Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo jumps from virtual game to Formula E as race taxi

Article by Christian A., on April 12, 2018

Audi’s e-tron Vision Gran Turismo is an all-electric concept car that resides in the world of virtual reality. More specifically, it is one of the cars that could be played in the popular PlayStation game “Gran Turismo.” Now, it is possible to see the Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo concept car in real life, when you watch Formula E races.

A result of the collaboration between Audi and Gran Turismo creators Sony and Polyphony Digital, the Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo was created by talented Audi designers exclusively for the “Vision Gran Turismo” contest that was part of the 15th anniversary celebrations of the Gran Turismo. Other carmakers also took part in the contest and had their designers develop virtual race cars.

Interestingly, several of the Vision Gran Turismo cars – including the Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo -- were consequently built as full-scale models and presented at a number of shows. However, the Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo is the first to be deployed to real-world race tracks as a fully functional car. It will be making its race track debut in Rome on April 14, to be deployed as a race taxi for the Formula E event. From there, the Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo will be making its appearance in other Formula E’s city circuits in 2018.

As a race taxi, the Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo is making its jump from the virtual world to reality. Its main task will be to ferry customers and guests of the Audi brand with the four rings in the Formula E circuits. It will be driven by either former DTM driver Rahel Frey (Switzerland) or Le Mans winner Dindo Capello (Italy). Thus, from a fictitious driving machine that could be played in a game, the Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo is now a real functional vehicle that passengers could enjoy during Formula E events.

Developed and produced by Audi’s employees at its pre-production center, the Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo only needed 11 months to transition from virtual reality to an actual futuristic model. It adopted the design elements and color of the legendary Audi 90 quattro IMSA GTO, which was also considered a futuristic car around 30 years ago.

As an actual functional car, the Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo features fully electric e-tron quattro all-wheel drive with variable power distribution. It is propelled by three electric motors with individual outputs of 200 kW – one driving the front axle and two propelling the rear axle. Thanks to a total system output of 600 kW (815 hp) and curb weight of 1,450 kilograms, the Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo boasts of a power to weight ratio of 1.78 kilograms per horsepower. Furthermore, it boasts of a perfect 50:50 front-rear weight distribution. The Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo could sprint from nil to 100 km/h in less than 2.5 seconds.

Press Release

Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo: From the PlayStation to the race track

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-tron Vision 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-tron models.”

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.

Source: Audi

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