Okay, so he wasn’t really trying to break any serious lap records, but Ken Block did get a chance to drive his new company car on one of America’s most famous tracks, so he wasn’t going to say no to a few laps.
The car, more specifically, is a personalized version of the Audi RS e-tron GT that makes 637 hp (475 kW/645 PS) on overboost and 612 lb-ft (830 Nm) of torque. It has also been painted white and its wheels were replaced by white Rotiform with the aerodisc design at the front.
Most alarming for Audi’s aerodynamicists, though, is no doubt the roof pod (that still contains snowboards, according to Block) on top. Combined with the wet weather and the extra passenger, the conditions weren’t perfect to topple the Tesla Model S Plaid’s EV lap record of 1:28.21, and he didn’t even coming particularly close to it.
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The best the rally driver can manage on the day is a time of 1:43.09. He reckons that’s good for a highly specific lap record but more to the point, the car impresses Block with its performance.
Whether it’s because of the assistance of regenerative braking or simply modern technology, the RS e-tron GT is capable of running lap after lap without brake fade, which Block notes are the first thing to start letting you down on production cars.
Also of note, Block’s best lap of the day comes after he turns the traction control. He’s quick to note that on the road the systems are a welcome way to help a driver out but on the track, the system seems to pull power aggressively.
“On a track like this, when the car gets unstable like at the exit of a corner, it wants to pull power back yet I’m trying to apply power to get it to go forward,” said Block. “So, just that little bit, in one lap, I’ve gained a second.”