Tuesday, June 26, 2018

I.D. R Powered by Next Generation Formula E Motor

By: Sebastien Bell
Set to take off on a record attempt at Pikes Peak on Sunday, the I.D. R has been meeting all of Volkswagen Motorsport’s expectations. Late this week, it qualified well ahead of the rest of the pack and with temperatures expected to stay cool in Colorado Springs, things are looking good for the car.
That’s even despite the very short timeline that VW Motorsport had to put the car together. According to the team, they really did only have nine months to build this car from scratch. Which might explain why it isn’t quite built from scratch.
The car, according to Francois-Xavier Demaison, Technical Director at Volkswagen Motorsport, is an amalgam of parts from other projects, arranged especially for Pikes Peak.
As has been reported, Volkswagen got a lot of help from Porsche for its aero kit, with some going so far as to claim that its aerodynamic elements are effectively copy-pasted—with everything set to 11—from Porsche’s Le Mans-winning car.
The monocoque, meanwhile, is borrowed from Romain Dumas’ previous Pikes Peak car, the Norma MXX RD. Time prevented the team from designing its own carbon monocoque, which meant compromises on battery placement. With the car’s core already laid out for them, and designed for a combustion engine, the team couldn’t quite get its batteries quite where it would have ideally liked them.
Still, though, they appear to have done a good job, because the car qualified 11 seconds ahead of its closest competitor in qualifying and it’s also based on the Norma monocoque.
One of the big reasons for that advantage, though, might be the motors. For the Hill Climb, the I.D. R is running next year’s Formula E motor, which Demaison says is a big improvement over the current unit.
But don’t forget, the I.D. R has two motors, so it will run a full-sized Formula E motor in the back, and a miniaturized version of it in the front.
Although VW only has it churning out about 600 hp, Demaison says it’s capable of much more. The team wants Dumas to be on full attack for the whole run up Pikes Peak, so 600 hp provides the car with the best compromise between power and battery lightness.
Those batteries, meanwhile, are provided by a third party supplier and Demaison says that between bringing up the project to them nine months ago and now, their technology has improved considerably—such is the pace of development for electric race cars.
For now, though, everything is locked in and the team will have to settle for the setup they’ve got as they prepare to take on the fearsome Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on Sunday.
Mind you, the team is doing pretty well for all the time constraints placed on them. Having qualified fastest, theirs will be the first car off the line on Sunday, starting at 10 am.

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