Bridgestone helps VW to new Nürburgring electric vehicle record

Volkswagen’s ID.R electric race car completed its Nürburgring-Nordschleife record on specially-developed Bridgestone Potenza tyres (photo: Volkswagen)

Volkswagen’s first fully electric race car, the ID.R has broken the electric-powered vehicle lap record on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife, using Bridgestone Potenza tyres. The car completed the challenging 20.83km track in 6:05.336 minutes, beating the previous record by 40.56 seconds. Bridgestone custom-developed the Potenza tyres to help the ID.R navigate the demanding track in record-breaking time.

The Volkswagen ID.R is the racing forerunner to the new ID. product family, pushing the boundaries of electrical performance. It previously set a new record in the Pikes Peak Hill Climb. The car required tyres able to deal with the specific challenges of e-racing, which is where Bridgestone’s development comes in.

The ID.R’s centre of gravity is much lower than a normal race car due to the fact that the battery package is at the bottom of the car. This allows for very high cornering speeds, which can only be achieved if the tyre is able to transfer the vehicle’s power potential onto the road’s surface. Another challenge, specific to electric vehicles (EVs) – that is especially present in the ID.R – is the extremely high torque on the wheel. Meaning that the ID.R’s tyres must have a strong grip performance in both lateral and longitudinal directions.

The ID.R is also engineered with a perfectly aligned suspension and load balance, to put equal stress on all four tyres. This allows longer durability in the tyres but, at the same time, requires the tyres to efficiently attain heat. Finally, the tyres need to be durable enough to allow for the required operating range to create successful record attempts.

Bridgestone Motorsports collaboration

To develop suitable tyres, Volkswagen looked to Bridgestone and its sports tyre range, Potenza, to support achieve the ID.R record attempt. The Bridgestone Motorsports team began their collaboration with Volkswagen by assessing specific needs and requirements of Volkswagen, before testing and evaluating the resulting test data. It then developed a set of exclusive Potenza slicks for the ID.R at its R&D Centres in Rome and Japan. The slick tyres overcome the ID.R’s unique challenges to give optimal performance and confidence on the track – ensuring that the electric supercar could use its full power on the Nürburgring. The project was completed in less than five months, a speed Bridgestone says is due to the open-minded and transparent collaboration between the companies.

EV technology for the road

The rapid development of electric vehicles in the mobility sector has led to Bridgestone making significant R&D investments and working in partnership to deliver a mobility future that can help the world overcome these challenges. The joint project provides Bridgestone and Volkswagen with a better understanding of the specific challenges related to electric vehicles on and off the racetrack. Bridgestone states that it can apply its findings in material development and composition, as well as entire configuration optimisation from this project to better the business’s growing EV tyre segment.

Mark Tejedor, vice president original equipment at Bridgestone EMEA, commented: “We’re so proud to be part of this historical moment and contribute to the record on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife. Reducing CO2 emissions and improving natural resource preservation are essential pillars of ‘Our Way to Serve’, the Bridgestone sustainability strategy. It’s great to work on a project that not only contributes to bringing those to life but does so in a world record time. Just a few short years ago, no one would have predicted that EVs could achieve something like this. Our next step will be to apply the findings from this amazing partnership to EVs on the roads to benefit all drivers.”

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