MINI E Race goes to Nurburgring

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 26, 2010

BMW has taken its MINI E all-electric hatchback to the Nurburgring. The circuit has taken on the likes of the Corvette ZR1, Nissan GT-R, and Pagani Zonda F but today, BMW's electrically powered car, the MINI E, impressed with a single lap finished in 9m 51.45s. It was also able to hit a top speed of 116 mph. Former DTM racing driver Thomas Jager from Munich was behind the wheel of this electric racer.

Jager said that it's the first time that he has driven on this circuit in "such an extraordinary car." Jager said that the power of the electric motor has "an incredible effect," since its full reserves of torques can be accessed at any time. He also applauds the silence from the drivetrain, stating that it is the "cleanest and quietest race lap"¹ he has ever driven.

Before the MINI E could hit the circuit, BMW had to complete extensive operations. To ensure optimum performance and safety on the track, the MINI E was given a special lightweight body and a roll cage.

The car also had several other components, including the suspension, brakes and tires, built to race specification. But aside from those revisions mentioned, the car is nearly standard.

MINI E Race, a modified race-spec version of the standard MINI E, has managed to complete a lap on the infamous Nürburgring-Nordschleife circuit with a top speed of 187 km/h. This feat made the BMW Group the first carmaker to have an electric car cruise through the “Green Hell” at racing speeds.

In fact, the MINI E Race completed the 20.8-km circuit in just 09:51.45. Piloting the MINI E Race was former DTM racing driver Thomas Jäger, who was the MINI Challenge champion in 2006. He noted that while he had driven on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife circuit many times, it was the first time he did it with "an extraordinary car.”

He remarked that the power of the vehicle's electric motor allows access of full reserves of torque at all times. He also noted the lack of noise from the drivetrain.

Before taking on the circuit, the MINI E Race had to undergo extensive preparations to make sure that the vehicle is ready to race, like the installation of a special lightweight body and a roll cage – for optimum performance and safety on the track.

Moreover, the MINI E Race also featured race-spec suspension, brakes and tires. Other elements remained practically the same as that of a standard MINI E, like its 150 kW (204 hp) electric motor that receives power from 5,088 lithium-ion battery cells.

However, the MINI E Race features reprogrammed control electronics and the software to ensure an optimal driving performance for the Green Hell.

Power is then transmitted to the front wheels through a single-stage helical gearbox with a lengthened gear ratio. BMW Group’s Peter Krams, project leader for the challenge, remarked that while the length and profile of the Nordschleife required extreme demands on the technology of the MINI E Race, the car was able to meet the challenge with "great authority.”

He added that the project was aimed at demonstrating the potential of the MINI E and its environment-friendly drive concept.”

Press Release

Green power through the Green Hell

Taking on the infamous Nürburgring-Nordschleife circuit at race speed with an electrically powered car is an ambitious project, but the BMW Group has just become the first car manufacturer to make it happen. Today the MINI E Race, a modified race-spec version of the standard MINI E, completed a lap of the legendary 20.8 km “Green Hell” in a time of 09:51.45 minutes. The MINI E Race hit a top speed of 187 km/h.

“The length and profile of the Nordschleife place extreme demands on the technology of our electric car. But the MINI E Race met this considerable challenge with great authority,” said the BMW Group’s Peter Krams, who headed up the project. “The aim of this unique undertaking was to provide an impressive showcase of the great potential of the MINI E and its environment-friendly drive concept.”

At the wheel of the electric racer for the hot lap was former DTM racing driver Thomas Jäger from Munich. “I’ve driven this circuit many times, but never in such an extraordinary car,” said Jäger, the MINI Challenge champion in 2006. “The power of the electric motor has an incredible effect, as you can access its full reserves of torque at all times. Another element of this fascinating experience is the lack of noise from the drivetrain. All in all, that was certainly the cleanest and quietest race lap I’ve ever driven.”

Extensive preparations had to be completed before the car could roll out onto the Nürburgring-Nordschleife. The MINI E Race was fitted with a special lightweight body and a roll cage in order to ensure optimum performance and safety on the track. And various other components, such as the suspension, brakes and tyres, are also race specification. Other than that, however, the car relies almost exclusively on the standard technical make-up of the MINI E. For example, it shares the same 150 kW/204 hp electric motor, supplied with energy from 5,088 lithium-ion battery cells. The control electronics and the software were reprogrammed to achieve an optimal driving performance for the Nordschleife. The power from the emission-free motor is channelled to the front wheels via a single-stage helical gearbox with a lengthened gear ratio.

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