Thursday, 2 August 2018

Is the World ready for EV Racing?

Courtesy of VW - photoshopped by Torque n Power Media

For the uninitiated of the blog the acronym EV stands for Electric Vehicle. EV's have been around for sometime and when I say sometime I really mean it. There is evidence of Electric Vehicles that date back to early 1800's. By the early 1900's some found their way to the production line including Studebaker. The ability to mass produce petrol engines coupled with the poor technology advances in battery technology eventually saw the end of electric vehicles in the early 1900's.

Even though EV's have made a come back via a number of manufacturers in the mid 90's it took sometime for them to make their way into a form of a sanctioned Motorsport. A Motorsport series showcasing an EV has come to the fore with the advent of Formula E in 2014. The series has served well as a category for those unable to sustain the funding required to maintain a drive in Formula 1. So the drivers are of very good stock and have talent on par with those over at F1.

The success of Formula E captured the imagination of a number of manufacturers. Outside of Formula E, Volkswagen saw fit to develop a racing prototype to take on a number of events. Pikes Peak was in the scope so they set out and built something that was truely amazing. In 2018 VW released the I.D. R which features two electric engines, which generate a system performance of 500 kW 649 Nm of torque, weighing in at under 2,500 lb (1,100 kg).

By June of 2018 they set of for Pikes Peak in California and smashed the record by 16 seconds. The I.D. R steered by Romain Dumas set a time of 7:57.148. The stats would indicate that this is not the biggest HP car to take on the mountain however it's electric drive torque delivery coupled with the fact it does not rely on Oxygen to makes its power would mean it had the odds stacked in its favour. The I.D. R sounded like Ecto-1 from Ghostbusters as it made it way up the Mountain and as history would have it they smashed the record. If you haven't seen the run check it out here.

Not to be out done the guys from VW would then take the car over to the UK and take on the Goodwood Festival of Speed Hill climb. Here Romain Dumas would set a sizzling time of 43.05s up the 1.8km Hill climb in qualifying. This would end up being a record for the fastest EV car at Goodwood and to quantify that, the all time record is held by Nick Heidfeld with a 41.60s set in his McLaren-Mercedes MP4/13 Formula 1 car from 1999.

As it turned out Romain Dumas would come away from Goodwood winning the Final, with a 43.86s which topped the leaderboards. Once again if you haven't seen the Goodwood run check it out here.

Clearly the team at VW are using their non-conventional race car to aggressively target the non-mainstream Motorsport events. Arguably their profile in the mainstream disciplines is non-existent but they have achieved far better results in terms of media coverage from these two events in a car that is going to set the world on fire. 

Lets hope we can see this ride take on the Nurburgring in Germany and some of the other great tracks of the world.


Nick Dicembre

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