The Volkswagen I.D. R. Is Looking to Formula One for Inspiration in Attacking the Nürburgring

Illustration for article titled The Volkswagen I.D. R. Is Looking to Formula One for Inspiration in Attacking the Nürburgring
Photo: Volkswagen

Last summer, the Volkswagen I.D. R. absolutely destroyed the Pikes Peak record. Ever since, the team has been hungry to crush every possible record they can find—with the next target being the infamous Nürburgring. But in order to do it, the Volkswagen crew is going to have to get creative—and they’ve been looking to Formula One for inspiration.

There are some fundamental differences between Pikes Peak and the Nürburgring, but one of the biggest and most important is altitude. The Volkswagen I.D. R. was optimized for a climb to 14,114 feet above sea level—not for the Nürburgring’s paltry 1968 feet. All that extra air density requires an aerodynamic makeover before they hit the track again this summer.

For that, they’re looking to F1’s Drag Reduction System for inspiration. By pressing a button, the driver will be able to open up part of the rear wing. That will reduce downforce by twenty percent and thus create less drag, which is crucial for, y’know, going fast and preserving energy. The last thing you need when you’re trying to break a record is the air itself holding you back from reaching your full potential.

In F1, DRS is used to facilitate overtaking because it allows for higher speed. The I.D. R. isn’t going to need to be passing anyone, but that extra boost of speed will be welcome.


Alongside the implementation of DRS, Volkswagen is adding a new front spoiler to their splitter, a new rear wing, and a redesigned floor. It’s all designed to reduce resistance and help the air flow smoothly over the body.

The current lap record for an electric car at the Nordschleife stands at 6m 45.9s, set by the NIO EP9 in 2017. The overall lap record is a 5m 19.546s set by a Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo.


If anyone is going to try to crush both records at the same time, it’s going to be Volkswagen with their I.D. R. But we’ll just have to wait until this summer to see how that F1 inspiration pays off.

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