Fast Is Fast, But The Future Isn’t Here Just Yet…

6 minutes, 5 seconds.

Had this time been thrown at us 12 months earlier, I’m almost full certain that it would have been the end of the internet as we know it. Imagine if Bellof’s record lap was first beaten by a full-electric car?

I suppose that a lot will now find solace in the fact that Porsche got to it first with the hybrid 919 Evo, and the still stunning 5m19s lap which has moved the goalposts so far, they might as well be on another continent. While there’s some 46 seconds still separating the 919’s and the ID.R’s Nordschleife laps, I don’t think that they’re actually all that comparable in the grand scale of things.

On one hand, you have arguably the pinnacle of the internal-combustion engine racecar in the 919, the result of over 100 years of evolution, while also borrowing a little from its fully electrified cousin.

In the ID.R, you have a racecar that’s still in its infancy but has already claimed scalps around the world. The outright Pikes Peak record holder, the electric record for the Goodwood Festival of Speed hillclimb and now the electric record for the Nürburgring Nordschleife all achieved within a 12 month period.

It’s not without its drawbacks (charging times & a limited top speed) but as battery technology progresses, it would be reasonable to expect these issues to be minimised over time. Both cars were originally created for other purposes, so are both compromised to some degree which leaves room for further evolution in this regard.

As things currently stand, I don’t know if we will ever see a faster I.C.E. lap as manufacturers focus more and more on electrification and their environmental responsibilities, but it’s almost certain that full electric will go faster in due course.

So, while this isn’t the future just yet, it does offer a glimpse of what’s to come. Any real race driver will always want the fastest car available to them because fast is fast, and winning is winning. Subjective matters such as sound, sensation and how a car makes you feel will all be irrelevant when they’re stood on the top step of the podium.

6 minutes, 5 seconds for the ID.R might only be the second fastest Nordschleife time at the moment, but it could also be the most significant of our time.

We will just have to wait and see how significant.

Paddy McGrath
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Twitter: pmcgphotos

Photo by Cian Donnellan
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Facebook: ciandonphotography



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Mark Joseph I. Argoso

You know someone who should come and destroy Formula E? Mate Rimac. His company has incredible electric hypercar capability, but I want to see them take on FE with something so obviously game-breaking and superseding everything else on the grid that either they're banned and make headlines or everyone else is forced to get on their level.

Electric car racing (and electric bike racing, which I think is more impressive given they've raced on Snaefell, an infinitely more dangerous and treacherous course) needs its Audi Quattro Group B moment. One where the unfair advantage isn't so much an anomaly so much as it is an inevitability, the one that changes the playbook for everyone else.


Formula E is still pretty much a spec series, so making anything ground breaking is not possible

Mark Joseph I. Argoso

And honestly, I'm kinda scared as to what kind of Pandora's box will be opened the moment powertrain rules are fully opened and aero rules slightly relaxed--at best, it becomes an arms race the likes of which have brought down many classes of racing before. But that's why I want the rulebook unsealed. Only with an open ruleset could someone come in and wipe the floor with something truly groundbreaking.


Battery technology is actually plateauing. Sure electric is fantastic, but batteries may not be the future.


False... But after scanning your little novel it's obvious why: your data is 5 years old in few places, around a decade in the rest. Battery tech as a whole has various venues for discovery, some as simple as advanced fluid electrolyte from recycled and bio-degradable sources, and even where the battery becomes really small, as with superconductors and such. EV's will only get MUCH, mind-numbingly faster, to the point tires will be just for landing low-level flights around racetracks. ICE is just like archery's finest vs. modern warfare: the pleasure of it's romance will be eternal, but when you wanna win, just push the red button.


There was no dispute about electric I see electric as having a huge future and having some place at the pinnacle of performance (not happening at Dakar anytime soon, nor in my garage due to the high entry cost), that is not something I disputed. I actually did not provide data so I not sure about your "5 yrs". On battery $/kw the statistics do show trend is graphed as non-linear the massive early gains made in research will not be replicated, so says the statistics. " will be just for landing...", so battery EV will be so good cars will be magically thrust forward having pushed the big red button with non need for a tire to provide grip.


You missed it: "mining things like lithium", "cost per kW non-linear", "hydrogen blah blah versus 'batteries'", "my car on second set of rings etc"... The article is about a nurburgring record attempt. I'm just pointing out that "Battery technology is actually plateauing" is completely false, and far from the truth of what's going down in the private sector, universities, and real-world applications.
Also, Dakar? Dakar is a shadow of an antique version of King of The Hammers where robustness is really tested. Today, a used Honda can cross the continent... Even a jalopy built by three old nerds! The only Dakar I respect is the motorcycles because... Dayum. That's not for anyone!
Also, model S are now in the $30k range (and dropping when you realize Rivian, Porsche, Audi, Chevy, BMW, etc have joined the game now in 2019 thus in 5 years these Tesla's will go for less than any new 4-cyl Toyota).
Finally, about my low-level flight comment going over your head: the name of the game is aerodynamics, today... How much traction can be had with even double the car's weight in down force when driving faster than a 5 minute lap of the Ring? Especially the cost of it compared to the speed an electric jet tracing the track at any height? Consider Ferrari's "AI program" that'll autonomously drive corse clienti around name tracks just like their favorite F1 drivers, at the simple "mode selector" flick (as pointed out by the USA director, likely in less than a decade). So yeah, the immediate future for track-record seekers will inevitably be a fighter-shaped cockpit that pushes the limit of what any human can endure for 2/3/4minutes tracing the Nurburgring just a few feet about the marked tarmac. Anything else is either a mobility solution (that must plug into a grid we are implementing - look around us, it's literally electric) or a quaint romantic drive with what almost already is rich kids' toys filled with literal bells and whistles and bangs and pops.
We're in the century of flight, not of the motorcar (from last century). Ugh... More than I want to type but hey, I'm on the john and it's always fun to speculate; just responsibly and not with "talking points" seemingly taken from fake news Mills trying hard to be political and keep people blind from the real Charleston shuffles.


