Volkswagen sets unofficial Goodwood record with electric ID.R
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Volkswagen Motorsport has to be content with an unofficial course record rather than a new entry in the record books after its Goodwood Festival of Speed hillclimb campaign was thwarted by a damp track for the Sunday Shootout.
Frenchman Romain Dumas dominated the competitive element of the annual festival in the all-electric twin motor Volkswagen ID.R but when the chance came to smash the 20-year-old official record a morning of rain had left damp patches under the overhanging trees.
The record for the narrow 1.16-mile hillclimb was set in 1999 by McLaren F1 test driver Nick Heidfeld who made a scarily darty run in a McLaren MP4/13 which stopped the clocks in 41.60secs. That time has remained unbeaten till this year.
Last year Dumas had taken the ID.R victory in 44.32secs to set an electric record. With further development of the car over the last 12 months and experience setting an electric lap record at the Nurburgring Nordschleife, there were strong hopes of bettering Heidfeld’s mark.
Dumas was under the record on Friday with a 41.18secs effort and then on Saturday the electric racer blasted up the hill in a jaw-dropping 39.90secs. A new record seemed a formality until race day dawned wet.
As top qualifier Dumas was last to run in the Shootout and stopped the clocks in 42.32secs for an easy win but not an official record. The record must be broken in the competitive shootout rather than on a qualifying run.
The Shootout delivered a Volkswagen Motorsport 1-2 with runner-up honours claimed by 2003 World Rally Champion Petter Solberg (Norway) driving a Volkswagen Polo World Rallycross Car. Solberg clocked 47.83secs.
Along with two VWs on the podium there was also a pair of Solbergs. A crowd pleasing 49.39secs effort from Petter’s 17-year-old son Oliver — in a Citroen DS3 World Rallycross car — secured third place.
The Hillclimb Shootout attracts a wide variety of entries. A Dallara SP1 sports prototype — with Judd V10 power — driven by James Cottingham took fourth place at 49.55secs and the top six wax completed by Jeremy Smith in a 1993 Penske-Chevrolet PC22 IndyCar at 50.31secs and former European hillclimb champ Joerg Weidinger with a screaming BMW E36 M3 powered by a Judd V8 F1 engine clocked 50.65secs.
Heidfeld was in action 20 years after his record run and demonstrated the pace of the second generation Formula E electric racer with an eighth place effort at 51.98s in the Mahindra M6 Electro.
There was a Kiwi connection to this year’s hillclimb with Hampton Downs and Highlands Park circuit owner Tony Quinn in action at Goodwood. He finished ninth in the Shootout, clocking a 52.40secs run in his big-winged Ford Focus Pikes Peak hillclimb special.