In these days of 7min laps, rounding the Nurburgring in 10min hardly classes as electric. Unless you’re in a Mini E. A battery-powered baby BMW driven by ex-DTM racer Thomas Jäger turned in a 9m52 lap, hitting a heady – but presumably near silent – 116mph on the way. That’s its top speed of course, not a lap average.
Far from standard, the green Mini E in question featured a lighter body, a roll cage and uprated brakes, tyres and suspension. No need to rip out the back seats – there aren’t any in the Mini E because the cabin is stuffed full of the 5088 lithium ion battery cells needed to power the 201bhp electric motor.
A silent race car: the new electric Mini E Racer
‘I’ve driven this circuit many times, but never in such an extraordinary car,’ Jäger said. ‘The power of the electric motor has an incredible effect, as you can access its full reserves of torque at all times. Another element of this fascinating experience is the lack of noise from the drivetrain. All in all, that was certainly the cleanest and quietest race lap I’ve ever driven.’
It’s all just a publicity stunt designed to prove that electric cars can be about more than just urban transport. But since the Mini E can only do around 100 miles in normal driving conditions it’s unlikely to be competing in the Nurburgring 24-hour race any time soon.
>> Meanwhile, Mini is looking for the next 20 Brits to trial the Mini E. The first 20 extended test drives end in June 2010 and BMW is seeking 20 more participants living in the Home Counties and West London. Click here to volunteer www.electricmini.co.uk/