le Mans challengers). "Motor sports cannot ignore the necessity to save energy," say Frentzen (excepting private jets and helicopters). "I see a chance that our sport will go back to the forefront of technical development." I for one would like to see these guys chalk up a few extra laps while the LF-A is in the pits, if only to put Toyota in the unfamiliar position of wishing it had invested more in hybrid technology.

Join the conversation
  • AGR AGR on May 17, 2008

    Lets hope Gumpert shows credible results from the 24 hour race, it will give an additional boost to hybrids, and electric power for vehicles. Its exciting to see an hydrid being raced!

  • Landcrusher Landcrusher on May 17, 2008

    Wow, more walk than talk. Tesla, are you getting this?

  • Pat Holliday Pat Holliday on Jun 18, 2008

    Sadly, more talk than walk it seemed. And I quote from Also turning heads was former Formula One driver, Heinz-Harald Frentzen, and his hybrid-powered Gumpert Apollo. Eleven minutes into the race, the transmission malfunctioned which resulted in no forward drive. With hopes of finishing the race gone and anticipation of a huge repair time, Gumpert technicians pressed on and finally fixed the Apollo. With the support of race officials, Frentzen managed to get back on the track for the final 90 minutes. Frentzen at the finish. “You can look at our result in two ways. On the one hand, we had two lots of problems with the gearbox in the conventional drive system. But, from a different perspective, the brake energy regeneration concept exceeded our expectations.”