With the fully electric Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo concept car, Audi is now turning electric mobility into a tangible experience in a unique way. Originally developed exclusively for virtual races on PlayStation 4, Audi is making the new race car reality in conjunction with Formula E, the all-electric single-seater championship.
Starting with the race in Rome this weekend, the e-tron Vision Gran Turismo will be deployed as a ‘race taxi’. Customers and guests of the German brand will be able to experience Formula E’s city circuits as passengers in the e-tron Vision Gran Turismo. It will also be present at other rounds of the championship as well as special events.
“E-Mobility is rapidly gaining importance,” said Peter Mertens, Member of the Board of Management, Technical Development, Audi AG. “That is why, in 2017, Audi was the first German manufacturer to enter Formula E with a factory-backed commitment. In our development laboratory motorsport, we are continuously expanding our expertise in e-mobility and gathering valuable experience also in extremely demanding conditions. With the Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo race taxi, we are turning electric mobility into a tangible experience for our customers and guests as part of the Formula E races – in the middle of the world’s metropolises.”
Employees at Audi’s pre-production centre developed and produced this one-of-a-kind car within the space of just 11 months based on the example of the Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo from the ‘Gran Turismo’ PlayStation game which has has long acquired cult status with gamers around the globe.
Audi has been working together with Sony and Polyphony Digital – the creators of ‘Gran Turismo’ – for nearly 20 years. Audi designers created the e-tron Vision Gran Turismo for the ‘Vision Gran Turismo’ competition that was launched on the market on the occasion of the popular game’s 15th anniversary. Numerous other automobile manufacturers also developed virtual race cars for the contest, all having futuristic designs.
Many of the concept cars were subsequently built as full-scale models as well and presented at trade shows. The 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,” said 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,” he explained.
Audi has deliberately taken up design elements and the colour of the legendary 90 quattro IMSA GTO with which the company (in 1989) thrilled motorsport fans in the North American IMSA-GTO racing series. Featuring a combination of systematic lightweight design and quattro drive paired with a powerful 720-bhp 5-cylinder turbocharged engine, the car was far ahead of its time back then.
The e-tron Vision Gran Turismo has permanent all-wheel drive as well, the fully electric e-tron quattro all-wheel drive with variable power distribution. Three electric motors, each with output of 200 kW, propel the concept car. Two electric motors drive the rear axle and the third one powers the front axle. The system uses individual components from the future Audi e-tron.
System output is 600 kW (equivalent to 815 ps). With a curb weight of 1,450 kgs, the electric racing car has a power-to-weight ratio of 1.78 kgs/ps with ideal 50:50 weight distribution between the front and the rear axles. The e-tron Vision Gran Turismo is said to be able to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in less than 2.5 seconds.