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Nurburgring-spec ID.R begins testing - Update!

VW's Pikes Peak prototype has been made slipperier in a bid to smash the current electric car lap record

By Matt Bird / Thursday, April 25, 2019

UPDATE - 25.04.2019

VW has sent its Nurburgring-adapted ID.R prototype out for track testing today in preparation for the car’s electric lap record attempt that’s set to take place in the summer. The Pikes Peak prototype has undergone significant aerodynamic changes in order to adapt to the denser air of the Nordschleife, which is about 600 metres above sea level – or around 3,700 metres lower than American hill climb course finish – and deal with the far higher top speeds of the lap.

In fact, to maximise the latter, VW has sought the use of DRS technology for the slimmed rear wing, providing the ID.R with 20 per cent less downforce during flat out sections where top speeds will exceed 167mph before boosting grip through the ‘Ring’s fastest corners. This new bit of kit, along with the rest of the changes that have so far only been tested in a wind tunnel, will be the focus of evaluation for today’s running.

PH understands that VW is sharing the circuit only with a pair of racing Porsche 911s, so traffic needn’t be an issue – and should enable the use of a stopwatch. VW will, of course, not be revealing what times racer Romain Dumas records in testing, but with such extensive upgrades applied to an already proven record breaker, the 6:45.9 EV lap record, held by the Nio EP9 and Peter Dumbreck, looks well within reach.

ORIGINAL STORY - 05.04.2019

Here's a statement of intent from Volkswagen: "In summer, a new record is set to be delivered on the Nurburgring-Nordschleife." That record being the quickest lap by an electric powered race car, to be taken on by the ID. R, with the intent of surpassing the already-pretty-damn-quick 6:45 set by the Nio EP9 and Peter Dumbreck.

But the intention was known already; what VW has now disclosed is how it plans on going about achieving it. Because the Nurburgring ID.R will not be the same vehicle as the Pikes Peak ID.R. It will have the same power (680hp) - because that's more than sufficient for a car that weighs less than 1,100kg - but will receive a significant aerodynamic overhaul to meet the different challenges posed by the Nurburgring.

So because the Nordschleife is not 4,302m above sea level, the huge rear wing carried in Colorado for downforce will not be required. Instead this new configuration of ID. R will use a smaller spoiler as well as a front splitter of reduced size and a revised underfloor. Naturally this is all already being modelled on simulators, ahead of wind tunnel testing and then initial drives later this month.

Francois-Xavier Demaison, technical director of VW Motorsport, has said that it takes "ingenuity" to balance top speed with the limited electric energy available. There are a lot of flat out sections on the Nordschleiefe, of course - that run from Flugplatz to Aremberg, the long slog out of Bergwerk and the huge Dottingher-Hohe straight - which will place a strain on the battery reserves. No point being able to break a record for 80 per cent of the lap...

To that end the ID. R's drive technology and battery management are being further worked on alongside the aero, using the same labs as the roadgoing ID models are also being developed in - because the road car link needs to feature somewhere. Especially when VW's stated intent is to create "fast electric cars that awake your emotions."

Romain Dumas will again pilot the ID. R for this record attempt, though a date for the run hasn't yet been announced. Then there's the climb in China. Then whatever else VW has planned for its high profile marketing push.

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