A Sobering Reminder of Just How Much Work the ID. R Will Have to Do to Keep Up with the 919 Tribute

When VW announced that it would attempt to set an electric record around the Nurburgring in its electric showpiece, the ID.R, I think we all had memories of Pikes Peak.

In Colorado, the brand was adamant that it was only trying to beat the electric record before smashing the overall record—something, it should be noted, they didn’t seem all that surprised about.

But to beat the Porsche 919 Tribute around the Nurburgring will be more difficult and this Top 5 video from Porsche’s in-house production company is about as good a reminder of why as anything else. Power, aero, and chassis are all working in the Porsche’s favor and beating it around the ‘ring will be extremely difficult.

Now, this is all working with last year’s information, so it should be remembered that certain details will change before going any further. Still, the gap between the cars is wide enough to at least demonstrate how gargantuan VW Motorsports’ task will be.

When the ID.R took on Pikes Peak it made a very impressive 680 horsepower. That’s considerably more than you could reasonably hook up to a carriage, and is an impressive number no matter which way you cut it.

When Porsche took the reins off its hybrid power unit, though, it combined to make a total of around 1160 hp. And that’s a Grand Canyon-sized power gap.

It should be noted, though, that in Nurburgring-trim, the ID. R is likely to gain some power. Not just because the team has had time to improve parts (if they have at all), but because the car can brake harder. One of the big restrictions on the ID. R hp figure was figuring out how to balance power and range.

The team wanted Romain Dumas to be able to push as hard as he could all the way up the hill. By its nature, though, Pikes Peak doesn’t encourage drivers to brake as hard as they do on track. Between the cliffs that you can fall off and the primarily non-racy nature of the road, drivers can’t lean as hard on the brakes, which means they don’t recover as much energy through kinetic energy recovery.

Dumas is already reporting more, harder braking in testing, but still, VW seems unlikely to be able to add 500 hp to its power rating.

It’s not just power, though. The Porsche has one big aero advantage that makes it faster on the straights: DRS.

Now, this one may change since Drag Reduction Systems are fairly simple, but one of the flaps was able to open on Porsche’s rear wing. That reduces drag on the straights and allows the car to go even fast through the Nurburgring’s many high-speed sections.

At Pikes Peak, the ID.R had no such system. As implied above, though, since VW will be reworking the aero for its Nurburgring lap time, a flap on the rear wing seems like a pretty smart thing to add.

Less easy to change is the chassis. The ID.R is based on a NORMA chassis designed specifically for Pikes Peak. Although it has also raced at Le Mans, it was in a lower class than the Porsche and was first designed for gas engines and has been retrofitted to have electric motors and batteries.

Clearly, the team did a good job, but the 919 has a bespoke chassis designed specifically for its combination of a V4 and electric front axle.

That’s not to say that it would be impossible for the ID.R to beat the 919 Evo’s time, it’s got a big mountain to climb to get there. And that mountain might be bigger than Pikes Peak.