It’s actually working and will be raced at Formula E events!

Launched in 2013, the Vision Gran Turismo program gave mainstream automakers to develop wild concept cars for the Gran Turismo 6 and Gran Turismo Sport video games. No fewer than 26 virtual vehicles were created by more than 20 carmakers until 2018, with the likes of Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Aston Martin, Toyota, Chevrolet, Lexus, and Bugatti having joined the ranks. Come 2018 and Audi launched its first concept car for the Gran Turismo Sport video game. But unlike the competition, the Audi e-Tron Vision Gran Turismo is a fully functional vehicle.

While most Vision Gran Turismo concepts were developed exclusively for the pixelated world of Gran Turismo, some were built as full-scale models, and only a small fraction had an actual drivetrain. But none of them were able to function as actual race cars outside the video game. Audi is the first to deploy its Vision Gran Turismo car to real-world racetracks, as the fully-electric vehicle will be used as a taxi during Formula E events.

One of the first manufacturers to enter Formula E with a factory-backed team, Audi is now the first carmaker to offer its customers and guests the opportunity to experience Formula E’s city circuits as passengers in the e-Tron Vision Gran Turismo. This will happen starting April 14, when Formula E goes to Rome, Italy, for the seventh race of the 2017-2018 season. There’s no specific information as to how you can sign up for a ride, but a Vision Gran Turismo concept that actually works in the real world is a might big accomplishment.

Continue reading to learn more about the Audi e-Tron Vision Gran Turismo.

Official video

Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo Exterior

- * R8-inspired design
- * 90 IMSA GTO features
- * Iconic Audi livery
- * Big rear wing and diffuser
- * Beefed-up fenders
- * Vented front hood
- * Production-ready design?

2018 Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo Exterior
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The e-Tron Vision Gran Turismo looks unique and familiar at the same time

The e-tron Vision Gran Turismo looks unique and familiar at the same time. It’s unique because it sports styling cues that we haven’t seen on Audi production models, but it remains somewhat familiar due to similarities with some cars we can see on the road. Ignore all the wild stuff and the Vision Gran Turismo model looks like Audi glued the A5 roof to an R8 lower section, and then added bits from its Le Mans and DTM race cars. The working prototype also borrows design elements from the Audi 90 Quattro IMSA GTO, an iconic race car that the brand developed for the IMSA-GTO racing series in the late 1980s. If you’re not familiar with this car, all you need to know is that it won many races in North America with drivers like Hans-Joachim Stuck, Walter Röhrl, and Hurley Haywood behind the steering wheel.

2018 Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo Exterior
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Up front, the concept looks like a more aggressive version of the current R8

Up front, the concept looks like a more aggressive version of the current R8. The proportions and the main features are pretty much the same, with a wide grille flanked by slim headlamps and big ari vents underneath. However, the grille lacks the usual honeycomb mesh, replaced by a white panel (since the electric drivetrain doesn’t need conventional cooling). The upper frame of the grille, which is finished in black, has four small fins that become thinned as they descend toward the grille. While the purpose of these elements isn’t clear, it looks as if the front end has teeth, which is cool. The front hood looks like proper race car gear with big vents in the middle and louvers on top of the wheels.

The side view is reminiscent of the old IMSA GTO car, with beefed-up fenders and a narrower section above the side skirts. The white wheel covers that extend a couple of inches from the rim are also based on the race car from 1989.

2018 Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo Exterior
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The massive wing that stretches outside the body and the big, red-painted diffuser round off the design

Similarities with the 90 Quattro IMSA GTO continue around back, where the fenders extend farther back to "hug" the fascia on both sides. The big vents behind the rear wheels are louvered on the lower side, and these louvers are mirrored by red LED strips below the slender taillights. Another LED stripe stretches across the entire fascia, while the illuminated rings logo helps the car stand out even more in the dark. The massive wing that stretches outside the body and the big, red-painted diffuser round off the design.

Finally, the Vision Gran Turismo concept is wrapped in the black, white, and red paint scheme of factory Audi race cars, but the way the colors and the shapes are arranged also remind me of the 90 Quattro IMSA GTO car, as well as the company’s DTM vehicles from the early 1990s.

Needless to say, while the e-Tron Vision Gran Turismo looks a tad futuristic for a road car, I think it’s not too wild for today’s 24 Hours of Le Mans race.

Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo Interior

- * Futuristic cabin
- * Simple design
- * Race-inspired steering wheel
- * Sports seats
- * Digital instrument cluster
- * Loads of carbon-fiber

2018 Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo Interior
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The cabin looks rather futuristic compared to production cars, but it’s not out of this world

Audi had nothing to say about the interior, but it did release one picture showing a simple and high-tech-looking dashboard. Much like any other Vision Gran Turismo concept out there, the cabin looks rather futuristic compared to production cars, but it’s not out of this world. And this is why it was put into production with the same features as the virtual race car.

The simple dashboard is thinner than usual, especially on the passenger side. This is due to the very low seating position and the fire extinguisher mounted in front of the seat. The driver operates the car via a race-inspired steering wheel with just the grip handles and no rim. A touchscreen placed in the center gives him access to the radio, the pit crew, and various options for the instrument cluster.

The cockpit features a lot of carbon-fiber, visible on the center console, the door panels, and the floor

The latter is also far from conventional. Instead of being mounted under the usual hood, the instrument cluster is transparent and "floats" above the dash. I guess we could say it’s a heads-up display projected on a screen behind the steering wheel rather than on the windscreen.

