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Audi brings digital e-tron racer to life. Image by Audi.

Audi brings digital e-tron racer to life
815hp e-tron Vision Gran Turismo electric machine emerges from the world of digital racing games.
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What's all this about?

Life imitating art imitating life.

I'm sorry, you've totally lost me already. Could you begin again?

Look, you know the legendary Gran Turismo series of racing games?

Yes, I do; what of them?

Well, five years ago, the producer of the game, Polyphony Digital, set up the Vision Gan Turismo series, a collaboration between the game and some of the world's leading car companies to come up with outlandish GT cars to be used in the PlayStation game. All of these cars were designed under the VGT banner and have only ever be available for virtual motorsport within the game.

Ah, it would sound like we've got a real version of a VGT car, then. Am I right?

You've finally cottoned on. This is the Audi e-tron VGT and it's the real version of the digital machine the German company created for the game. With quattro all-wheel drive and three 200kW electric motors (two rear-mounted, one on the front axle) sending 815hp to the wheels, the 1,450kg e-tron VGT is stonking quick: 0-62mph takes less than 2.5 seconds.

Wow! Will it be a production car for a select few to buy?

Erm... no. It's a one-off, built to function as a race taxi in support of the Formula E series, which Audi is now participating in as a full factory team. So the e-tron VGT - in the hands of either Switzerland's DTM German touring car championship driver Rahel Frey or Italian Le Mans 24 Huors winner Dindo Capello - will whisk lucky customers and guests of Audi around the city-street circuits on which the Formula E championship is contested. First up is Rome on April 14, but the e-tron VGT will go to all the global venues that are on the series' calendar.

Why has Audi done this?

Well, it's very proud of the fact that - while other VGT cars have been made into full-scale models by their parent manufacturers - no one has, as yet, lifted a machine designed solely for the computer world and made it a reality. Marc Lichte, Audi's chief designer, said: "This is what we are particularly proud of. Although the design of a virtual vehicle allows much greater freedom and the creation of concepts that 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 [grille] in the vehicle's colour that will be typical for our new e-tron models."

Surely, the e-tron VGT will help to sell a few showroom versions of Audi's electric/hybrid cars?

Undoubtedly so. Over to Peter Mertens, Audi's board member for Technical Development, who added: "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. 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."

Matt Robinson - 11 Apr 2018

Earlier articles featuring 2018 Audi etron

2018-03-14: Audi opens pre-orders on e-tron SUV
2018-03-06: All-electric Audi SUV on show

2018 Audi e-tron VGT. Image by Audi.2018 Audi e-tron VGT. Image by Audi.2018 Audi e-tron VGT. Image by Audi.2018 Audi e-tron VGT. Image by Audi.2018 Audi e-tron VGT. Image by Audi.

2018 Audi e-tron VGT. Image by Audi.2018 Audi e-tron VGT. Image by Audi.2018 Audi e-tron VGT. Image by Audi.2018 Audi e-tron VGT. Image by Audi.2018 Audi e-tron VGT. Image by Audi.    - Audi road tests
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