Watch: Full-electric Volkswagen I.D. R shatters Pikes Peak record
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Throughout the months of build-up to the 2018 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, the Volkswagen Motorsport press releases had carefully referenced the existing electric vehicle record as the target for its Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak prototype.
No mention was made of Sebastien Loeb’s 8m 13.878s victory in 2013 driving the Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak.
But with VW driver Romain Dumas (France) having won three of the previous four Pikes Peak events and considering the track record of Volkswagen Motorsport in the World Rally Championship and the advanced specification of the
Volkswagen prototype, there was always the thought the outright record might be under threat. Sector times during qualifying suggested a record run was within Dumas’ reach, but Pikes Peak also includes the challenge of only making a full-course run just once — on race day — and also throws in the massive variations of Rocky Mountains weather.
Early on Monday morning (New Zealand time) Dumas raced up the 19.99km course, through 156 corners, to reach the 4302m finish line at the summit in a time that not only bettered Loeb’s five-year-old record, but also eclipsed the 8-minute barrier. Dumas stopped the clocks in a staggering 7m 57.148s.
The run clipped more than 16 seconds from Loeb’s benchmark and came within fractions of chopping a full minute off the existing electric record of 8m 57.118s, set by New Zealand’s Rhys Millen in 2016 driving the e0 PP100 prototype.
VW’s prototype has been built to showcase the technology in its upcoming I.D. family of electric production cars. It features a twin-engine powertrain developing an estimated 500kW and uses a lithium-ion battery pack as the energy storage system. Four-wheel drive and extreme aerodynamics are also part of the design and technology package.
“Since this week’s tests, we have known that it was possible to break the all-time record,” said Dumas.
“For it to come off, everything had to come together perfectly — from the technology to the driver. And the weather had to play ball too.
“That everything ran so smoothly is an incredible feeling, and the new record on Pikes Peak is the icing on the cake. I still cannot believe that Volkswagen and my name are behind this incredible time.
“The I.D. R Pikes Peak is the most impressive car I have ever driven in competition. The electric drivetrain means that many things are different and I learned a lot during the project. “The team did an indescribably meticulous, yet at the same time relaxed, job. Not only did we get the desired result, but the team spirit was also spot on. I am incredibly proud to have been a part of it.”
Dumas, 40, is one of modern era motorsport’s most versatile drivers. He’s twice won the 24 Hours Le Mans and is a Porsche GT factory driver. He also makes appearances in the World Rally Championship and the Dakar Rally.
The second-placed car was a Norma M20 prototype — similar to the car driven by Dumas in recent years — and raced by Simone Faggioli with an 8m 37.230s run. It was an impressive effort for the Italian’s rookie attempt. Peter Cunningham (US) driving an Acura TLX GT — a car raced successfully in the Pirelli World Challenge — was third, clocking 9m 27.352s.
Highlands Motorsport Park and Hampton Downs track owner Tony Quinn finished seventh with a 9m 52.720s run in his Ford Focus hillclimb special.
The motorcycle category featured a close finish with Carlin Dunne riding a Ducati Multistrada 1260 clocking 9m 59.102s, 0.692 seconds ahead of Australian motorcycle journalist Rennie Scaysbrook on a KTM 1290 Super Duke.
Millen drove a Bentley Bentayga in the Exhibition class seeking to break the course record for a production SUV. He reached the summit in 10m 49.902s to beat the previous record set in 2013 by a Range Rover Sport.