We spotted an Audi R8 e-tron at the Nürburgring recently after visiting the Le Mans. We were taking a ‘normal’ R8 for a motorsport trip for a few days. This new electric model was not just there for pre-production testing but to break a record!
During the testing for its production debut in late 2012, this all-electric Audi R8 e-tron has just 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 sports car around the demanding 12.92-mile track in 8:09.099 minutes. With this Audi has achieved yet another milestone in its history, following overall wins at the 24-hour races at the Nürburgring and Le Mans.
“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 production car with a conventional combustion engine shows just how impressive the 8:09.099-minute time really is. The record time of 7:11.57 minutes was achieved by a Gumpert Apollo Sport, which is powered by a 700PS Audi V8 petrol engine.
The drive system of the Audi R8 e-tron that Markus Winkelhock drove to the world record is identical to that of the road-going model that will enter production towards the end of the year. The car’s electric motors generate a combined output of 280 kW and 820 Nm of torque; more than 4,900 Nm (3,614.05 lb-ft) is distributed to the rear wheels virtually from a standing start.
The Audi R8 e-tron accelerates from zero to 62mph in just 4.6 seconds. Its top speed is normally limited to 124mph; 155mph 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 133 miles. Its “T” shape allows it to be installed in the centre 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 body of the Audi R8 e-tron is made primarily of aluminium, along with CFRP components; this is the main reason why the high-performance sports car weighs just 1,780 kilograms, despite the large battery.
In order to further underscore the production-relevance of the R8 e-tron and the capability of its drive technology, Audi has set another record on the Nordschleife in addition to the single lap record time. Immediately afterwards, Markus Winkelhock drove two fast laps in one go in a second R8 e-tron that was limited to 124mph. At 8:30.873 and 8:26.096 minutes, both laps were well under the important nine-minute threshold.
“The record drives were a fantastic experience for me,” said Markus Winkelhock.
The 32-year-old, who lives near Stuttgart, has a high standard for comparison – the Audi R8 LMS ultra, in which he, along with Marc Basseng, Christopher Haase and Frank Stippler, won the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring a few weeks ago.
“Of course, the R8 e-tron is a production car, not a racing car with the assistance of aerodynamics,” Winkelhock emphasised.
“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.”
Michael Dick proudly summed up events after the record-setting drive at the Nürburgring.
“Within just a few weeks we’ve taken on some big challenges and in the process we’ve shown that we are at the forefront with all of our drive concepts,” he said, adding:
“We won the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring in May in the Audi R8 LMS ultra with a ten-cylinder engine. In mid-June we triumphed at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with the Audi R18 e-tron quattro – the first overall victory for a hybrid-electric vehicle in the toughest race in the world. And now we’ve set another record with the all-electric-drive R8 e-tron on the most demanding track there is.”
The Audi R8 e-tron should enter production later this year and looks to be a very interesting alternative to the V8 or V10 engines!
Audi Circuit Breaker – The Audi 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 lapped the 12.92-mile track in 8:09.099 minutes.