Audi RS 3 sets compact-car record at Nürburgring
Driver Frank Stippler attributes his feat to the unique torque-splitter system that enables better acceleration out of corners
Weeks after Audi launched its new RS 3 sedan, Audi Sport racing and development driver Frank Stippler set a record for the compact-car segment at Nürburgring Nordschleife.
Stippler covered the 20.83km track in 7 min 40.748 secs, 4.6 seconds quicker than Laurent Hurgon in a Renault Mégane RS Trophy-R in 2019.
Audi credits a new torque-splitter system fitted for the first time in the 2021 RS 3 range for the feat. It distributes torque between the rear wheels via a multiple-disc clutch on each of the driveshafts, apportioning more torque to the outer rear wheel during hard cornering.
Audi’s RS 3, the juggernaut of the A3 range and rival to BMW’s M2 Competition and the Mercedes-AMG CLA45S, is powered by a turbocharged five-cylinder engine delivering 294kW and 500Nm. It’s claimed to blast from standstill to 100km/h in 3.8 seconds and reach a top speed of 290km/h.
The adaptive RS sport suspension has two set-ups for different racetracks. The comfort mode can be deployed on uneven tracks such as the Nordschleife to maintain the required higher lateral dynamics, while a harder set-up is reserved for tracks with smoother surfaces.
The RS 3 has 19-inch ceramic brakes and Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R semi-slick tyres and a new drift mode. In the latter set-up the torque splitter sends all of the power to only one of the rear wheels enabling rubber-burning sideways driving antics.
Engine and transmission modes are selected via the select driving dynamics system, which also has comfort, auto, dynamic, RS individual and efficiency.
“For me, the torque splitter is a quantum leap in terms of agile driving ... it ensures the most neutral handling possible with little oversteering or understeering in different driving situations,” said Stippler. “This makes early acceleration possible upon exiting a curve, enabling faster lap times.”
The RS 3 Sportback and Sedan will be coming to SA in the second half of 2022.
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