Audi has revealed a one-off, all-electric supercar that it plans to deploy as a race taxi at this year’s Formula E events, starting with the race in Rome this coming Saturday.
The German manufacturer originally created the race car as part of a design competition to mark the 15th anniversary of the popular PlayStation video game Gran Turismo. Numerous other car brands also developed virtual race cars for the contest.
Many of these virtual concept cars were subsequently built as full-scale models as well and presented at trade shows. The Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo, however, is the first concept car of this range to be deployed to real-world race tracks as a fully functional vehicle.
“This is what we are particularly proud of,” says Audi’s chief designer Marc Lichte. “Although the design of a virtual vehicle allows much greater freedom and the creation of concepts which are only hard to implement in reality, we did not want to put a purely fictitious concept on wheels. Our aim was a fully functional car. The Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo shows that electric mobility at Audi is very emotive. This car incorporates numerous elements of our new design language such as the inverted single frame in the vehicle’s colour that will be typical for our new e-tron models.”
Audi has deliberately taken up design elements and the colour of the famous Audi 90 quattro IMSA GTO with which the company in 1989 participated in the North American IMSA-GTO racing series with drivers like Hans-Joachim Stuck, Walter Röhrl, Hurley Haywood and Scott Goodyear.
The e-tron Vision Gran Turismo also gets permanent all-wheel drive, while power comes via three electric motors – two electric motors drive the rear axle and the third one the front axle, using individual components that are said to come from the forthcoming production version of the Audi e-tron quattro.
Total system output is claimed to be 805 bhp. With a curb weight of 1,450 kg, the electric race car further achieves a power to weight ratio of 1.78 kg per horsepower with ideal 50:50 per cent weight distribution between the front and the rear axle. The prototype accelerates from 0 to 62 mph “in less than 2.5 seconds”.
Audi says its pre-production centre developed and produced the prototype within the space of just eleven months.
“E-Mobility is rapidly gaining importance,” says Audi’s technical boss, Peter Mertens. “With the Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo race taxi we are turning electric mobility into a tangible experience”.