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a quiet cruise through the German forest
September 12, 2011 2:51 PM   Subscribe

Toyota Motorsport GmbH set a new lap record for an electric vehicle at the legendary 20.8km Nürburgring Nordschleife circuit in Germany with a time of 7 mins 47 seconds. WARNING: it's basically an advert for Toyota, but a cool one.

The Nürburgring is a motorsport complex around the village of Nürburg, Germany. It features a modern Grand Prix race track built in 1984, and a much longer old North loop track which was built in the 1920s around the village and medieval castle of Nürburg in the Eifel mountains. It is located about 70 km (43 mi) south of Cologne, and 120 km (75 mi) northwest of Frankfurt. The old track was nicknamed The Green Hell by Jackie Stewart and is widely considered one of the most demanding purpose-built racing circuits in the world.[1]

A faster lap (with driver narration)

A complete lap from the 1975 German Grand Prix


More onboard stuff from the 1967 German Grand Prix
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posted by philip-random (90 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
There must be something wrong with the speakers on this computer....

oh, wait...

Aren't I correct that going fast isn't so much an issue (and that, in fact, electric accelerates much faster than gas), but after a few more laps electric is sort of a no-go?
posted by tomswift at 2:58 PM on September 12, 2011


Toyota blew...

right by me. Sounded like a vacuum cleaner.
posted by eyeballkid at 3:00 PM on September 12, 2011


(and that, in fact, electric accelerates much faster than gas)

I don't think that's the case. There are certainly some very quick electric vehicles. But the quickest gas vehicles off the line are still faster than their electric counterparts.

Electric still has issues with weight and weight distribution, as well, which affects handling. But that's something that will be worked out over time.
posted by The World Famous at 3:00 PM on September 12, 2011


What is the car called? I'd like to see some pix and specs on it.
posted by Mister_A at 3:01 PM on September 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


And that's a bad-ass car to cover that track in 7 or 8 minutes, regardless of what it runs on.
posted by Mister_A at 3:02 PM on September 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


Aren't I correct that going fast isn't so much an issue (and that, in fact, electric accelerates much faster than gas)

Also, as an illustration of the difference, here's an onboard video of the Radical SR8 - which from the cockpit looks nearly identical to the electric Toyota - lapping the same track one second shy of a full minute faster than the Toyota.
posted by The World Famous at 3:05 PM on September 12, 2011


A tiny bit more info on this vehicle from the NYT - sounds like the German division of Toyota Motorsport put their name on a Radical chassis and an Evo motor, with some massaging from Rational Motion. I can't help but wonder how much Toyota-sourced engineering went into this...

That said, cool!
posted by the painkiller at 3:05 PM on September 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


What is the car called? I'd like to see some pix and specs on it.

The car

More info including specs in this press release
posted by philip-random at 3:06 PM on September 12, 2011


The fact that it's assembled from more-or-less off the shelf parts is, to me, even more impressive. I imagine a purpose-built electric racer would be able to improve on this performance substantially.
posted by Mister_A at 3:08 PM on September 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Now we just need Top Gear to borrow the car. So they can film it "breaking down."
posted by Western Infidels at 3:11 PM on September 12, 2011 [8 favorites]


Shocking!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:11 PM on September 12, 2011


That was pretty cool. But, man, that car did not like going in anything other than a straight line. The sound of the car protesting any slight curve or turn, and the way the driver had to saw-away in even the slightest bend was disturbing, to say the least.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:13 PM on September 12, 2011


Oh, great! Now there'll be no living with Roomba.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:15 PM on September 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


While I'm really impressed at how far electric cars have come in just a few short years, allow me to digress from that point for just a moment:

Holy Crap I want do drive around the Nürburgring! Every time I see it, I feel this itching in my hands to be behind the wheel working my way up an down through my gears, feeling that tightness in my gut as I hit a corner just right, and the push into the seat as the acceleration takes hold. Damn it, why am I too poor to make an occasional trip over there with a stupidly fast car? It should be part of a mental health program designed to keep me sane and happy and not coming random acts of senseless speeding...

