The all-electric R8 e-tron recorded a time of 8:09.099mins, less than a minute off the current combustion-engined production car record of 7:11.57 set by the 515kW V8 petrol-powered Gumpert Apollo Sport.
Audi says the same drive system that powered the R8 e-tron to its world record lap will feature in the production model to be released at the end of the year. That means two electric motors, each generating 280kW of power and 820Nm of torque, will push the e-tron from 0-100km/h in an Audi R8 V8-matching 4.6 seconds and onto a limited top speed of 200km/h - 250km/h was approved and reached for the record-setting lap.
The R8 e-tron's 'T'-shaped rechargeable lithium-ion battery, located in the centre tunnel and between the passenger compartment and rear axle, should support a range of about 215 kilometers and gathers charge through energy recovery during coasting and braking.
While the Audi R8 e-tron tips the scales at 1780kg, 220kg heavier than the Audi R8 V8, the primarily aluminium body and carbonfibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) components ensure performance is not sacrificed at the expense of the car’s heavy battery.
The record time at the 'Ring follows Audi's recent successes winning the 24-hour race at the Nurburgring in May in the Audi R8 LMS ultra and the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June with the Audi R18 e-tron quattro – the first overall victory for a hybrid-electric vehicle at the event.