2018 Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo
It’s actually working and will be raced at Formula E events!by Ciprian Florea, on
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.
2018 Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo
Horsepower @ RPM:815
0-60 time:2.5 sec.
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?
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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