So yeah, that Toyota; looking good.
posted by quin at 3:21 PM on September 12, 2011


Thorzdad: The fact that he's going as fast as he can into the corners likely has something to do with the skidding. Not to mention he's not doing 7m47s in anything other than soft performance tires.
posted by basicchannel at 3:22 PM on September 12, 2011


Also, maybe those noises are normal and it's just that you usually can't hear them over the scream of a normal engine going at that speed.
posted by omnikron at 3:23 PM on September 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


Now do the Warthog on the Nürburgring.
posted by kmz at 3:26 PM on September 12, 2011


Also, no Nurb laptime thread is complete without this breathtaking video of a RUF (a company that modifies/tunes Porsches) sliding its rear-enginedness around the 'Ring. White knuckled "Green Hell" goodness.
posted by basicchannel at 3:27 PM on September 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


James May is going to hate this car.
posted by eriko at 3:30 PM on September 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


^
I actually think that was one of the funniest pieces of this last season. That rant of his was a thing of beauty.
posted by quin at 3:33 PM on September 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


basicchannel...That would seem to indicate a poor setup on the car, then. One doesn't go for a record lap at the Ring without a properly-prepared car. The dynamics of the Ring are well-known, and Toyota Motorsport are not newcomers to autosport, by any means. That's why I was so surprised at how poorly the car seemed to be acting and at how much work the driver was having to do simply to navigate a slow bend.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:41 PM on September 12, 2011


Holy Crap I want do drive around the Nürburgring!

Based on my experience with Gran Turismo IV, if I did this I would be flying off the road into the trees about once every minute.
posted by LionIndex at 3:43 PM on September 12, 2011 [8 favorites]


That's why I was so surprised at how poorly the car seemed to be acting and at how much work the driver was having to do simply to navigate a slow bend.

Batteries are heavy. It'd be tricky to get the weight distribution right when that's what you're dealing with in a chassis designed for an internal combustion engine.
posted by The World Famous at 3:57 PM on September 12, 2011


Oh man, to drive the Nurburgring - This is my #1 driving dream with Laguna Seca a close second. I love to see amazing modern cars powering through the 'ring, but for me this will always be the definitive Nurburgring video.

Just for fun, here's my friend's electric bicycle project racing at Laguna Seca.
And not to derail, but here's a vid of this same electric bike that he helped build for a hillclimb competition.
posted by isopraxis at 3:59 PM on September 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


The hell with Toyota, check out this pic. I want to take a lap in KAR 120C.

Be seeing you! (in my rear view mirror)
posted by charlie don't surf at 4:12 PM on September 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


Damn electric cars are too loud.
posted by cjorgensen at 4:16 PM on September 12, 2011


Electric cars aren't faster, they just have gobs and gobs of torque.

Horsepower = Top speed
Torque = Acceleration

As was mentioned above, the batteries are their downfall. Too damn heavy.

Great clip. I want to have seven of these cars.
posted by glaucon at 4:22 PM on September 12, 2011


The Toyota Racing Development acronym needs some work. TRD, reads as TURD
posted by the noob at 4:32 PM on September 12, 2011


This is utterly appalling. When they drive that fast, they are losing so much energy to aerodynamic drag. They're warming our planet first with the energy generation needed to power this monstrosity and again with all of the dissipated heat from the aerodynamic drag. Don't they understand that we live on a planet with finite resources? Can't Mefi be a responsible website and show a guy riding a fixie around a velodrome instead of this rich man's toy and environmental atrocity?
posted by indubitable at 4:39 PM on September 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Now we just need Top Gear to borrow the car. So they can film it "breaking down."

Fat chance. They were already humiliated at the Nurburgring. Jeremy Clarkson did a lap in a Jag in 10 minutes, so his driving coach said she could beat that time in a diesel van. She almost did, coming within 9 seconds. I think if she had a clear track, she would have made it.

