Volkswagen Motorsport is planning an assault on the electric lap record at the Nürburgring with the 671bhp ID R prototype it used to win this year's Pikes Peak International Hill Climb – and data simulations suggest the machine could challenge for the outright mark.
While exact details of the planned attempt remain under wraps, Autocar has learned that Volkswagen Motorsport has booked the legendary German track for a series of exclusive tests beginning next May. The official aim will be to set a new record for electric vehicles prior to the launch of the first electric ID production model during the third quarter of 2019.
But Autocar sources suggest that data gained in early simulation tests indicate Volkswagen could be on course to break the current outright lap record, which was set by sister firm Porsche earlier this year using a heavily modified 919 Hybrid Evo race car.
The current Nürburgring electric vehicle lap record, set by Chinese firm Nio's road-going 1341bhp EP9, is 6min 45.90sec. Porsche's outright record, set by Timo Bernhard in the 1160bhp petrol-electric 919 Hybrid Evo, is 5min 19.55sec – an average speed of 145.3mph.
“We’re still at an early stage of preparation, but we’ve already seen lap times below 5min 30sec in the simulator,” an insider with knowledge of Volkswagen Motorsport’s Nürburgring plans told Autocar, adding: “There’s more to come, we’re sure”.
The ID R Pikes Peak prototype smashed the outright record at Pikes Peak earlier this year, conquering the 12.42-mile Colorado hill climb in 7min 57.15sec. The four-wheel-drive machine was designed specifically for the unique challenges of the event, with huge wings to maximise downforce at high elevations, and Volkswagen Motorsport is currently in the process of modifying the machine for the Nürburgring.
The revisions are set to include a new aerodynamic package, allowing for a higher top speed than the 150mph of the car in Pikes Peak form. Further changes will focus on the electric drive system.
Romain Dumas drove the car at Pikes Peak, and he will be retained for the Nürburgring record bid. While he was initially chosen by Volkswagen for his Pikes Peak knowledge, he is a four-time winner of the Nürburgring 24 Hours. He's also a long-time works Porsche driver and has twice won the Le Mans 24 Hours for the firm, including once in a 919 Hybrid.
The timing of the record run will be dictated by the weather conditions at the 12.94-mile circuit, although a series of races and events at the Nürburgring in May and June mean running will be restricted.
Further complicating Volkswagen Motorsport plans is its commitment to run the ID R prototype at next year’s Goodwood Festival Of Speed. The source added: “It will be tight, but we’re confident we’ll get at least one good run at it before we begin preparations for Goodwood.”
Original plans were for Volkswagen to stage its electric vehicle lap record attempt during the weekend of the 2019 Nürburgring 24-hour race on June 22/23. However, the organisers of the race are claimed to have cancelled the request on safety grounds.