The clouds parted just long enough to let sunlight timidly lick the surface of the Nürburgring race track in Germany. The previous night, I watched in amusement as an amateur racer had a blast taking a fully stock, 1970s Volkswagen bus around the former Grand Prix track in the pouring rain.

On this wet late-April morning, however, I was waiting for a very different kind of Volkswagen to zip around the Nordschleife: the fully electric ID R, a purpose-designed race car that shares little more than a name and a few minor styling cues with the other ID-badged cars, like the Crozz , the Vizzion , and the Buzz .

The ID R’s siblings are close-to-production design studies that preview electric cars normal motorists who have never competed in a race—let alone won one—won’t have to wait long to commute in. The ID R, on the other hand, proved its mettle in 2018 by shattering the all-time Pikes Peak Hill Climb record without burning a drop of gasoline.

It’s facing a completely different challenge at the ‘Ring, where Volkswagen’s Motorsport division is embarking on a bold quest to set a new record in the electric car category. As it stands, the 22nd-century-esque Nio EP9 reigns supreme with a time of six minutes and 45.9 seconds set in 2017. To add context, the Porsche 919 Evo holds the overall record of five minutes and 19.55 seconds.

The Nürburgring "is the most demanding track in the world,” Volkswagen Motorsport boss Sven Smeets told Green Car […]

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