The Volkswagen ID.4 EV Is Going Racing

Electric Vehicles / Comments

But probably not where you're guessing.

The 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 is flying high after winning the coveted World Car of the Year Award. The company's first electric crossover recently proved its usability during a 6,700-mile road trip across America, but now its creators will put it through a much more grueling test. VW will bring a specially modified ID.4 to the National Off-Road Racing Association (NORRA) Mexican 1000 race, where it will be driven by brand ambassador and professional driver Tanner Foust.

The race takes place on April 25 through 29, in Mexico's Baja peninsula. VW modified the ID.4 First Edition with off-road suspension and a racing interior, so it can properly compete in the NORRA Mexican 1000. However, the powertrain and the 82-kWh battery pack remain completely stock. The 201-horsepower electric motor is the same as a customer car, but the drivetrain components do have additional shielding to protect from the elements.

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Volkswagen
Volkswagen
Volkswagen

"It's exciting to be part of an ambitious challenge like this that pushes the limits of electric vehicles," said Foust. "We've learned a lot about the capabilities of the Volkswagen electric vehicle hardware in an environment that's tough for any vehicle, and it's performed well beyond our expectations."

VW has a history of competing in the NORRA Mexican 1000 as the Beetle-based Meyers Manx won the first event in 1967. This year's race covers 1,141 miles total, 893 miles of which are off-road. This is approximately the distance between Nashville and Miami. Obviously, charging the ID.4 will be important for such a long race, which is why VW will bring along a 50-kW portable, fast charger running on biofuel. This year's race will be run in loops due to COVID travel restrictions, meaning VW expects to run 98% of the stages without recharging.

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Volkswagen
Volkswagen
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To prep the ID.4 for such a tough race, VW stripped out unnecessary components like the HVAC system and modified the interior with a roll cage, safety racing seats, and screens to show data such as battery temperature. The 1st Edition's white steering wheel remains from the production car, though we don't expect it to remain that clean during the race.

As for the suspension, it has been heavily altered with rally-style coilovers at all four corners, tubular lower control arms in the front, and boxed links in the rear. VW raised the radiator to improve approach angles and cooling capacity and installed protection underneath. Finally, the stock 19-inch wheels were swapped with 18-inch wheels wrapped in 255/70 R18 tires for more sidewall and around two inches of additional ride height.

Let's hope the ID.4 fairs better than the Lordstown Endurance, which failed to live up to its name and quit the SCORE San Felipe 250 desert race after just 40 miles.

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