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Volkswagen’s I.D. R racer just won the ultimate electric-car bragging rights

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Unlike at Pikes Peak, the I.D. R did not set an overall record at the Nürburgring. The Porsche 919 Evo hybrid still holds that record, which stands at 5:19.55. But VW did beat the previous electric-car lap record by 40.5 seconds. That record was set in 2017 by the Nio EP9, a Chinese electric supercar that was ostensibly a production vehicle. But just 16 EP9s were made, and each carried a $1.4 million price tag.

The I.D. R is unambiguously a race car. It’s powered by two electric motors — one for each axle — making a combined 680 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque. The motors, battery pack, and other mechanical components are tightly packaged under bodywork that looks shrink-wrapped onto the chassis, leaving very little room for the driver. Since the I.D. R was designed for Pikes Peak’s high-altitude conditions, modifications were made to the car’s aerodynamic package for the Nürburgring. Engineers also made some tweaks to increase the top speed from 149 mph to 168 mph. Dumas, who also drove the I.D. R at Pikes Peak, is a four-time winner of the Nürburgring 24 Hours race, so he knew the place pretty well.

“To be a record holder on the Nordschleife makes me unbelievably proud,” Dumas said in a statement. “For me, this is the best and most difficult race track in the world.”

After conquering Pikes Peak, and setting a record at England’s Goodwood Hill Climb, Volkswagen was eager to find another challenge for the I.D. R. Known as the “Green Hell,” the Nürburgring is the perfect place for automakers seeking bragging rights. The track is considered to be one of the toughest in the world, and lap records have become a yardstick for the hottest production cars. VW felt a ‘Ring lap record would give similar credibility to its electric-car tech.

“As further proof of its impressive performance capabilities, Volkswagen’s e-mobility can now proudly call itself ‘Nürburgring approved,’” Volkswagen Group boss Herbert Diess said in a statement.

None of the I.D. R’s tech will make it to production, but VW believes lessons learned from the race car will help the development of future electric cars. The I.D. R also serves as a high-speed promotional tool as Volkswagen launches an entire family of electric cars over the next few years.

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