NextEV Set Lap Records At COTA With, Without Driver Manning Controls

For most manufacturers, a Nurburgring lap record is the ultimate proof of their cars’ performance capabilities. But NextEV isn’t most manufacturers.

Already the fastest production electric vehicle around “The Ring,” NextEV’s NIO EP9 also now holds both the EV and autonomous vehicle lap records at Circuit of the Americas, according to a press release.

With a driver behind the wheel, the NIO EP9 lapped COTA’s 3.43-mile Grand Prix track in 2:11.30, with a top speed of 170 mph. The 1,360-horsepower electric supercar also set a lap time of 2:40.33 without any interventions, topping off at 160 mph.

Although the EP9 was much faster at the hands of a racing driver, the record still is a significant achievement. The roughly 30-second difference between lap times might seem like a lot, but it’s worth noting driverless technology still is in its infancy.

“We are honored to be a part of NIO’s amazing lap record and see performance and autonomy coexist,” Katja Heims, COTA’s chief operating officer, said in a statement. “We all know that autonomous vehicles are part of the future and this new record is further proof.”

We can’t help but wonder how close Roborace’s autonomous Devbot race car could get to the NIO EP9’s lap-record. Devbot presumably is significantly down on power compared to the EP9 — Roborace hasn’t revealed its power output — but it’s likely much lighter, too.

Thumbnail photo via NIO

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