Endurance racer Markus Winkelhock took the all-electric-drive sportster around the demanding 20.8km circuit at an average of 153km/h.

Audi's R8 e-tron has set a new lap record for a battery-powered production car notorious Nordschleife at the Nurburgring - the toughest test track in the world.

Endurance racer Markus Winkelhock took the pure electric sportster around the demanding 20.8km circuit in 8min09.099 - an average of 153km/h.

Compare that with the ultimate 'Ring record of 7min11.57, held by a Gumpert Apollo Sport - which, incidentally, is powered by a 515kW Audi V8! - and bear in mind that Winkelhock's R8 e-tron was identical in every respect to the production model that will go on sale in Europe at the end of the year.

Its two electric motors are rated at 230 kW and 920Nm each - and since an electric motor develops maximum torque at zero revs, the torque at the rear wheels in the instant before the tyres break traction peaks at 4900Nm!

That's enough to slingshot the little coupé to 100km/h in 4.6 seconds and on to a (limited) top speed of 200km/h, which was dialled up to 250 for Winkelhock's hot lap.



The e-tron is made mostly of aluminium and carbon fibre, which is why it tips the scales at a nimble 1780kg despite the extra weight of the T-shaped 49kWh lithium-ion battery, which fills up the centre tunnel (where the propshaft would normally be) and the space between the passenger compartment and the rear axle, and gives it a range of about 215km at cruising speed.

The battery is partly recharged when coasting (which Winklelhock did very little of!) and under braking (not much of that either) but it still won't do anywhere near 215km, flat out round the 'Ring.

In fact, Audi acknowledged that the 250km/h car couldn't do a second lap.

But, immediately after his hot lap Winkelhock went out in a second R8 e-tron that was set up in standard street trim with 200km/h limit in place, and did two non-stop laps in 16min56.969 - just under 8min30 a lap at an average of 147.26km/h.

Winkelhock said: “The R8 e-tron is a production road car, not a racing car, but with its low centre of gravity and rear-biased weight distribution, it's a very sporty drive.

“And the torque from those electric motors pushes you uphill like nothing else I've driven, even if they make hardly any noise in the process, which in the beginning was really unnerving for me.”