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 July 17, 2018

In case you thought the Volkswagen I.D. R’s impressive victory at Pikes Peak was a fluke, it managed another one over the weekend at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. On Saturday, Romain Dumas crawled inside the cockpit of the I.D. R and motored it up the hill in a blistering 43.05 seconds — setting a new record for electric vehicles.

The previous record for an EV was set in 2013 by Jonny Cocker, who drove the Lola-Drayson B12 69/EV across the line in an already savage 47.34. If you’re wondering what the all-time course best is, it’s 41.6 seconds — Nick Heidfeld drove a McLaren MP4/13 up the hill back when Goodwood still allowed Formula One cars to participate in the event. Compared to Pikes Peak, Goodwood is an exceptionally short and relatively simple course. But that’s like saying the sun is bright when you compare it to a desk lamp. It’s also unimportant.

The point is they are both stretches of road that allow cars to compete on an even playing field, and the I.D. R once again proved that electric vehicles have placed a target on the back of gas-powered performance.  (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…)

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