By on July 30, 2020

With the historic Pikes Peak International Hill Climb delayed — but miraculously uncancelled — this year, Acura has decided to showboat its updated TLX sedan. While the Type S everyone wants to see take a whack at the course will sit out the competition to serve as the event’s pace car, two gently modified sedans from the 2021 model year will be on hand to dazzle prospective customers.

They may even perk up a few disenfranchised Acura enthusiasts who’ve strayed from the brand.

The prototype TLX Type S comes with the much discussed 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 (355 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque) while the more pedestrian racers come with modified 2.0-liter inline-four engine. Those units would have made 272 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque unmolested, but Acura has assured us they aren’t factory spec anymore  giving them an air of mystery, albeit slight.

(Read More…)

By on January 21, 2019

Volkswagen is currently on a quest to prove electrification is the true path forward for automobiles. However, it’s not doing this by releasing production plug-ins with robust battery ranges. Instead, it’s taking its electric racer to the Nordschleife this summer after achieving total victory at the Pikes Peak Hill Climb last June.

The automaker wants to showcase the might of electric vehicles before it begins releasing them en mass from 2020 onwards. It’s even calling its ID R racer “the sporty ambassador” for an upcoming range of planned EVs.

“After the record on Pikes Peak, the fastest time for electric cars on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife is the next big challenge for the ID R,” said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Sven Smeets. “A lap record on the Nordschleife is a great accolade for any car, whether a race car or a production car.” (Read More…)

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.  (Read More…)

By on June 20, 2018

Volkswagen went to Pikes Peak this week for the explicit purpose of exacting revenge on the mountain, and it looks as if it may soon achieve it. The company’s I.D. R racer just set the fastest qualifying time. At 3:16.083 minutes, the electric behemoth managed to best every other vehicle qualifying on the 5-mile track track.

In fact, three-time Pikes Peak winner and Porsche factory driver Romain Dumas was 11.049 seconds quicker than the next fastest driver — Simone Faggioli in his internal-combustion Norma M20 SF PKP.

That bodes well for VW, as we already know Norma can build a good car; Dumas used an M20 to win the hill climb in 2014 and 2016. Volkswagen already has the right driver so, assuming the car doesn’t go off pace near the top of the mountain, it’s totally possible the world record could end up going to an electric vehicle.  (Read More…)

By on March 19, 2018

Electric vehicles have been a sore spot for many motorsport enthusiasts — odd, considering they offer massive performance gains via gobs of instant torque. There’s just something about EVs that keeps them from gaining mass appeal. That said, Formula E is gaining some traction and automakers continue developing high-end electrics in the hopes of turning a profit and paving the way for mainstream models.

Volkswagen Group, which has promised to shift deep into electrification in the coming years, really needs to make these cars appealing. Its I.D. product line for the VW brand has spawned numerous concept vehicles with an emphasis on building positive associations. The Buzz is the most obvious example. Essentially the battery-electric reincarnation of the Microbus, the Buzz aims to help customers see EVs as friendly and fun, while tacking on some nostalgia for good measure.

However, the Buzz doesn’t offer heart-pounding excitement or mind-warping performance, so VW had to build a battery-powered racer. Announced last year, teaser images of the model showed a full-tilt insane vehicle outfitted in hill-climb gear. Volkswagen claims the model will enter into the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb for 2018 to take revenge on behalf of a Mk. II Golf from 1987. (Read More…)

By on January 4, 2016

1987 Peugeot 205 GTi

As I wrapped up 2015 last week, I was reminded of my lust for French cars. My look at an inexplicably imported Citroen was the most popular piece I wrote last year, so it’s quite likely there are a few more of you masochists out there.

I also love me some hot hatches. The French know what they are doing with these cars, too, though most would think of the R5 Turbo or perhaps the 205 T16 rally replica rather than a proper front-engine, front drive commuter.

As we’ve reached another arbitrary point in our laps around the sun, we can look at importing a new batch of otherwise-unavailable cars under the 25-year rule.

(Read More…)

By on July 1, 2015

All-around fast driver and New Zealander Rhys Millen had roughly 20 miles of experience behind the wheel of his Latvian-made eO electric race car before Sunday’s race.

That apparently didn’t matter as he piloted the first electric car to an overall win at the 93rd running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on Sunday.

(Read More…)

By on June 26, 2015

Honda HPD ARX-04b Circa Spa 6Hr 2015

Honda’s HPD ARX-04b LMP2 prototype set to climb Pikes Peak this weekend has withdrawn from the annual event.

(Read More…)

By on June 19, 2015

Honda HPD ARX-04b

Having taken on Daytona and Sebring, Honda will bring its HPD ARX-04b LMP2 prototype to Pikes Peak for the 2015 edition of the historic hill climb.

(Read More…)

By on July 3, 2013

63 - 2013 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSince I became a Coloradan a few years back, I’ve joined all the other car freaks in the Mountain Time Zone for the annual pilgrimage to the 30th-tallest mountain in the state for the big race. I shared my photos from the year Monster Tajima broke the 10-minute barrier, and from from the year the course became all-asphalt, and now I’ve got some shots from last weekend’s event. (Read More…)

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