The record attempt was way off. On the point of plateauing, gains only become marginal over time. When you have time on the John next, tell us more about only needing "tires for landing".


Energy can neither be created nor destroyed, only transferred from one form to another. Sorry to be pedantic but batteries (the direct storage of electrical energy) are the future, they always have been, we are just chasing power density.

We cant keep using oil, so other than using chemistry to store electrical energy what do you propose is a viable alternative?


Thanks for the physics lesson. But you lead into prophecy to say "batteries will be the future" so perhaps you are not prepared to admit there is any downside to batteries at all. In your lesson pointing out that energy can only be transformed from one form to another I would like you to explain this in terms of batter manufacture and product life-cycle. Then give use your neo-Nostradamus take to assure the world that batteries will be recycled correctly rather than dumped, tell use that all energy that is used to charge batteries be 100% clean energy and that there will be no environmental issues with mining for things like lithium. Sure batteries are here to stay in cars in some form. My main point was that the graphing of battery cost per Kw is non linear. Then note my passive language, "batteries may not be he way". Hydrogen is expensive now, but it may rival batteries for energy storage. We may even see bio-fuels running combustion engines as gen-sets for electric motors much like is already prevalent in ships, trains and earthmoving eqiupment. Mike you seem a bit emotional over the subject, did you buy stock in batter tech and manufacture? All I am doing is showing a tiny bit of the data to temper the all in thought that battery power is the only way. On an teachers' wage I certainly am not going to be able to by a new EV and running my 30yr old car on an ethanol blended fuel makes for a fairly environmentally sustainable mode of transport. How many battery sets would be put into an ev over thirty years to reach my 500k odo reading? My cars on it's second set of rings and bearings and had the head reco-ed once. Here's hoping I get another 10yrs out of it, in which time I've just keep using ethanol and see where EVs g (Based on the track record I have with phone tech and battery life that means I'll have had five new phones).


lol, dude! Batteries as in the direct storage of energy is the future, that was my argument and i have no idea how you read all that from two short sentiments. the ad-hominem and other logical fallacies that you present are what destroy your argument. How can you read my emotions from two short statements?

Transferring chemical energy into kinetic energy through combustion is significantly less efficient than the direct storage of electrical energy so your prediction of bio-fuels falls on its face. Hydrogen is a nice idea if it wasn't for the lack of viable energy density until you pressurize it to a level where it becomes dangerous, and then consider the lack of efficiency in expending energy to compress it to that pressure.

So yes, the direct storage of electrical energy is the way. How it happens and when it happens i couldnt tell you but making those changes in energy forms more efficient is what will reduce humanities overall impact on the planet. Hence my original argument of batteries are the future still stands and makes the most logical sense. Your idea of battery tecnology may not be the future is assuming that the plateau of battery technology (wether right or wrong) means that it will not significantly advance in the future. The physics lesson was necessary to point out that getting kinetic energy directly from electrical energy is the most efficent method thus ruling out combustion. There are scientists around the world working on the next battery chemistry and trying to increase the energy density so unless you start showing me scientific articles showing that there is no other possible battery chemistry that would possibly work then your argument falls flat on its face as you assume that the plateau is the ongoing trend and wont change in the future.

Please try again.


Your prose is hubris. What I originally wrote was not an argument (as you say), but it certainly wound you up. Batteries may not be the future? You could just be North American since you just need to win an argument and are quite head strong that batteries are the only way. You are indeed pretty emotional about this since your seek to write a winning argument rather than a persuasive on.


Hydrogen has come down significantly. Many factory's have already converted their equipment to hydrogen generators because of the savings. You get the benefit of electric power without the downside of battery weight. You can also refuel much much faster than a typical battery recharge


Hydrogen cells


Given the fact that the topspeed was 240kp/h for quite some time on the Döttinger Höhe, just imagine how good the time would have been if it could go 300-320 or even more.
I don't think this car can beat the 919 time, but some other car with great thermal management on the batteries could some day. Rob said it in another comment: i see Rimac there.

Pedro Azevedo

Did 270km/ h but in the last straight peaked 242 and was slowly slowing down...batteries?


agreed. it gave up some 'easy' time on the top speed sections.


that is bizarrely quick


I have nothing against electric cars especially how much they improved since the last decade
Tesla is right now the #1 electric car company right now while VW and Audi are making some great concepts
Electric is fast but we need time for ourselves to enjoy petrol cars especially with the manual transmission as this will be soon the end of an era
Really hope that the future has something great for us car guys


Fusty unpopular opinion : Numbers make a good part of the show, but when the emotion is gone, it all becomes pointless. Why would you go see a race if it makes you feel like you're standing next to a portion of highway, Just hearing tire and aerodynamic noises ? I feel like they really need to find a way to make them louder, or even find novel ways to make watching electric cars exciting. When I go to the track, I'm as much there for the gas smell, the noise, the vibrations of the cars passing by, as to see who will win. Actually in "small" events, I don't care at all about who wins. When VW shows you onboard laps, it does seem quite good, but when you're standing on the outside, which is more likely than getting a ride in a racecar, it's very boring, as demonstrated during FOS.