This was previously on MeFi, although a bit buried in a megapost.
posted by charlie don't surf at 4:42 PM on September 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Electric cars aren't faster, they just have gobs and gobs of torque.

This car has a gearbox, my understanding is that gobs and gobs of torque negate the need to a gearbox? I can't see the main clip because I live in a part of the world that is not the United States - but the narrated clip shows much gear changing.
posted by the noob at 4:44 PM on September 12, 2011


This is utterly appalling.

This might be the answer
posted by the noob at 4:47 PM on September 12, 2011


Short cut to the Top Gear truck laps with Sabine Schmitz. Part one is context, part two are the two laps, the second with all unnecessary gear removed from the truck.
posted by zippy at 4:48 PM on September 12, 2011 [7 favorites]


Thanks zippy, I posted that and then afterwards, realized I forgot the main links.
posted by charlie don't surf at 4:51 PM on September 12, 2011


I think if she had a clear track, she would have made it.

But if she'd had a clear track we wouldn't have been able to witness the awesome that was Sabine insulting sports cars and motorcycles as she blew past them in a van.
posted by quin at 5:06 PM on September 12, 2011 [8 favorites]


zippy writes "Part one is context, part two are the two laps, the second with all unnecessary gear removed from the truck"

That was bloody awesome.
posted by Mitheral at 5:09 PM on September 12, 2011


I especially liked the bit when they were stripping the van for weight, and they show Sabine taking off her belt.
posted by charlie don't surf at 5:27 PM on September 12, 2011


Derek Bell in a Porsche 956 is my fave Nürburgring video. It's a very fast lap and you get to listen to Derek Bell explain everything.
posted by chrchr at 5:41 PM on September 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


Derek Bell in a Porsche 956 is my fave Nürburgring video.

Jacky Ickx passing him was so cool. The explanation is also great.
posted by The World Famous at 5:47 PM on September 12, 2011


Electric cars aren't faster, they just have gobs and gobs of torque.

Well, theoretically with an electric you don't need a gearbox = no torque curve (which is how some homebrew EVs wind up getting snapped in half on their maiden journey). How can they make this video without showing me the pedal inputs on the screen? It's like a perfect ghost for next year's Forza Motorsports. Or whichever game I buy when I've forgotten how much I stink at racing games and pick up a new one.
posted by yerfatma at 5:51 PM on September 12, 2011


but after a few more laps electric is sort of a no-go?

This car will have been built specifically to break the one-lap electric car record, so it very likely wouldn't have enough electrons for much more than just the one fast lap.
posted by sfenders at 6:06 PM on September 12, 2011


We need a support group for people that will gladly sit and watch ring videos all day.

I thought it was interesting that he neither clipped the apexes nor ran out corners to the curbing, this electric is fragile, no?

Also, the future may be greener but it sure as hell doesn't sound that sexy.
posted by Keith Talent at 6:09 PM on September 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


How about an electric dragster? It only goes straight but boy does it go.
posted by ambulocetus at 6:49 PM on September 12, 2011


Why this video is "Not available in your country" is fucking beyond me.
posted by Jimbob at 7:04 PM on September 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Anything under 8-flat at that track is pretty damn quick, regardless of motive power.

As far as the handling goes, that seems about par for the course for a Radical, or other similar track oriented cars. He wasn't the smoothest driver out there, and seemed to chop at corners more than they teach you to, but could have been a personal style sort of deal.

What I'd like to know more about is the battery pack they had mounted in the Radical. I wonder just how close to being flat it was by the time he pulled in.

But even better, now that TRD (or at least their German equivalent) have thrown down the gauntlet, who's going to be next to step up and try to be the fastest gun int he West (so to speak).

This is how we'll get better electric cars: Race them.

Racing improves the breed, after all.
posted by Relay at 7:15 PM on September 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, the future may be greener but it sure as hell doesn't sound that sexy.

