By on June 25, 2018

Volkswagen’s I.D. R Pikes Peak all-electric race car made history at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb this past weekend, becoming the fastest vehicle ever to tackle the mountain.

The intent was for VW to restore its honor (after leaving the event in shame in the 1980s) and best the EV record set by course veteran Rhys Millen in 2016. But the German automaker’s electrified demon handily smashed that record. With a total time of 7:57.148, the Volkswagen I.D. R has proven its mettle and its driver, Romain Dumas, will be cemented as a Pikes Peak legend on par with Rod Millen and Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima.

The previous unlimited class record had gone untouched since 2013, when Sébastien Loeb throttled his Peugeot 208 T16 across the finish line in a very lean 8:13.878. Unless another manufacturer becomes absolutely hellbent on building the ultimate hill climb car, we expect Volkswagen to hold the record for a while. 

“We exceeded even our own high expectations with that result. Since this week’s tests, we have known that it was possible to break the all-time record,” Dumas said after the race. “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.”

Dumas went on to praise the team behind the car, saying the victory on June 24th wouldn’t have been possible without them. While the driver’s skill has been repeatedly proven on the mountain, he has a point. The engineering behind the I.D. R is more than impressive. At a mere 2,425 pounds, the car’s electric motor boasts 670 horsepower and 480 lb-ft of instant torque. While those output numbers aren’t wildly impressive for a modern-day hill climber, the power to weight ratio and torque delivery are absolutely stellar. Volkswagen even claimed the vehicle was faster than a Formula One car.

Whether or not that’s true, we’d love to see the race. But it doesn’t really matter — the electric VW still whistled up all 12.4 miles of the mountain faster than anything that preceded it. The I.D. R seemed to have the perfect recipe for race day. Its light weight is offset by loads of downforce produced by its flat structure and massive rear wing, its electric powertrain helps it maintain peak output in the thinning atmosphere, and its driver has won on the mountain numerous times in the past. Even more impressive is that the vehicle’s turnaround from conception to win took a scant 250 days.

“This is a fantastic day for Volkswagen and one, of which we are very proud. The I.D. R Pikes Peak is the most innovative and complex car ever developed by Volkswagen Motorsport,” said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Sven Smeets.

“Every employee involved in the Pikes Peak project has constantly had to push their boundaries and show extreme commitment and dedication. Without this, it would not have been possible to repeatedly overcome new challenges and come up with new solutions. It should actually be impossible to achieve all that and especially the all-time record in such a short time, but our team pulled it off thanks to their passion and commitment.”

[Images: Volkswagen]

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22 Comments on “Sweet Revenge: Volkswagen Takes World Record on Pikes Peak...”

  • avatar

    I for one welcome our new electric car overlords

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Lots of amazing stats there, and a cool-looking car, too.

  • avatar

    Quite an achievement when you consider that VW ICE cars struggle with anything steeper than a drumlin.

  • avatar

    I like most forms of racing/motorsports, but hiking up Pikes Peak is better than driving up in any vehicle.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m very glad that you had the experience of hiking up Pikes Peak with no otherwise ill effects. For many people who don’t seemingly have any health issues hiking at the 6,000 foot level, reaching even the top of the PP road level(14,115 foot altitude)in a car requires supplemental oxygen(readily available and offered at the summit), so imagine what it’s like for them as they hike closer to the summit. A car is a safer alternative, if you can bear using this road with no guardrails and shear drops evident everywhere on the route.

      • 0 avatar

        “if you can bear using this road with no guardrails and shear drops evident everywhere on the route.”

        Hah, that reminds me of a trip to Colorado some years ago and stumbling on Pikes Peak when I was thier with a friend and his daughter.

        We made it as far as we could go but they had the roads near the peak shit down due to the possibility of an avalanche (I assume since it looked to me the snow was developing the appearance of cresting wave up the side of the mountain).

        In any event I used to live down a narrow twisty two-lane road with deep ditches to each side and it wasn’t uncommon to meet a lumbering brodozers of the dualie variety or an RV on the way to the camp ground on that road so you got used to riding along the edge of the road in order to avoid being crunched up by some buffoon who either took tonnage rules to heart or simply should have been driving a vehicle so large.

        Here we are making our way back down the mountain and I’m having my Walter Mitty moment chatting away and clinging precipitously near the edge of the road doing about 10 over. The expression on my friend’s face when he got tired of staring over the edge of the road into oblivion was priceless and here I am cool as a cucumber just driving along completely enjoying myself!

  • avatar

    “Revenge” for getting caught cheating and being punished ? Huh ?

  • avatar

    If you have ever driven up Pike’s Peak, you know how impressive this feat really is. The road is quite narrow, and very dangerous if you are careless or inattentive. It would be very exciting to run up this mountain at any great speed. I congratulate VW, the team, and Dumas.

  • avatar

    Pike’s peak used to be way cooler when most of it wasn’t paved. I don’t think any of the times set after most of it was paved compare to the times set by Rod Millen on a half gravel road. Still an achievement. Electrics are perfectly suited for this because there’s no degredation in performance because of elevation changes.

    • 0 avatar

      I would like to see some of the old Audis and Toyotas run on it now that it is paved.

      The new records aren’t really all that old and it isn’t saying much that it beat the “all time” record.

      As a side note, there was a side show at the F1 race in Brazil when Group B was at its peak and the Audi Sport that ran the track would have qualified 8th on the grid for F1 that year.

  • avatar

    Well I know this will make me run out and buy one of VW’s many electric vehicles currently for sale here.

    So when exactly is that going to happen?

  • avatar

    But did they cheat by shortening the road when nobody was looking?

  • avatar

    Big deal, let me know when they race up El Capitan.

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