The Electric Volkswagen ID. R Has Begun Testing For The Nürburgring Lap Record
Earlier in the year, Volkswagen Motorsport announced they would be running the all-electric VW ID. R, that absolutely crushed the previous Pikes Peak Record, around the "Green Hell" this summer. Well, that time is approaching quickly, and as of last week, on-track testing has commenced.
Just last year, Romain Dumas in the ID. R completed the Pikes Peak Hillclimb with the first-ever sub-eight minute run, beating Sébastien Loeb's previous record by a full sixteen seconds. Although the two courses are roughly the same length, The Nürburgring-Nordschleife and Pikes Peak couldn't be more different from one another. If you know the courses, you know that "The Ring" is an incredibly fast, flowing, bumpy circuit with small details that play a massive role in overall lap times. Pikes Peak, on the other hand, is the opposite—slower, higher-risk, and much more technical.
The differences in the characteristics of the two courses required major changes to be made to the ID. R. The first, and most noticeable change being the addition of a DRS-style rear wing, similar to that found in Formula One. The overall higher-speed nature of the course and a good majority of the corners having a fair amount of camber lends to a lower downforce setup.
“The Nürburgring-Nordschleife has presented difficult challenges as expected,” says Sven Smeets, Volkswagen Motorsport Director. “Based on the extensive computer simulations in advance, in this test we have worked on ensuring the ID. R is optimally adapted to this unique race track, particularly with regard to the chassis. The energy management is already functioning very well. As a result, we were able to work through the planned focal points of the test program as scheduled, while also comparing various racing tires from our partner Bridgestone.”
“It was a great moment to drive the ID. R on my favourite track for the first time,” says driver Romain Dumas. “The cornering speeds in the ID. R are much higher than I am used to in GT race cars. But I feel good in the cockpit and that is really important here. The Nürburgring-Nordschleife has larger and more numerous bumps than the race tracks on which we have tested so far. So, we have concentrated on adapting the shock absorbers and the ride height to suit the unique characteristics of this track.”
As for when the lap is happening, that has yet to be confirmed. All we know is that it will be run later this summer. Until then, we hope to see a few more test laps while VW Motorsports completes the critical fine-tuning before the run.
I know everyone here at FCP Euro is eagerly awaiting the record-setting attempt now that all of the changes have been made. After all, the ID. R did start life as a Volkswagen GTI TCR, which we're currently running two of in the TC America Championship (if only we could borrow their new DRS system for our cars).
If you'd like to learn more about our TCRs and the team behind them, our original series, The Paddock, gives you a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to run them competitively.