The cockpit features a lot of carbon-fiber, visible on the center console, the door panels, and the floor. Race-duty seats keep both the driver and the passenger in place on the race track. As I said, Audi did not release any details, but I could definitely see some of these features in upcoming race cars from the German firm.

Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo Drivetrain

- * All-electric drivertrain
- * Three electric motors
- * 815 horsepower
- * Quattro all-wheel drive
- * Variable distribution
- * 0 to 62 mph in 2.5 seconds

2018 Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo Exterior
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The race car gets its juice from three electric motors with a total output of 815 horsepower

As the "e-tron" badge suggests, the Vision Gran Turismo concept is all-electric. The race car gets its juice from three electric motors, two driving the rear axle and one spinning the front wheels. Each motor generates 200 kW, which converts to almost 272 horsepower. This translates into a total output of 600 kW, or 815 horsepower. Although there’s no "Quattro" in the name, the Vision Gran Turismo uses a version of the company’s all-wheel drive system with variable distribution.

Audi says that the electric motors use "individual components from the future Audi e-tron," so we will see a similar configuration in a production car from the future. Charging from 0 to 62 mph takes only 2.5 seconds, which isn’t surprising given the instant torque that electric cars benefit from. However, there’s a big chance that the Vision Gran Turismo won’t put this figure to test on Formula E race tracks any time soon.

Conclusion

2018 Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo Exterior
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Needless to say, I’m surprised that Audi waited almost five years to jump on the Vision Gran Turismo bandwagon. All the other big German companies joined the program in the first couple of years, and some even returned with a second concept car for the game, like Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen. But it was worth the wait, as Audi not only built a full-scale model of the virtual car but a prototype that works and one that will be used on actual race tracks. Granted, the R8 e-tron was a bit of fiasco with production halted after only a couple of years, but the Vision Gran Turismo could pave the way for a new-generation electric super with more power and better range. And why not, maybe even an all-electric race car for an EV class we might see at Le Mans in the future. It would also be interesting if other automakers followed suit with fully functional versions of their Vision Gran Turismo cars.

  • Leave it
    • We still don’t know much about it
    • Not going into production

References

2019 Audi E-tron Quattro Exterior
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Read more Audi E-tron news.

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Press release

With the fully electric “Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo” concept car Audi is now turning electric mobility into a tangible experience in a unique way. Originally developed exclusively for virtual races on PlayStation 4, Audi is making the new race car reality in conjunction with Formula E. Starting with the race in Rome on Saturday, April 14, the Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo will be deployed as a race taxi.

“E-Mobility is rapidly gaining importance,” says Peter Mertens, Member of the Board of Management, Technical Development, AUDI AG. “That is why in 2017 Audi was the first German manufacturer to enter Formula E with a factory-backed commitment. In our development laboratory motorsport, we are continuously expanding our expertise in e-mobility and gathering valuable experience also in extremely demanding conditions. With the Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo race taxi we are turning electric mobility into a tangible experience for our customers and guests as part of the Formula E races – in the middle of the world’s metropolises.”

The customers and guests of the brand with the four rings will be able to experience Formula E’s city circuits as passengers in the Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo starting at the race in Rome (April 14). Employees at Audi’s pre-production center developed and produced this one-of-a-kind car within the space of just eleven months based on the example of the Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo from the “Gran Turismo” PlayStation game. The million-selling “Gran Turismo” game has long acquired cult status with gamers around the globe. Audi has been working together with Sony and Polyphony Digital – the creators of “Gran Turismo” – for nearly 20 years. Audi designers created the Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo for the “Vision Gran Turismo” competition that was launched on the market on the occasion of the popular game’s 15th anniversary. Numerous automobile manufacturers developed virtual race cars for the contest.

Many of these concept cars were subsequently built as full-scale models as well and presented at trade shows. The Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo, however, is the first concept car of this range to be deployed to real-world race tracks as a fully functional vehicle. “This is what we are particularly proud of,” says Audi’s chief designer Marc Lichte. “Although the design of a virtual vehicle allows much greater freedom and the creation of concepts which are only hard to implement in reality, we did not want to put a purely fictitious concept on wheels. Our aim was a fully functional car. The Audi e-tronVision Gran Turismo shows that electric mobility at Audi is very emotive. This car incorporates numerous elements of our new design language such as the inverted single frame in the vehicle’s color that will be typical for our new e-tronmodels.”

Audi has deliberately taken up design elements and the color of the legendary Audi 90 quattro IMSA GTO with which the company in 1989 thrilled motorsport fans in the North American IMSA-GTO racing series with drivers like Hans-Joachim Stuck, Walter Röhrl, Hurley Haywood and Scott Goodyear. Featuring a combination of systematic lightweight design and quattro drive paired with a powerful five-cylinder turbo engine, the car was far ahead of its time back then.

The Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo has permanent all-wheel drive as well, the fully electric e-tron quattro all-wheel drive with variable power distribution. Three electric motors, each with output of 200 kW, propel the concept car. Two electric motors drive the rear axle and the third one the front axle, using individual components from the future Audi e-tron. System output is 600 kW (815 hp). With a curb weight of 1,450 kilograms the electric race car has a power to weight ratio of 1.78 kilo­grams per horsepower with ideal 50:50 percent weight distribution between the front and the rear axle. The Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in less than 2.5 seconds.

The futuristic race taxi will be deployed at all European Formula E races and numerous other events in 2018. At the wheel will be former DTM driver Rahel Frey from Switzerland or Le Mans winner Dindo Capello from Italy.

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