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Audi sets electric-car record
Production-spec 2013 Audi R8 e-tron sets Nurburgring record for electric cars
2 Jul 2012
AUDI has posted an unofficial lap record for an electric car around the famed Nurburgring Nordschleife race circuit in Germany with a production-specification R8 e-tron.
The R8 e-tron – which will be released in limited numbers late this year – completed a lap of the torturous 20.8km circuit in a time of 8min09.099sec, which is as fast as a Porsche Boxster S has lapped the track.
Audi says the exercise proved the performance potential of electric cars and that “the future of electric mobility at Audi is highly dynamic”.
Lap times at the Nurburgring are not audited or formalised, but the fastest time by a production car from a volume manufacturer is the 7m14.64 credited to a Lexus LFA fitted with a ‘Nurburgring Package’, while a Nissan GT-R has lapped the track in 7m26.70s.
A low-volume Gumpert Apollo Sport, which is powered by a 515kW Audi V8 engine, has set a time of 7m11.57s, which Audi regards as the current record lap by a combustion-engined production car.
The fastest-ever lap by an EV was 7m47.8s set last year by Toyota Motorsport GmbH, the same company that ran Toyota’s Formula One team from 2002 to 2009, with an ultra-light British Radical race car fitted with two electric motors producing a combined 800Nm of torque.
Audi’s production R8 e-tron also uses two electric motors, producing 280kW of power and 820Nm of torque, and can accelerate from 0-100km/h in just 4.6 seconds.
It was driven by Audi works driver Markus Winkelhock, a 32-year-old German who only five weeks earlier won the Nurburgring 24-hour race in a V10-engined R8 LMS ultra.
The only change to the car was increasing the electronic speed-limiter from 200km/h to 250km/h. With the lower setting, the car lapped the track 17 seconds slower, but still well under the nine-minute mark.
Audi AG board member for technical development Michael Dick, who also drove the R8 e-tron at the Nurburgring, said that “electric mobility means dynamics and driving pleasure” to Audi.
“The R8 e-tron has given a magnificent demonstration of its potential on the toughest race track in the world,” he said.
“The record-setting drive confirmed that we are on the right track. To us, electric mobility has never been about sacrifice, but rather is about emotion, sportiness and driving pleasure.” The R8 e-tron’s lithium-ion battery pack stores 49kWh of energy – enough for a range of about 215km with more normal driving – and is installed low in the car, along the centre tunnel and in the area between the passenger compartment and the rear axle.
The body is made primarily of aluminum, along with CFRP (carbon-fibre reinforced plastic) components, which keeps the weight down to 1780kg, despite the large and heavy battery.
Markus Winkelhock said the record drive was a fantastic experience for him.
“Of course, the R8 e-tron is a production car, not a racing car with the assistance of aerodynamics,” he said. “But with its low centre of gravity and rear-biased weight distribution, it brings with it a lot of sporty qualities.
“The torque with which the electric motors propel the car uphill beats everything that I know – even if they make hardly any noise in the process, which at the start was really a completely new experience for me.
“In places where I really need traction, the torque vectoring – the displacement of the torque between the powered wheels – really helps me.” On June 17, Audi scored the first overall victory for a hybrid-electric vehicle in the world’s biggest endurance race, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with its R18 e-tron quattro racer powered by an electric-assisted 3.7-litre V6 turbo-diesel engine.
It was Audi’s 11th victory in the French classic in 13 years.
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