Nothing that couldn't be resolved by mounting speakers on the cars, perhaps as counter-ballast to the batteries. Volume could be adjusted depending on issues like local bylaws.
posted by philip-random at 7:39 PM on September 12, 2011


From philip-random's link, 280kW max power, 41.5kWh battery. So that's a bit less than 9 minutes of full power.
posted by sfenders at 7:40 PM on September 12, 2011


Heh "Video is not available to your country". A Toyota car? A Japanese car, not available to view in Japan? Oh the irony!
posted by lundman at 7:43 PM on September 12, 2011


Yeah, if you want to get a sense for why F1 doesn't race the north course anymore, Forza or Gran Turismo will illustrate exactly why. I both would love to drive this and am certain that if I did I'd get tossed off the track for going too slowly. It's an amazingly difficult track. It's hard to get a sense for the elevation changes in the video, but they can be intense.

I am pretty good at Forza, to the point where the only race left for me to win were the super long full-course Nurburgring ones. I eventually gave up and had to do them with automatic braking just to stay on the course for the several hours required.
posted by feloniousmonk at 7:56 PM on September 12, 2011


Horsepower = Top speed
Torque = Acceleration


OK, I know this is motorsport enthusiast shorthand, but it bugs me every time I see it. Torque and horsepower are two sides of the same coin - they're not independent. A car's torque-vs-rpm curve contains exactly the same information as the horsepower curve (one is the integral of the other). So while the shape of the torque curve is important for determining the dynamic performance of an engine, strictly speaking: Torque = Horsepower = Top speed = Acceleration.
posted by Popular Ethics at 8:14 PM on September 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


Electric motors are nifty because they have a nearly constant power curve (aka a linear torque curve) without the rise peak and fall you get in an IC engine. So for a given power rating, an electric motor will have more available over more of the driving regime, making them a bit more competitive (but not enough to make up for that beast of a battery they have to lug around... yet).
posted by Popular Ethics at 8:19 PM on September 12, 2011


From philip-random's link, 280kW max power, 41.5kWh battery. So that's a bit less than 9 minutes of full power.

But that's with wifi off and the screen at half-brightness.
posted by zippy at 8:21 PM on September 12, 2011 [10 favorites]


Also, the future may be greener but it sure as hell doesn't sound that sexy.

I think this is a cultural thing that will change. Personally I think the whine sounds faster - like a jet engine about to throw its blades. A loud exhaust just sounds like waste to me.
posted by Popular Ethics at 8:22 PM on September 12, 2011


Yeah, if you want to get a sense for why F1 doesn't race the north course anymore, Forza or Gran Turismo will illustrate exactly why. I both would love to drive this and am certain that if I did I'd get tossed off the track for going too slowly. It's an amazingly difficult track. It's hard to get a sense for the elevation changes in the video, but they can be intense.

It's a publicly accessible road. They have a token you buy and drop into the gate just like on a turnpike, and then you are free to go. The best videos are those of average Joe's turning hot laps hoping not to come upon a bus full of tourists in the apex of a turn.
posted by Keith Talent at 8:24 PM on September 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's a publicly accessible road. They have a token you buy and drop into the gate just like on a turnpike, and then you are free to go.

That may be the most mind-blowing thing I have ever learned from reading MetaFilter. It's... public? I can just... show up? And drive on it? That's insane. How is it not slick with blood and littered with the smoking remains of automobiles?

Wow.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 8:30 PM on September 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, the future may be greener but it sure as hell doesn't sound that sexy.

Personally I think the whine sounds faster...


I agree, eventually culture will change to appreciate the sound.
posted by ceribus peribus at 8:33 PM on September 12, 2011


That's insane. How is it not slick with blood and littered with the smoking remains of automobiles?

I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that you actually have to learn how to drive before they give you a license in Germany.

A few laps around the Ring is pretty high on my bucket list. At least once in a Ring Taxi, souped up beemers driven by pros who know the course, and as many laps as I can afford on the fastest bike I can get my hands on.
posted by calamari kid at 8:41 PM on September 12, 2011


There are some good photographic illustrations of why I do not want to drive it here.

"While track management does not publish any official figures, several regular visitors to the track have used police reports to estimate the number of fatalities at somewhere between 3 and 12 in a full year."

