It's not a new fastest EV ever record, but Audi has just set a new "series production electric car" speed record with a 8:09.099 minute-time at Nürburgring in the R8 e-tron. We bet you're thinking the same thing we did when we saw the news: wait, so the R8 e-tron is a production vehicle now?

Actually, no, not yet. The R8 EV isn't due until the end of the year, but the powertrain in the record-setting car, "corresponds in every detail with that of the production model," says Audi. There were some differences, though, including that the top speed was raised to 250 kilometers an hour (155.34 miles per hour) instead of the usual 200 kmh (124.27 mph). What's left intact are the electric motors that provide more than 4,900 Nm (3,614.05 pound-feet*) or torque. (Asterisk described here.)

Semantics aside, the all-electric sports car was whipped around the 12.92-mile Nürburgring Nordschleife track by driver Markus Winkelhock. In April, the R8 e-tron was spotted roaming the ring. Last year, Toyota ran its TMG EV P001 around the 'Ring in just 7:47.79, beating the previous electric vehicle record of set by Peugeot earlier last year of 9:01.33 with the EX1. Following his record-setting run, Winkelhock took a second R8 e-tron – this one with the speed limiter left intact – around the lap twice in 8:30.873 and 8:26.096. We've got video below.



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World record for the Audi R8 e-tron: with 8:09.099 minutes at the Nürburgring
  • Superior peak performance for electric-drive production vehicles
  • Racing driver Markus Winkelhock piloted the new electric sports car with 280 kW output
  • Michael Dick: "To us, electric mobility means dynamics and driving pleasure"
Ingolstadt/Nürburg, June 29, 2012 – The future of electric mobility at Audi is highly dynamic: The R8 e-tron has set a world record for a production vehicle with an electric drive system on the Nürburgring Nordschleife – the toughest test track in the world. Racing driver Markus Winkelhock piloted the high-performance, all-electric-drive sports car around the demanding 20.8-kilometer (12.92-mile) track in 8:09.099 minutes. With this Audi has achieved yet another milestone in its history, following overall wins at the 24-hour races at the Nürburgring and Le Mans.

"The R8 e-tron has given a magnificent demonstration of its potential on the toughest race track in the world," said Michael Dick, AUDI AG Board Member for Technical Development. Dick, who completed a fast lap himself in the R8 e-tron, added: "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."

A comparison with the current record lap driven by a combustion engined production car shows just how impressive the 8:09.099-minute time really is. The record time of 7:11.57 minutes was achieved with a Gumpert Apollo Sport, which is powered by a 515 kW (700 hp) Audi V8 gasoline engine.

The drive system of the Audi R8 e-tron that Markus Winkelhock drove to the world record corresponds in every detail with that of the production model that will come on the market at the end of the year. Both of the car's electric motors generate an output of 230 kW and 820 Nm of torque; more than 4,900 Nm (3,614.05 lb-ft) are distributed to the rear wheels nearly from a standing start.

The Audi R8 e-tron accelerates from zero to 0 to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in just 4.6 seconds. Its top speed is normally limited to 200 km/h (124.27 mph); 250 km/h (155.34 mph) was approved for the record-setting lap.

The R8 e-tron's rechargeable lithium-ion battery stores 49 KWh of energy – enough for a distance of about 215 kilometers (133.59 miles). Its "T" shape allows it to be installed in the center tunnel and in the area between the passenger compartment and the rear axle. It is charged by energy recovery during coasting and braking. The ultralight car body of the Audi R8 e-tron is made primarily of aluminum, along with CFRP components; this is a main reason why the high-performance sports car weighs just 1,780 kilograms (3,924.23 lb), despite the large battery.

In order to further underscore the production-relevance of the R8 e-tron and the capability of its drive technology, Audi has set another record on the Nordschleife in addition to the single lap record time. Immediately afterwards, Markus Winkelhock drove two fast laps in one go in a second R8 e-tron that was limited to 200 km/h (124.27 mph). At 8:30.873 and 8:26.096 minutes, both laps were well under the important nine-minute threshold.

"The record drives were a fantastic experience for me," said Markus Winkelhock. The 32-year-old, who lives near Stuttgart, has a high standard for comparison – the Audi R8 LMS ultra, in which he, along with Marc Basseng, Christopher Haase and Frank Stippler, won the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring a few weeks ago.

"Of course, the R8 e-tron is a production car, not a racing car with the assistance of aerodynamics," Winkelhock emphasized. "But with its low center of gravity and rear biased weight distribution, it brings with it a lot of sporty qualities. 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 really a completely new experience for me. In places where I really need traction, the torque vectoring – the displacement of the torque between the powered wheels – really helps me."

