How Volkswagen Designed its 2018 Pikes Peak Car

Volkswagen's I.D. R has to create downforce, but it also has to remind you of the production VWs you can buy today.


In 1987, Volkswagen's twin-engined Pikes Peak effort came to a halt after a suspension ball joint failure. Not that it affected much: The factory wanted the race car to resemble production Golfs more than it desired outright victory, so the stock-looking twin-engine racer never had enough downforce to beat Audi's big-winged Quattro up the mountain.

Today, the Volkswagen I.D. R is a more serious Pikes Peak proposition, but that doesn't mean it wasn't shaped to remind you of Volkswagen's upcoming electric lineup. And that's where the design team comes in, to make sure there's a return on the investment.

Volkswagen had no more than eight months to create the I.D. R, and development will continue until race day on June 24th. But while the car uses Porsche's aero experience gained through the 919 LMP1 program, Volkswagen's exterior wizards did everything to end up with a memorable prototype without compromising the airflow. And since VW's engineering team seems to be happy with the cooling and the downforce levels, all they need now is a livery. An electrifying one.

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