However, I don't believe there is public access with the same ease to the GP track. I'm sure you can drive it if you are willing to pay, like most tracks.
posted by feloniousmonk at 8:42 PM on September 12, 2011


I can just... show up? And drive on it? That's insane. How is it not slick with blood and littered with the smoking remains of automobiles?

It's a bit more complicated than that.

But it is, indeed, slick with blood and littered with the smoking remains of automobiles - until they clean it up.
posted by The World Famous at 8:45 PM on September 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


How is it not slick with blood and littered with the smoking remains of automobiles?

It often IS. Read the wikipedia entry in the link up at the top, it is fascinating. I was especially amused by the description of how police will write up in the crash report if you had a timer in your car, which would void your normal car insurance.

But one thing I was unable to find in the wikipedia entry, just how long are the official Grand Prix races and the big shows at Nurburgring? feloniousmonk says he plays a race sim and it takes hours to complete a race. How many laps are in these big races? Somehow I think these record laps are not quite in the spirit of racing, it turns the course into a drag race. Yeah, you can make an electric car that can run for 9 minutes at regular speeds, but I envision a 35mph average speed for an electric Grand Prix of regular duration.
posted by charlie don't surf at 8:53 PM on September 12, 2011


There are a few different races in Forza on this track. The "shortest" one is 9 laps at approximately one hour's duration, depending on your lap times and cars. I believe this is meant to approximate the old F1 races when they actually used the north track. There's also an endurance one that runs 50 laps and takes ~4 hours elapsed racing time. (It took me about 5 days real time.)

The current F1 race on the south course is 60 laps for ~200 miles. I'm not sure how long this takes as I haven't caught it on TV but I suspect it's in the 90 minute range as most F1 races are.
posted by feloniousmonk at 8:59 PM on September 12, 2011


I'm a little unnerved that the driver in basicchannel's link is wearing short sleeves instead of a helmet, driving gloves, NOMEX jumpsuit, and five point harness.
posted by ceribus peribus at 8:59 PM on September 12, 2011


By the way, F1 cars are astonishing machines. I never thought I'd get into racing until I caught one by accident. I highly recommend giving it a shot, particularly if you think it's something you might be into but are turned off by the racing you can see in the US. Sorry for the derail.
posted by feloniousmonk at 9:02 PM on September 12, 2011


How is it not slick with blood and littered with the smoking remains of automobiles?

List of Nürburgring fatal accidents

* note: this only applies to competition related deaths (drivers and course officials)
posted by philip-random at 9:38 PM on September 12, 2011


Thanks for the derail, I asked about it.

Now speaking of going off the rails, oh holy sh.....
posted by charlie don't surf at 9:39 PM on September 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


As far as the handling goes, that seems about par for the course for a Radical, or other similar track oriented cars. He wasn't the smoothest driver out there, and seemed to chop at corners more than they teach you to, but could have been a personal style sort of deal.

I'd disagree pretty strongly with your assessment of Radical cars and their handling. They are pretty fat and wallowy cars in racing terms (they were conceived as a track day car) but they are still pretty capable. The car in the video was pretty clearly set up for minimal straight line drag and just as obviously had crappy wheel alignment that favoured straight line over cornering poise/response. That was why the driver was sawing at the wheel and also why there was such little in the way of response from the car when being sawn upon.

Yes, the wheel movements didn't look smooth, but the car itself remained much more smooth than it should have done for those inputs. That was the driver working with, and around, a car that wasn't set up to turn as much as it was to produce minimal drag in rolling resistance. As such:

That would seem to indicate a poor setup on the car, then. One doesn't go for a record lap at the Ring without a properly-prepared car. The dynamics of the Ring are well-known, and Toyota Motorsport are not newcomers to autosport, by any means. That's why I was so surprised at how poorly the car seemed to be acting and at how much work the driver was having to do simply to navigate a slow bend.

