Vijay Pattni29 June 2012

Audi R8 e-tron laps the ‘Ring

Ingolstadt claims a ‘world record’ for electric production vehicle with 8m 09s time…

Audi R8 e-tron

It's safe to say Marcus Winkelhock knows his way around the Nürburgring; that delightfully claustrophobic racing circuit manufacturers now feel obliged to make a pilgrimage to. It's also Mr May's least favourite 13-odd miles on Earth.

That's because last month, Marcus formed one part of an Audi quartet that took overall victory at the 24-hour ‘Ring race. Now, Mr Winkelhock - nephew of Astra VXR developer ‘Smokin Jo' Winkelhock - has set another ‘world record' in an electric Audi R8.

That's right; another day, another Nürburgring lap time. He piloted the upcoming Audi R8 e-tron and set a time of 8m 09.099s, comfortably making it the fastest production electric car to lap the Grüne Hölle.

Of course, it's not the fastest outright EV around the track; that honour rests with Toyota Motorsport's EV P001 racer, which recorded a blisteringly silent time of 7min 47.794s. But that car's basically a race-ready Radical, not an off-the-shelf supercar.

It's also comfortably quicker than the electric Peugeot EX1 concept that recorded a time of 9m 1.338s.

Short Circuit: Peugeot's Bugatti beater?

Says Marcus: "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 a completely new experience for me."

Ah yes, those motors. The R8 e-tron packs a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that powers two electric motors generating 375bhp and a very healthy 605lb ft of torque. In fact, Audi says 3,614lb ft of torque is distributed to the rear wheels from a standing start. Three thousand. 0-62mph takes 4.6 seconds - the same as the regular V8 - and tops out at 124mph. Audi reckons the e-tron can travel around 134 miles on that battery too, with the kerbweight coming in at 1,780kg.

Michael Dick, Audi's Technical Development board member, summed it up: "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."

What's that you scoff, ‘it'll never catch on'? Maybe. After all, it's still around a minute off the Gumpert Apollo Sport's time of 7m 11s (itself powered by an Audi V8, incidentally), as well as the controversial Radical SR8's time which ‘tops' the board. We say ‘tops', but there being no official body on ‘Ring times, it's a bit tricky...

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