By on January 21, 2019

Volkswagen is currently on a quest to prove electrification is the true path forward for automobiles. However, it’s not doing this by releasing production plug-ins with robust battery ranges. Instead, it’s taking its electric racer to the Nordschleife this summer after achieving total victory at the Pikes Peak Hill Climb last June.

The automaker wants to showcase the might of electric vehicles before it begins releasing them en mass from 2020 onwards. It’s even calling its ID R racer “the sporty ambassador” for an upcoming range of planned EVs.

“After the record on Pikes Peak, the fastest time for electric cars on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife is the next big challenge for the ID R,” said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Sven Smeets. “A lap record on the Nordschleife is a great accolade for any car, whether a race car or a production car.”

Thus far, the R has exceeded expectations, demolishing the all-time record at Pikes Peak after the company stated its goal to own the fastest EV. We think VW will try to do the same in Nürburg, Germany. Officially, it’s only vying for the electric record, but we would bet our biscuits that the automaker has another all-time record in its sights.

To accomplish that, the twin-motor, 670-hp race car will be modified to the course’s specifications. “Above all, we will modify the aerodynamics of the ID R, in order to cope with the conditions on the Nordschleife, which differ greatly from those on Pikes Peak,” explained François-Xavier Demaison, Technical Director at Volkswagen Motorsport.

The ID R loses some of the advantages it had on the Peak at Nürburg. For starters, the high elevation that helped its torquey, electric powertrain shine is gone. While the Nordschleife is 13 miles of tricky corners and changing elevations, the track never gets more than a couple thousand feet above sea level — not enough to starve rival internal-combustion engines of precious air. It also has some sections permitting extremely high speeds, necessitating even more attention to the exceptionally light vehicle’s aero setup, gearing, and power delivery.

“As part of our meticulous preparations for the record attempt, we will put the ID. R through an intense test and development program at various racetracks in the spring,” Demaison continued.

Testing the car before following it to the Nürburgring will be Romain Dumas, an endurance racing veteran already familiar with the track and the ID R. Dumas is the man responsible for smashing the lap record on Pikes Peak in 2018 and will tap into his 24 Hours of Nürburgring experience to squeeze the best time possible out of the VW in 2019.

“The thought of driving the ID R on the Nordschleife is already enough to give me goosebumps. I know the track very well, but the ID. R will be a completely different challenge, with its extreme acceleration and huge cornering speeds,” Dumas said in a statement. “I can hardly wait for the first tests. Breaking the existing electric record will certainly not be a stroll in the park.”

The current record for fully-electric vehicles stands at 6:45.90 minutes, which VW said required an average speed of almost 115 mph. That time was set in 2017 by Britain’s Peter Dumbreck in a NIO EP9 — a vehicle the ID R has already bested on the Goodwood hill climb. But there are a lot of things that could go wrong in VW’s reach for the record.

Despite Volkswagen seemingly choosing the best car and driver for the job, scheduling troubles could undo the attempt. Vehicles hoping to set a best time have to wait until the track is cleared of all other traffic, which can take time and only provides a limited window for runs. Likewise, bringing a vehicle in for repairs or modifications can seriously eat into periods that were supposed to be set aside for making a clean run. Meanwhile, one day of unexpected rain can ruin everything.

Volkswagen’s dates haven’t been announced, with the automaker only stating that the attempt will take place in the summer.

[Images: Volkswagen]

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6 Comments on “Volkswagen Officially Announces Record Attempt for Nürburgring-Nordschleife...”

  • avatar

    Could anything be less on potential EV buyers’ radar?

  • avatar

    When VW was demonstrating the performance of their common rail injected diesels, they had the ACO draft rules that let them win LeMans. I’d like to see what set of rules it would take for them to win LeMans with their BEV.

  • avatar

    It’s worth noting the current EV record set by the NIO EP9 (6:45) is one of the fastest times in ANY classification – production car, non-street legal race car, competition (qualification and race). It’s also not far off some of the long-standing records set by actual race cars. Quite an impressive feat if VW can go faster.

    Here is an unofficial list of cars that are faster or close to the NIO’s record:

    5:19 Porsche 919 Hybrid EVO
    6:11 Porsche 956
    6:16 Porsche 956
    6:25 Porsche 956
    6:28 March-BMW 832
    6:40 Manthey Racing Porsche 911 GT2 RS MR
    6:43 McLaren P1 XP1 LM prototype
    6:44 Lamborghini Aventador LP770-4 SVJ
    6:45 NIO EP9
    6:47 Pagani Zonda R
    6:48 Radial SR8 LM
    6:52 Lamborghini Huracan LP640-4 Performante
    6:47 Porsche 911 GT2 RS

    • 0 avatar

      It will be impressive if they can beat the 919’s time. The 956 is over 35 years old, and it was built to a bunch of pretty restrictive rules. Beating it with a one-trick time-trial car that has no restrictions other than VW’s budget to contend with should be like beating a 3 year old at arm wrestling.

      • 0 avatar

        Unless there is some technical obstacle preventing their EV from being faster than the 919 Hybrid, I feel like it will be a marketing decision to decide which brand looks better on top of the time charts.

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