I'm confident that was inherent in a set up that was compromised for vehicle handling rather than the (as you point out) unlikely event that TRD couldn't find anyone that could set a car up for such a high profile project.
posted by Brockles at 9:40 PM on September 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


But one thing I was unable to find in the wikipedia entry, just how long are the official Grand Prix races and the big shows at Nurburgring?

They don't race on that track at all any more. It is merely a pay and play single run event. I don't think you can even do a full lap as it is broken into the 'in and out' section.
posted by Brockles at 9:41 PM on September 12, 2011


It's interesting to note that Toyota Motorsport GmbH is basically Toyota's old F1 team. Despite doing so poorly in F1 (relative to the $1B investment), it's a pretty successful engineering consultancy.
posted by spiderskull at 9:55 PM on September 12, 2011


Brockles -- out of curiosity, if you were in charge, what would you use as a chassis for an electric race car? Something like an F3 or Formula Ford setup?
posted by spiderskull at 9:57 PM on September 12, 2011


For comparison, the Radical SR8 has comparable power to that quoted for the electric car, but the LM (which held the production car lap record at 6m 48s) has more power, but should give you an idea of what the car can do:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AzxW51EyoWY

Michael Vergers (who got the record) is a very capable driver, so that gives you a better idea of more typical hand movements and input style that would be expected from that kind of car. Vergers would be expected to be even more sharp on wheel movements (although he wasn't) because he was driving so much faster, which is telling.
posted by Brockles at 9:57 PM on September 12, 2011


By the way, for fellow gearheads, be sure to check out this wet lap around the Nordschleife. It's incredible.
posted by spiderskull at 10:01 PM on September 12, 2011


Well for an electric race car, I'd not go for a Radical as it's just too heavy for my mind, but the Nurburgring isn't your normal race track. It is horrifically bumpy by modern standards so the kinds of suspension movements and droop required are likely to be out of the standard car scopes for something like an F3 car (which usually won't see more than 3" of wheel travel at the rear and maybe 1-2" at the front on the softest springs it will run). With those kinds of restrictions you'd have trouble keeping the tyres on the ground and so wont' be able to take advantage of the stiffer chassis and better aero.

So while it would be better from a weight point of view, you also have significant packaging issues (er, like where do the batteries go without being in the airflow) and also just not enough space to get the batteries somewhere sensible for weight distribution.

A Radical is a very cost effective and well understood basis for a project such as this, to be honest. I'm not sure it is the ultimate chassis for race performance at all, but for the 'ring it's the right kind of car. Something with a lighter chassis (composite, but without reducing installation flexibility) would be my preference but you're instantly adding tens of thousands (at least) to the project budget by doing so. So it really depends on the budget. If you want to spend more on your motors and batteries, hell yes I'd use a Radical.

Any Le Mans/ALMS style car (or even Prototype Lites car) would work for proper racing, depending on budget. Or even a DP/Grand Am car at a push. But basically, a Radical is a budget version of them anyway. Tube frame or carbon monocoque cars have lots of inside space for packaging and weight distribution, but heat rejection requirements (about which I have zero clue) and the finer packaging limitations (again - no idea on physical component size) make it hard to pick a better chassis specifically.

Just to clarify: when I said "crappy wheel alignment" I meant that in the context of handling, rather than "it's wrong". It was clearly set for a purpose, rather than some monkey set it with one eye shut and one leg shorter than the other when he measured it.
posted by Brockles at 10:10 PM on September 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


The 1968 German Grand Prix ... Jackie Stewart's greatest victory.

With only 3 laps to go, it really started to pour down with rain all round the circuit, and the track became really treacherous. At a point about half a mile from the Karussel I entered an 'S'-bend in third gear and suddenly lost control in a deep river of water which was running across the road. The car immediately started sliding, the engine stalled, and I was hurtling across the road towards a marshal who was standing beside his post completely unprotected. He dived one way; then decided to jump the other way; then suddenly he just froze, and I knew I was going to hit him. But just then the wheels got a little bit of grip and I managed to regain control. Graham, in fact, who was some way behind, arrived at the same corner and spun off, but by this time the marshal had moved his position to somewhere a bit safer!