Michael Dick proudly summed up events after the record-setting drive at the Nürburgring. "Within just a few weeks we've taken on some big challenges and in the process we've shown that we are at the forefront with all of our drive concepts," he said, adding:"We won the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring in May in the Audi R8 LMS ultra with a ten-cylinder engine.

In mid-June we triumphed at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with the Audi R18 e-tron quattro – the first overall victory for a hybrid-electric vehicle in the toughest race in the world. And now we've set another record with the all-electric-drive R8 e-tron on the most demanding track there is."


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 29 Comments
      Letstakeawalk
      • 2 Years Ago
      And yet somehow, no Tesla Roadster owner has had the gumption to even try. Seriously, Tesla, at the very least get a Model S out there and set a record for "Fastest Production Electric Sedan".
        Rotation
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Letstakeawalk
        The Tesla Roadster is not a good performance car. It'd suffer heat problems on that track in short order. From what I understand the Model S would do better due to better cooling. It would be fantastic if Tesla would ship a car over there and give it a go.
          paulwesterberg
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Rotation
          They need to run a few hot laps around Laguna Seca first to make sure that they can put down a competitive time. Software tweaks may be needed to remove the adjust the speed/acceleration limits. They should run it with the aero rims - since they improve range by 5% they should make it slightly faster. Even though the 0-60 time seems competitive the Model S may be designed for better low speed acceleration with less torque at the top end so a slight change in gear ratios may be required as well.
        paulwesterberg
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Letstakeawalk
        I am not sure it is worth shipping a few vehicles & assembling a racing team in Europe when they already have customers lined up for the next year. They are not even delivering vehicles to overseas buyers yet - so an event like that could help boost sales if they time it to coincide with the worldwide launch. Most American's don't know anything about European racing or the prestige of a Nürburgring record. I do agree that it would be nice to beat the Germans in their backyard though.
          Dan Frederiksen
          • 2 Years Ago
          @paulwesterberg
          they need 15000 sales per year for 4 years to stay alive. it's worth it. they should have had super bowl ads too
        JakeY
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Letstakeawalk
        From the outset, Tesla has said the Roadster is not a track car. As for the Model S, they have enough sales already, so doing this stunt is just a waste of money (esp. given outside of auto enthusiasts, most people don't even know what the Nurburgring is). Plus the gearing of both cars are not tuned for the Nurburgring (even the unrestricted 155mph of the eTron is slow). They are better matched for a track like Laguna Seca (which plenty of Roadster owners have driven on). They might try with the next gen Roadster (if the top speed is high enough), but I doubt any will try before then.
          Timo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @JakeY
          Tesla might not do it, but I bet one of their customers will do it. We will get that result sooner or later.
      Smoking_dude
      • 2 Years Ago
      Audi etron: 49 kwh 251 780 Dollars ~ 4,6 sec 0 to 60 handmade mini series tesla model s (performande) 85 kwh 84900 Dollars 4,4 seconds REAL MASS PRODUCED CAR. REAL factory. but at least audi is doing something.
        Dan Frederiksen
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Smoking_dude
        hmm, that makes me wonder how well it would do at the ring : ) they should definitely do that. asap if it could beat the Audi time that would be huge
        Timo
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Smoking_dude
        Model S is heavy. Even that it looks very good in numbers I'm not so sure it can beat a time made by much lighter e-tron. Weight matters when you are talking about racing, cornering is much easier with lighter vehicle. One of the reasons why e-tron costs so much is that they have used a lot of carbon fiber in it to make it lighter. My prediction: Model S will be close, but not quite faster (to non-modified version). OTOH for $250k+ you could get a much much faster conventional ICE car of same size class, for $85k premium five-seater with a lot of cargo space ... not much faster, if at all.
        budfox
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Smoking_dude
        LOL yeah, Tesla S making 'em sweating. Meanwhile I'm waiting for Audi's urban concept. Lets see if my natural lifespan is sufficient to actually witness a production Audi EV. Audi - Rückstand durch Technik
      Dave
      • 2 Years Ago
      Audi has done what Tesla should have done. Audi has proven that their electronics don't overheat under harsh use. (as Top Gear claims the Tesla Roadster did) This is how you prove your car operates as advertised. No lawyer-ball. No BS.
        Dave D
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Dave
        Completely agree. This is what Tesla should have done.
        JakeY
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Dave
