Watch Schaeffler Audi RS3 EV set 130 mph world record — in reverse

Formula E's Daniel Abt does it without turning his head

If there's one thing people remember about Dutch DAF cars and later, DAF-developed but Volvo-branded 300-series cars, it's that their Variomatic continuously variable transmissions enabled them to run backwards as fast as they could go forwards. This resulted in weird feats like backwards racing at the Zandvoort track in Netherlands — and when the front wheels still do the steering, the footage shows a lot of cars toppling over. Later on, electric cars like the Nissan Leaf have been used for speed records in reverse, like completing a lap of the Goodwood track going backwards.

The Leaf's hardware is good for 92 mph going in either direction, though we presume its aerodynamics have been honed for forward travel only. But it's not the fastest car to go backwards, as the Audi RS3-based Schaeffler 4ePerformance Concept shows with its four Formula E motors mounted in its wheels. The 4Performance has 1,180 horsepower, which gets it to 124 mph (200 km/h) in just seven seconds, easily out-accelerating Porsches and Lamborghinis. But the real feat of strength is that it can reach its 130 mph (210 km/h) top speed in reverse as well, which is definitely record-breaking stuff.

In this video, Formula E driver Daniel Abt shows off the 4ePerformance's prowess. And it's not like he's reaching over the seat to look behind him, steering with one hand — no, Abt does the reversing work by looking at his mirrors completely focused, both hands squeezing the wheel. It's just a little disconcerting to watch, but definitely worth seeing.

Related Video:

Share This Photo X