Sweet Revenge: Volkswagen Takes World Record on Pikes Peak

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
sweet revenge volkswagen takes world record on pikes peak

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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  • SCE to AUX I like the concept, but $6k just gets you started. I'd have to outsource the bodywork, which is a real problem on a project like this.Still, the result would be a fun vehicle that reflects what many people want today - a small unbloated utility truck.
  • TheDoctorIsOut Try and keep it as light and focused as it always has been and as analog as possible. For those who can appreciate it (and fit into it) there’s still something special about a car that can be driven at 90% of its potential for most of the daily drive.
  • SCE to AUX Let it die with dignity - no electrification. That would kill the spirit of the original.Mazda needs to think about survival and market share, not tinker with a niche car with waning sales, or dying on Wankel Hill.Maybe their body and paint engineers could help Tesla once Mazda folds.
  • Lou_BC H-E-L-L-C-A-T
  • EBFlex "EBFlex speaks more truth."It's sometimes a burden being right all the time.
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