GERMANY—The future of electric mobility at Audi is highly dynamic: The R8 e-tron has set a world record for a production vehicle with an electric drive system on the Nürburgring Nordschleife – the toughest test track in the world. Racing driver Markus Winkelhock piloted the high-performance, all-electric-drive sports car around the demanding 20.8-kilometer (12.92-mile) track in 8:09.099 minutes.
“The R8 e-tron has given a magnificent demonstration of its potential on the toughest race track in the world,” said Michael Dick, AUDI AG Board Member for Technical Development. Dick, who completed a fast lap himself in the R8 e-tron, added: “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.”
A comparison with the current record lap driven by a combustion-engined production car shows just how impressive the 8:09.099-minute time really is. The record time of 7:11.57 minutes was achieved with a Gumpert Apollo Sport, which is powered by a 515 kW (700 hp) Audi V8 gasoline engine.
The drive system of the Audi R8 e-tron that Markus Winkelhock drove to the world record corresponds in every detail with that of the production model that will come on the market at the end of the year. The Audi R8 e-tron accelerates from zero to 0 to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in just 4.6 seconds. Its top speed is normally limited to 200 km/h (124.27 mph); 250 km/h (155.34 mph) was approved for the record-setting lap.
The R8 e-tron’s rechargeable lithium-ion battery stores 49 KWh of energy – enough for a distance of about 215 kilometers (133.59 miles). Its “T” shape allows it to be installed in the center tunnel and in the area between the passenger compartment and the rear axle. It is charged by energy recovery during coasting and braking. The ultralight car body of the Audi R8 e-tron is made primarily of aluminum, along with CFRP components; this is a main reason why the high-performance sports car weighs just 1,780 kilograms (3,924.23 lb), despite the large battery.
“Of course, the R8 e-tron is a production car, not a racing car with the assistance of aerodynamics,” Winkelhock emphasized. “But with its low center 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.”
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