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Thursday, 23-05-2019 Wolfsburg, GermanyPress-Service

Volkswagen ID.R on the Nordschleife: High-tech meets tradition

  • Fully-electric race car to tackle iconic sections of the track during its attempt on the lap record for electric vehicles
  • 20.832-km Nordschleife the favourite circuit of ID.R driver Romain Dumas
  • ID.R expected to hit an average speed of over 185 km/h

20.832 kilometres, 73 corners, many changes in elevation: the Nürburgring-Nordschleife. Volkswagen has chosen one of the most iconic racetracks in the world for its next record attempt with the fully-electric ID.R. A lap record on the rollercoaster track in the Eifel region of Germany is a prestigious accolade for any race or production car. The current record for electric vehicles stands at 6:45.90 minutes and was set by British driver Peter Dumbreck in a NIO EP9 in 2017.

Romain Dumas will once again be the man at the wheel of the ID.R. The Frenchman is a four-time winner of the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring and one of the most successful Nordschleife experts out there. “The Nürburgring-Nordschleife is my favourite racetrack. Although I have driven thousands of kilometres there, it always gives me goosebumps every time I leave the pit lane for the first time,” says Dumas. “Driving through sections of the track that are so steeped in history, like ‘Flugplatz’, ‘Fuchsröhre’ and the ‘Karussell’, is a very special feeling in the ID.R, which is virtually silent.”        

Nordschleife was the “Green Hell” for Formula 1 icon Jackie Stewart

Jackie Stewart, Formula 1 world champion and three-time winner of the German Grand Prix on the Nordschleife (1968, 1971 and 1973), respectfully named the circuit the “Green Hell”. Even today, racing drivers like Dumas have to show a healthy portion of respect on every lap. “One key spot for a good lap time is ‘Flugplatz’. You have to take a lot of speed through this combination of a crest and a right-hand corner, because it is followed by a long section at full throttle. You can gain a lot of time here,” Dumas explains. The 41-year-old also points out that ‘Flugplatz’ is particularly tricky with a prototype sports car like the ID.R. “The aerodynamics of the ID.R are determined very heavily by the airflow under the floor of the car.”

One of the most striking sections of the Nürburgring-Nordschleife is the “Caracciola-Karussell”, which is named after former racing driver Rudolf Caracciola. “Nowadays, you don’t find a steep bend like this at any other racetrack,” says Dumas. “It is one of the slowest sections of the Nordschleife. Unfortunately, the track here is so uneven that I will stay on the flatter part of the track on the outside with the ID.R. The ID.R lies so low that the risk of the front wing hitting the ground and being damaged in the steep bend would be too great.”

Another key point in the pursuit of the lap record for electric cars is “Döttinger Höhe”, a three-kilometre straight at the end of the Nordschleife. The energy management on board the race car is designed in such a way that the lithium-ion batteries have enough in reserve for the final spurt to allow Dumas to drive flat out to the finish. “I have to take enough momentum into ‘Döttinger Höhe’,” says the Frenchman. “The key to this is finding the ideal line in ‘Galgenkopf’, a double right-hander directly before it. In a race car with the performance of the ID.R, you have to be very determined not to brake there.” Should Dumas put together a perfect lap, he will hit an average speed of over 185 km/h.

Video: Volkswagen ID.R on the Nordschleife – High-tech meets tradition