The partnership of Bridgestone and Volkswagen has written history today, as the Volkswagen ID.R has broken the electric-powered vehicle lap record on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife, using Bridgestone Potenza tyres.
The first fully electric race car of Volkswagen, the ID.R completed the 20.83-kilometre long racetrack – widely considered one of the most challenging in the world – in a time of 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.
Pushing the boundaries of electrical performance
The spectacular Volkswagen ID.R is the racing forerunner to the new ID. product family, pushing the boundaries of electrical performance. Having previously set a new record in the iconic Pikes Peak Hill Climb, the ID.R team looked to achieve the same feat at the world-famous Nordschleife of Nürburgring. Doing so required tyres able to deal with the specific challenges of e-racing.
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.
A record-breaking partnership
With vast experience in motorsports, 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 and, finally, across the R&D Centres of Bridgestone in Rome and Japan, developing a set of exclusive Potenza slicks for the ID.R. 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 all of the Nürburgring’s 20.83-kilometre surface.
Due to the open-minded and transparent collaboration between both companies, the project was completed in less than five months – a record time.
Sharing learnings with electric vehicles on the roads
Today, with climate change and dwindling natural resources ever growing concerns, the automotive industry is rapidly innovating to find mobility alternatives such as electrical vehicles with positive impact on the environment. In reaction, Bridgestone is 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 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.”