Volkswagen’s All-Electric ID. R Aims For The Nürburgring Nordschleife Record—Helped By DRS!
Volkswagen’s fully electric-powered ID. R unlimited racer caused quite a stir in the middle of last year, by setting an overall record of 7min 57.148 seconds at the famous Pikes Peak hill climb, in Romain Dumas’s hands. And VW is far from resting on its laurels, as if anything it’s now set its sights even higher. This summer it aims to break the track record for an electric car at the mighty 14-mile Nürburgring Nordschleife, once again with Dumas at the wheel. The existing electric record is 6min 45.9s set by the NIO EP9 in 2017.
Following aerodynamic work in the windtunnel, the ID. R has undertaken recent track tests at the Paul Ricard and Alès circuits, both in France. The focus of the tests were on the car’s energy management software and establishing a tailored electric drivetrain set-up for the Nordschleife. “Next up is the first test session on the Nordschleife,” said Volkswagen Motorsport technical director François-Xavier Demaison. “The 2019 evolution of the race car has taken every aspect of the technology to the next level.”
Although the two courses are of almost identical length, the Nordschliefe presents different challenges to Pikes Peak, not least that it features many more full throttle sections than the hairpin-dominated US mountain pass. In addition, the Nordschiefe is much closer to sea level and so its air is denser—the Nürburgring is at about 600m up compared with the 4302m altitude at the Pikes Peak finish line. “This results in completely diﬀerent basic data for the measurements of the aerodynamic aids,” said the engineer responsible for the ID. R’s aerodynamics Hervé Dechipre. “In the USA it was all about maximum downforce,” added Demaison, “but because the speeds are a lot higher on the Nordschleife, the most eﬃcient possible battery use is of much greater importance with regard to the aerodynamic conﬁguration.”
Therefore the I.D. R will sport in its Nordschleife run a new Formula 1-style Drag Reduction System (DRS) rear wing, which will flatten out on the straights where its grip benefits aren’t needed and therefore reduce drag. Unlike F1 where DRS exists to aid overtaking, the solo-running ID R. has it to preserve its energy reserve, and it will decrease downforce by around 20% when in use. The system will be particularly signiﬁcant when the ID. R reaches the “Döttinger Höhe”, a straight near the end of the Nordschleife lap almost 3km in length.
“With an activated DRS, the car requires less energy to maintain its top speed over the entire Döttinger Höhe,” noted Dechipre. “The ID. R reaches its top speed quicker and with a lower use of energy.” Another benefit of the ID. R is that it requires comparatively few openings in its bodywork for cooling. “The electric motors operate with little cooling,” said Dechipre. “The ID. R therefore requires fewer air intakes than conventional race cars, which brings with it a great aerodynamic beneﬁt.”
Images courtesy of Volkswagen