Having already set a lap record for the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb this year, Volkswagen’s I.D. R has served the company well. Intended to showcase the brand’s might in electrification, the blisteringly fast R is as much a purpose-built track car as it is a marketing tool, and its long-term plans involve setting more records.
For 2019, VW wants to set a new lap record at the Nürburgring. Officially, the German automaker is only interested in defeating the Nio EP9’s record for electric vehicles. But we know that the I.D. R is a forced to be reckoned with. An overall victory would not be beyond the realm of possibilities and Volkswagen knows it.
While VW has previously confirmed it wants to set as many records with the R as it can, it was Autocar that learned Volkswagen Motorsport has booked time at the German track for a series of exclusive runs beginning next May. The goal is set to precede the brand’s launch of the first electric I.D. production model during the third quarter of 2019.
“We’re still at an early stage of preparation, but we’ve already seen lap times below 5min 30sec in the simulator,” an insider with direct knowledge of Volkswagen Motorsport’s Nürburgring plans told Autocar. “There’s more to come, we’re sure.”
Assuming those times represent reality, that would place the car within striking range of the Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo that Timo Bernhard throttled around the track in just under 5 minutes and 20 seconds. However, VW has some work to do before it’s ready. The ID R Pikes Peak prototype was specially built to tackle hill climbs, requiring Volkswagen Motorsport to modify the vehicle extensively for Nürburg.
The revisions are set to include a new aerodynamic package, allowing for a higher top speed than the 150mph of the car in Pikes Peak form. Further changes will focus on the electric drive system.
Romain Dumas drove the car at Pikes Peak, and he will be retained for the Nürburgring record bid. While he was initially chosen by Volkswagen for his Pikes Peak knowledge, he is a four-time winner of the Nürburgring 24 Hours. He’s also a long-time works Porsche driver and has twice won the Le Mans 24 Hours for the firm, including once in a 919 Hybrid.
There are a few things holding the I.D. R and Dumas back, though. Weather conditions can always ruin an attempt and Volkswagen will have to contend with a series of races and events at the Nürburgring scheduled for May and June. That means VW will have very few opportunities to run the car wide open and without traffic. It also promised to bring the car to next year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, which takes place at the start of July. “It will be tight,” the source said. “But we’re confident we’ll get at least one good run at it before we begin preparations for Goodwood.”
[Images: Volkswagen Group]