1973 German Grand Prix (in more pleasant weather)
posted by philip-random at 10:13 PM on September 12, 2011


Maybe Toyota should give me a call for a US/Canada based project, actually, as I have a Radical sat in our shop that utterly shat out its engine internals two weeks ago in a pool of oil and a rattly and clanky bang. Being as we haven't decided what to put back in it, I'd be more than happy to set up a Laguna/Mosport/Road America/Watkins Glen record version. Soon stick something whiny and battery powered in that without trying too hard, I imagine.

I do have an empty winter development window, My Toyota-PR person. Just saying...
posted by Brockles at 10:14 PM on September 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Interesting, thanks for the response. I'm by no means an expert, but I believe you have to aggressively cool the power electronics. The batteries also need cooling, but not nearly as much (since the current is distributed across thousands of cells).

Also, even though they're wholly owned by Toyota, this is still a completely separate entity from Toyota Corporate (and TRD). They're not a huge company -- I'm sure you could just call them directly to see if there's any interest.
posted by spiderskull at 10:18 PM on September 12, 2011


I actually do have some prior knowledge of this - back in my distant past I was involved with the Panoz Q9 project in it's very early stages so have seen something of this before. Not the best example of it being done, but at least I have dim memories of the nightmares involved in trying to route ducting and carbon intakes and exhausts to get enough air in and out of a monocoque not designed with the concept in mind...

Man, I do NOT miss factory development projects like that - 37 hour days, 110 hour weeks, a car full of completely asleep people on the motorway on the way back from the shakedown test for about 5 seconds before the driver woke up (and confessed later when we got back). Amusing stories, but I swear it's taken years off my life.
posted by Brockles at 10:30 PM on September 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


WARNING: it's basically an advert for Toyota, but a cool one.

They've certainly had worse ideas: Court Approves Lawsuit Against Toyota Over Cyberstalking Ad Stunt
posted by homunculus at 12:21 AM on September 13, 2011


( I came to favourite zippy's comment, but my battery died halfway thr
posted by sodium lights the horizon at 12:28 AM on September 13, 2011


(anybody have a link to the EV lap that works on Earth?)
posted by Vetinari at 12:47 AM on September 13, 2011


Anyone else play Gran Tourismo 4 or any other racing game with this track? It's always weird watching videos of people doing the exact same thing you've done in a game.

I also love how quiet it is.
posted by delmoi at 1:45 AM on September 13, 2011


WARNING: it's basically an advert for Toyota, but a cool one.

Pretty weak as an ad actually. They should at least had a Toyota name plate on the dash.
posted by Mitheral at 3:19 AM on September 13, 2011


So for a given power rating, an electric motor will have more available over more of the driving regime, making them a bit more competitive (but not enough to make up for that beast of a battery they have to lug around... yet).

Strictly speaking, if you want electric motors in your vehicle you also have the option of lugging around an engine, generator, and fuel tank. And a little bit of battery.

Part of me still thinks you could put together a engine+gen+motor set that had better power to weight than a standard IC setup if you went with turbines.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:22 AM on September 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think if she had a clear track, she would have made it.

The definition of suck is when someone in a van blows by you yelling "get out of the way!" when you're on the 'ring.
posted by eriko at 6:23 AM on September 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is beautiful (Sabina Schmitz, ring taxi pilot, awesome human being)
posted by freq at 7:02 AM on September 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm so happy this video is not available in my country - who knows what I might do with it!
posted by Sutekh at 8:06 AM on September 13, 2011


"Part of me still thinks you could put together a engine+gen+motor set that had better power to weight than a standard IC setup if you went with turbines."

I'm not sure about how the power to weight numbers would shake out, but Jaguar did a show car like that a while back, and so did Jay Leno ... at least I recall that Leno's was a train hybrid like that.

