Audi games the supercar system

PlayStation will meet reality this weekend, when Audi turns its e-tron Vision Gran Turismo into a full-blown hypercar.

The German premium car-maker has taken the digital star of Playstation 4 and built two of them for the real world.

It plans to debut the e-tron Vision GT concept cars as race taxis during Saturday’s Formula E Grand Prix in Rome, complete with a 100km/h sprint in less than 2.5 seconds.

The e-tron Vision Gran Turismo was developed as a hypothetical electric sports car for the evergreen race gaming platform, but Audi turned it into a real car in just 11 months.

“E-Mobility is rapidly gaining importance; that is why in 2017 Audi was the first German manufacturer to enter Formula E with a factory-backed commitment,” Audi’s board member for development Peter Mertens said.

“In our development laboratory of 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.”

Like many other car-makers, Audi delivered the e-tron Vision Gran Turismo as a completely digital car for the Gran Turismo game’s 15th anniversary. Other cars were turned into full-size models, but Audi’s has become the only Gran Turismo anniversary digital car to be turned into a functional running car.

“This is what we are particularly proud of,” Audi design boss, Marc Lichte, said.

“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 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.”

It has obvious elements from its outrageous 1989 Audi 90 IMSA GTO in its body design and sticks to Audi’s roots with all-wheel drive.

It uses a trio of production-bound 200kW electric motors, with two on the rear axle and one powering the front axle.

Audi claims the combination delivers 600kW of total system power (don’t laugh, it’s not always a neat piece of mathematics with electric motors) and will haul to 100km/h in less than 2.5 seconds.

It boasts of 50/50 front/rearweight distribution for its 1450kg of mass, with race-bred suspension at all four corners and a fully digital cockpit.

Multiple Le Mans champion Dindo Capello will be one of the taxi drivers, backed up by Swiss former DTM pilot Rahel Frey.