        "This is how you prove your car operates as advertised." Tesla never advertised their car as a track car. In fact, they said explicitly that it's not. http://green.autoblog.com/2007/12/29/would-the-tesla-roadster-be-a-suitable-track-car/ The decision for the trial on the fact the judge felt people would be able to tell the difference between track usage and road usage (although, I have seen plenty of people on the internet prove him wrong). I don't believe he even investigated whether Top Gear misrepresented facts, because Tesla wasn't able to prove damages. And I don't believe Tesla took issue with the overheating bit (which can happen, although the car is not disabled like Top Gear showed, it just limits performance), but the way they showed the car being inoperable and also it running out of battery.
        Dave
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Dave
        This passage, however, seems to indicate that range is still very limited when driving hard: "In order to further underscore the production-relevance of the R8 e-tron and the capability of its drive technology, Audi has set another record on the Nordschleife in addition to the single lap record time. Immediately afterwards, Markus Winkelhock drove two fast laps in one go in a second R8 e-tron that was limited to 200 km/h (124.27 mph). At 8:30.873 and 8:26.096 minutes, both laps were well under the important nine-minute threshold."
          Dave
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Dave
          youre not telling me anything I don't know.
          GoodCheer
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Dave
          Sorry, it was a range of 1.7 to 5 mpg. (bigger British gallons)
          Dave D
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Dave
          Yeah, but Dave, it is a good context for people who don't know how racing effects ANY cars MPG performance. People know that racing reduces mpg, but until you see just how bad those numbers are they don't have a context to put it in.
          GoodCheer
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Dave
          Dave, do you remember the Top Gear episode where they put 1 gal. in each of 5 or 6 of their favorite supercars, and race them around their track until they run out of gas? Those cars went between 3 and 8 miles, IIRC. The thing about racing is that it's the opposite of hypermiling, and saying that EVs have short range at race pace is neither surprising nor damning.
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Dave
        I agree with you. Tesla and other companies need to man up and show what can be done. There is low hanging fruit out there waiting to be picked.
      Rotation
      • 2 Years Ago
      Audi, you're shameless. Not only do you not even bother to put a car into production before claiming it holds a production car record, but you're not really into EVs at all, only offering compliance EVs. If EVs seem important enough to you to hype them, then maybe they're important enough to actually produce. In non-trivial numbers.
      Rick
      • 2 Years Ago
      LOL not even faster than the worlds best handling fastest FWD car the rather slow Renault Megane thats way down the the fastest lap times list at the Nurbugring. But at least Audi e-tron was clean technology, but for $160,000 was slower than the faster Renault Megan RS Trophy will cost $40,000 looks better value for money than the slower Audi.
        Timo
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rick
        I wouldn't call that Megane time slow. There are BMW models M6, M5 and Z4 M, Viper GTS, Mitzubishi EVO and Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG behind it. For a car that is not build to be a race car that's quite respectable result. To beat that e-tron time with good margin (break the 8 minute barrier) you need to beat cars like Porsche Cayman S, Aston Martin V8 Vantage and DBS and Mercedes CLK 63 AMG. When they do that with Tesla Model S I hope they get Sabine Schmitz to drive it and make a video of that. It would be fun to watch.
      Ele Truk
      • 2 Years Ago
      Yea, right "Series production car". Isn't this one of those "compliance" cars? And shouldn't it actually be in production to call it a production car?
        porosavuporo
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ele Truk
        Yep, thats the complete BS part of it. "Series production electric car" .. there are what, Leaf, MiEV, Roadster and sooort of stretching it, Model S now ( i.e. i wouldnt count it as production until there are at least a thousand or so in customers hands )
          Rotation
          • 2 Years Ago
          @porosavuporo
          For homologation purposes, series production often refers to one hundred in customers hands. The Model S wil be there in less than two months, right?
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 2 Years Ago
      hehe they are such liars. it's neither a record nor is it a production car. that said it's not a terrible time. compares to an Audi R8 V8 time from 2007 at 8:04 and V10 from 2009 at 7:44 if they didn't base it on the conventionally stupid R8 they might do better.
      PR
      • 2 Years Ago
      Despite the Volkswagen/Audi Group being a bunch of d-bags for trying to keep humping their current diesel engine efficiency lead at the expense of EV's, this is a super awesome car! Hopefully VAG will someday realize that the market for efficient vehicles is large enough that selling top quality EV's won't destroy their market position in high MPG diesel cars, and that they can do both at the same time instead of choosing diesels over electrics.
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