This sort of a powertrain set up always seemed like a good solution to me: You can use the batteries around town, or as long as they had a charge, and then you could switch over to the turbines. This also allows for greater range and you can also run turbines off of bio-kerosene.
posted by Relay at 11:09 AM on September 13, 2011


eriko writes "The definition of suck is when someone in a van blows by you yelling 'get out of the way!' when you're on the "ring."

I was really wondering how she was managing to blow by all those bikes, especially out of corners, in a Transit. Having spent a few hours this morning poking around how open entry days on the track work it makes sense. A lot of those people she's passing are just cruising rather than racing. Some of them may have have never driven a quasi closed course before or at least not one as difficult as this one. And it looks to be a really difficult course if you aren't familiar and practised on it. I watched dozens of in car "moments" where the car seems break for the barriers for no reason. A couple that are seemingly on clear straights. Freaky.

And now I so want to spend a couple weeks there.

ceribus peribus writes "I'm a little unnerved that the driver in basicchannel's link is wearing short sleeves instead of a helmet, driving gloves, NOMEX jumpsuit, and five point harness."

When I first got into Rally and started study how to build a car to keep it's passengers safe when the damage ensues I was a little freaked out that helmets at a minimum aren't required for freeway travel. I wonder how many deaths would be prevented is everyone wore a helmet when travelling over 50 km/h.
posted by Mitheral at 11:20 AM on September 13, 2011


the noob: This car has a gearbox, my understanding is that gobs and gobs of torque negate the need to a gearbox? I can't see the main clip because I live in a part of the world that is not the United States - but the narrated clip shows much gear changing.

The narrated video is in a gasoline powered car. No gear changing in the electric one.
posted by zsazsa at 3:20 PM on September 13, 2011


I was really wondering how she was managing to blow by all those bikes, especially out of corners, in a Transit.

Yeah, I wondered about that too. She's really pushing it, the undercarriage camera shows one of her tires goes off the ground once, and nearly gets air a second time.

But it's not just passing bikes, this scared the hell out of me in the onboard cam of the 1967 F1 racers. The front car has a considerable lead, but when a tight corner comes up, suddenly the rear car is right up his ass. If you aren't braking exactly like the car in front, you drive right into him.

But you can't match driving performances with amateurs with mixed bikes and street cars with different capacities. I read one of the "Ringer" websites (sorry lost the link) that one of the big problems is passing, especially bikes. Bikes do slower lap times since they can't hold the tight curves, but then they accelerate faster away from the curve so you can't overtake them. So they tend to block cars repeatedly in the curves, when they're supposed to let them pass. It's considered discourteous to not let a car past your bike, you can always stop them from passing you, but you'll just be forcing the car behind you to slow down spend all their effort trying to not run over you in the curves. It's causing a deliberate danger. That's what she's cursing about. I thought it was particularly funny how Sabine was swearing about "English pigs on bikes" on the UK TV show.

Anyway, I spent hours reading the Nurburgring noob FAQs, they go into considerable detail about passing. Basically the rule is that this is a public Autobahn so regular driving laws apply, and if you're not on the right side of the road when someone passes you in the fast lane on the left, you are always at fault. So you have to stay right if someone wants to pass on the left, even in a curve you'd normally sweep through both lanes. Passing on the right is illegal, and usually fatal.

After studying all that stuff, now I want to take a lap. But it scares the hell out of me. And I need a nicely tuned BMW or Porsche, not my rustbucket '92 Mazda 626. LOL.
posted by charlie don't surf at 6:42 PM on September 13, 2011


"English pigs on bikes"

That's the general consensus that I've heard from friends and colleagues that have run laps at The 'Ring, and also from various articles that I've read.

There was one article (damned if I can find it now though) that interviewed the emergency response team that serves The 'Ring, and they said, in effect, 'Bikers are the worst people to deal with. Bikes are way too inexpensive to buy, and too many young guys with too much testosterone and not enough experience with this sort of thing make our jobs a real pain in the ass.'

But hey, at least there's guardrails now so rescue crews don't have to drive around looking for gaps in the hedges that errant cars and bikes made exiting the course.
posted by Relay at 9:10 PM on September 13, 2011


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