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When Will Electric Cars Overtake Porsche’s ‘Ring Record?

First off, congratulations to Volkswagen. Porsche’s corporate bedfellow’s achievement is nothing short of remarkable. The all electric ID.R is an astonishing technical achievement, and lopped more than forty seconds off the existing lap record for electric vehicles. With a 6 minute 05.336 lap, the electric Volkswagen even bested Stefan Bellof’s fastest-ever competition lap by about 5.5 seconds. Before we consider what this might mean for Porsche, let’s give Volkswagen their due, and watch this lap.

Beyond the speed, what is slightly remarkable about this lap is the noise. The piercing wail of the electric motors isn’t anything like a gasoline engine, but at least on video it sounds significantly louder than the diesel LMP1 cars of a decade ago, like the Audi R10 TDI. Whether or not it’s appealing is another matter, but it is far from silent. The car itself seems to fall somewhere between a modern LMP car and the wildest of World Time Attack cars, with aero that steps far beyond what FIA rules generally permit.

But what does this mean for Porsche? Though remarkable, the ID.R is not yet putting the 919 Hybrid Evo’s lap-time in jeopardy. The hybrid-powered Porsche’s laptime sits more than 45 seconds beyond the all-electric Volkswagen. Part of this is down to power- the Porsche produces 1,150 horsepower, while the Volkswagen makes around 670. The hybrid Porsche is also approximately 400 pounds lighter than the Volkswagen, despite carrying two types of power system.

As technology marches on though, the electric powertrains are bound to get both lighter and more powerful. As the power and weight gap decreases, so too will the Porsche’s performance advantage. There is no reason to assume that the ID.R’s record is the be-all end-all of electric performance, or even that its record will stand for long as technology improves.

What then is the best approach for Porsche? While Porsche has an upcoming line of all-electric production cars, and will be joining the Formula E open wheel series this fall, the brand has not given any inkling of producing an all-electric competition car of this type. Should Porsche be setting their own electric records and hold all the titles, or is this not Porsche’s fight? After all, Porsche’s record did challenge the rest of the world to « be faster. » Let us know in the comments below.


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Manthey Racing Describes the Secrets to Their GT2 RS MR

Having the fastest production-based car around the ‘Ring takes power, poise, and predictability. As an aside, I consider this car a genuine production car that’s been optimized and not wildly modified, as the power output remains the same as the factory car, and the right elements of the car have been massaged just so to give the car added performance in several areas—and it still remains streetable and street legal.

Some might disagree with me, but I consider this the epitome of a thoughtful tuning approach, without any need for sensationalized figures. Perhaps nothing raises the eyebrows like a lap time, however—just read « 6:40.33 » and feel the hairs stand up on the back of your neck.

The MR snagging its record lap at the Nurburgring.

In any event, the GT2 RS MR benefits from a series of changes that might not catch the casual observer’s attention. Manthey was conscious of not touching the engine of the gearbox, as they feel it’s easy to ascribe any gains in time to just straightline speed. Plus, as more power is quite easy to extract from a turbocharged motor, gains from setup seem to be worth more in the eyes of the dedicated track rat. That said, they have added another water tank for intercooler spraying, which allows the engine can run at high revs for longer.

To minimize unsprung weight, the MR uses magnesium wheels similar to those in the Weissach Package. Brake pads and upgraded brake lines provide a little more reassurance, response, and endurance. However, the KW suspension is where the magic truly begins. Custom-tailored to the heavyset GT2 RS MR, the dampers are designed to handle the increase in downforce, and are quite similar to their GT3 R, which won the 24 Hours of the Nurburgring and Le Mans. In fact, the engineers from Manthey’s racing program were involved in the development of this car.

The aero gains are subtle but effective, and they still remain street-legal. The front end enjoys tiny canards which meet German TUV regulations, a different underbody floor, aero curtains in the wheelarches. To balance the gain in front downforce, a gurney flap on the engine lid, different wing endplates, a larger wing at a steeper angle, taller wing supports, and a bigger diffuser. At higher speeds, these make the car even more reassuring. To demonstrate their depth of thought, they added reinforced decklid hinges to cope with the greater downforce, and they offer some rear chassis stiffening.

It only takes two days to bring a GT2 RS up to MR-spec, and it will set its owners back roughly $108,000—if they choose to buy Manthey’s lightweight wheels. It’s quite steep for a gain of seven seconds a lap, but it shows how several thoughtful pieces make a massive difference in speed.


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