Volkswagen announce electric assault on Pikes Peak
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The 102-year-old Pikes Peak International Hillclimb in Colorado, USA continues to emerge as a key showcase venue for electric motorsport with Volkswagen announcing an electric assault in the famed hillclimb in June 2018.
Volkswagen’s next official motorsport programme will see an all-wheel drive prototype developed with the goal of setting a new record for electric cars when the 2018 edition of the hillclimb takes place on June 24.
It’s a showcase for Volkswagen’s electric vehicle technology as it aims to become a leading producer of electric vehicles. By 2025, the Volkswagen brand will be offering 23 all-electric models.
‘‘The Pikes Peak hill climb is one of the world’s most renowned car races. It poses an enormous challenge and is therefore excellently suited to proving the capabilities of upcoming technologies,’’ said Dr Frank Welsch, Member of the Board responsible for development.
‘‘Our electric race car will be equipped with innovative battery and drive technology. The extreme stress test on Pikes Peak will give us important findings that will benefit future development, and it will showcase our products and their technologies.’’
The Pikes Peak challenger is being developed by Volkswagen Motorsport — the team which dominated the FIA World Rally Championship from 2013 till 2016 — in close cooperation with the Technical Development in Wolfsburg.
‘‘The race on Pikes Peak is a new beginning for us. We are developing an all-electric race vehicle for the first time,’’ said Sven Smeets, Volkswagen Motorsport director.
Volkswagen Motorsport last participated officially in the Pikes Peak mountain race in 1987 with a spectacular twin-engined Golf which barely missed finishing.
The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb – which insiders also call the ‘‘Race to the Clouds’’ – has been run since 1916 in the Rocky Mountains near Colorado Springs.
The 19.99km race course climbs 1440 metres to the summit at 4300 metres above sea level. Since 2012 the course has been fully tarmac having previously been a mix of seal and gravel surfaces.
The current record for electric prototypes is 8 minutes 57.118 seconds, set by New Zealander Rhys Millen (e0 PP100) in 2016.
The outright record is held by former world rally champion Sebastien Loeb (France) who clocked 8m 13.878secs at the 2013 event driving a specially developed Peugeot Sport 208 T16.