After the record-breaking run at the famous Pikes Peak Hill Climb, the ID. R -Volkswagen’s fully-electric sports car- is looking for a lap record in the summer of 2019 for electric cars on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife, one of the most challenging racetracks in the world. The current record for fully-electric vehicles stands at 6:45.90 minutes—at an average speed of almost 115 mph—and was set in 2017 by Britain’s Peter Dumbreck in a NIO EP9. (AutoInformed NextEV NIO EP9 – World’s Fastest EV?)
The ID. R is the marketing amperage behind an entire range of electric vehicles that Volkswagen plans to launch from 2020 onwards. The ID. R’s motorsport ventures – arguably – show the huge potential power that e-drive can deliver on prosaic, possibly gridlocked roads in the future.
The ID. R is being further developed for the record attempt but still powered by two electric engines with a system capacity of 670 horsepower. It weighs less than 2,500 pounds, including the jockey, err, driver.
Aerodynamics will be crucial here. Unlike Pikes Peak, which starts at an altitude of more than 9,000 feet and ends at 14,115 feet, the Nordschleife winds its way through the Eifel region at between 1,050 and 2,024 feet above sea level. The German circuit has a unique quirks, one of which is the long Döttinger Höhe straight.
Romain Dumas – a journeyman driver – will be at the wheel again for the record attempt. He won the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb with the ID. R Pikes Peak in June 2018 and, with a time of 7:57.148 minutes – the first driver in more than 100 years of this race to go under eight minutes. The Frenchman also has four victories in the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring.
“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,” says Dumas. “I can hardly wait for the first tests. Breaking the existing electric record will certainly not be a stroll in the park.”
A comparatively narrow track—13 miles long, with 75 corners, and regularly climbing or descending through the Eifel forests—the Nordschleife, which was opened in 1927, is one of a kind and continues to serve as a test environment for the automobile industry. Former Formula 1 world champion, Jackie Stewart, once only half-jokingly called the circuit the “Green Hell.”
Despite the circuit being subjected to repeated modifications, it has not hosted Formula 1 since 1978. Nowadays, the Nordschleife—together with the modern Grand Prix Circuit—is primarily known as the venue for a 24-hour race. The FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR), a global touring car series, also runs the track in the Eifel Mountains. Volkswagen is represented in both series with the Golf GTI TCR.