Audi claims R8 e-tron electric car has set world record at Nürburgring race track

2 Jul 2012

The Audi e-tron in action. Image credit: AUDI Ireland's Facebook page

Audi is claiming its upcoming all-electric sports car, the R8 e-tron, has set a new world record for electric vehicles after the car lapped the 20.8km Nürburgring race track in Nürburg, Germany, in eight minutes and nine seconds.

The Nürburgring itself, which is known as being one of the world’s most demanding race tracks, was taken on by racing driver Markus Winkelhock, who piloted the R8 e-tron from Audi.

According to Audi, the R8 e-tron has set a world record for a production vehicle with an electric drive system on the Nürburgring Nordschleife after Winkelhock drove around the 20.8-kilometre (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’s board member for technical development.

“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,” he said in a statement.

Audi has given a comparison of the electric drive with a combustion engine car.

Apparently, the Gumpert Apollo Sport, which is powered by a 515kW (700hp) Audi V8 gas engine, clocked up the same drive in 7:11.57 minutes on the Nürburgring.

R8 e-tron on market at end of year

The company said that the drive system of the Audi R8 e-tron that Winkelhock drove corresponds in every detail with that of the production model that will come on the market at the end of the year.

Audi said that both of the car’s electric motors generate an output of 230kW and 820Nm of torque. It said that more than 4,900Nm are distributed to the rear wheels nearly from a standing start.

As for other features of the car, Audi said that the R8 e-tron will be able to accelerate from zero to 100km per hour in 4.6 seconds. And while the car’s top speed is normally limited to 200km per hour, 250km per hour was approved for the lap at Nürburgring.

The R8 e-tron’s rechargeable lithium-ion battery will – said Audi – be able to store 49 KWh of energy – enough for a distance of about 215km.

The car is made primarily of aluminum, along with CFRP components. Audi said that this is a main reason why the sports car weighs just 1,780kg despite the large battery.

Racing driver Winkelhock, who lives near Stuttgart, also won the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring in May when he drove the Audi R8 LMS ultra along with Marc Basseng, Christopher Haase and Frank Stippler.

In mid-June, Audi also celebrated at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with the Audi R18 e-tron Quattro, which it said was the first overall victory for a hybrid-electric vehicle in the “toughest” race in the world.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic