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Audi scores fastest electric lap on the Nurburgring

Audi let its new R8 e-tron loose on the Nurburgring, scoring a lap time of 8 minutes, 9.099 seconds, the fastest ever for a production electric car.

Audi R8 e-tron

Celebrating both its win at Le Mans with a diesel-electric hybrid race car, and the upcoming production release of the R8 e-tron electric vehicle, Audi set a lap record on the Nurburgring for a production electric car. The Audi R8 e-tron ran the 12.92-mile lap in 8 minutes, 9.099 seconds.

Audi R8 e-tron
The R8 e-tron goes on sale at the end of the year. Audi

Previously, Toyota set a lap record of 7 minutes, 47.79 seconds for an electric car on the Nurburgring, but its EV P001 is not a production car. Both the Audi and Toyota laps fall behind the 7-minute, 11.57-second record set by a Gumpert Apollo Sport for a production gasoline car.

In comparison to gasoline cars, the Audi R8 e-tron's specifications do not sound terribly impressive. Its 60 mph time is 4.6 seconds, and its top speed is limited to 124 mph. Audi raised that limit to 155 mph for the Nurburgring lap. The car weighs in at just under 4,000 pounds, largely because of the battery pack.

However, Audi notes that the R8 e-tron's two electric motors put 3,614 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels, and it must take some impressively quick traction control electronics to keep the tires from being instantly shredded.

That detail suggests that the production R8 e-tron will not have all-wheel drive. Other specifications released by Audi note that the 49-kilowatt-hour lithium ion battery pack, arranged in a "T" formation with the lateral section at the rear axle, gives the car a range of 134 miles.

The car's driver for the Nurburgring lap, Markus Winkelhock, said that "the torque with which the electric motors propel the car uphill beats everything that I know -- even if they make hardly any noise in the process, which at the start was really a completely new experience for me. In places where I really need traction, the torque vectoring -- the displacement of the torque between the powered wheels -- really helps me."

Audi promises that the R8 e-tron will go on sale by the end of the year.