Virtual reality is fast becoming actual reality.
Audi is one automaker that isn't playing games when bringing to life automotive fantasies sourced from the digital realm. The German automaker has created a new race car, called the e-tron Vision Gran Turismo, that was originally developed exclusively for virtual races in PlayStation 4's wildly popular "Gran Turismo" video game.
Now, after 11 months of development, a real life, full-size working example has been built by employees at Audi's preproduction center.
The all-electric vehicle features design elements and the color of the legendary Audi 90 quattro IMSA GTO, a race car with which the company in 1989 thrilled motor sport fans in the North American IMSA-GTO racing series employing drivers such as Hans-Joachim Stuck, Walter Röhrl, Hurley Haywood and Scott Goodyear.
That racer featured a winning combination of lightweight design and "quattro" all-wheel drive paired with a powerful five-cylinder turbocharged engine. The race car was far ahead of its time back then and that's true of the e-tron today.
This new car has permanent all-wheel drive, as well. The fully electric e-tron "quattro" drive has variable power distribution. Three electric motors, each with output of 200 kilowatts, propel the concept car. Two electric motors drive the rear axle and the third moves the front axle, generating an estimated 815 horsepower.
With a curb weight of 3,197 pounds, the electric race car has a power-to-weight ratio of 3.9 pounds 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 kilometers per hour (62 mph) in less than 2.5 seconds, the company said in a news release.
The futuristic ride made its debut Saturday at the Formula E circuit race in Rome, where Audi showcased it as a "race taxi" for customers and guests. The treat, in which a lucky few had the chance to experience the track from the passenger seat with driving duties being split between former DTM driver Rahel Frey from Switzerland and Le Mans winner Dindo Capello from Italy, will be repeated for all European races in the series.
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