The Electric Volkswagen I.D. R Is the Fastest Car to Ever Climb Pikes Peak

Beating Sébastien Loeb’s record by 16 seconds with a time of 7:57.148, Romain Dumas becomes king of the mountain with his electric Volkswagen.

Volkswagen

The first, rather conservative objective was to beat the electric car record set by Rhys Millen in his Latvian-built Drive eO PP03 back in 2015. Mostly because Volkswagen's motorsport crew just couldn't be sure that their freshly developed I.D. R would be fast enough to take home the overall record, which was previously set in 2013 by Sebastian Loeb and his insane 875-horsepower Peugeot.

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This story, originally published 6/25/2018, was updated on 7/20/2018 with complete video of the record run.

Well, with an average speed of over 90.5mph, Romain Dumas was 16 seconds faster than Loeb up Pikes Peak, scoring his fourth trophy and setting the fastest run ever recorded at the hill climb, 7:57.148. We're nearly certain this all time-record will trigger an EV prototype revolution for the coming seasons at the world's most famous hillclimb event.

Volkswagen

The forerunner of Volkswagen's electric lineup, the I.D. R is all about balance. With 680 horsepower and a weight of just under 2425 lbs., it's not the most powerful Pikes Peak special, nor the lightest. But Volkswagen knew that the torque delivery of the electric motors and the mechanical grip provided by all-wheel drive and purpose-built Michelin tires would give a huge advantage. Aerodynamics played a major part, too, considering how thin the air becomes as a car climbs the 12.42-mile course. The solution is a flat-bottom streamlined chassis with a huge rear wing, shaped by data gathered from Porsche's LMP1 program.

Pikes Peak. The 96th International Hillclimb since 1916. Now fully paved, it's still 156 corners and just one attempt, in a car that VW built from scratch in just 250 days. Luckily, Romain Dumas already knew his way around above the clouds.

Volkswagen
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Charged in just 20 minutes using glycerol-fueled generators, the I.D. R sounded like an ambulance climbing Pikes Peak.

The team even ran into some snow once the checkered flag dropped, but really, what's Pikes Peak without a mild June blizzard?

A huge congratulations to Volkswagen's team lead by Sven Smeets, and four-time Pikes Peak Champion Romain Dumas, who had this to say about his first electric racing experience:

Awesome! 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. 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. The electric drivetrain means that many things are different and I learned a lot during the project. The team did an indescribably meticulous, yet at the same time relaxed, job. Not only did we get the desired result, but the team spirit was also spot on. I am incredibly proud to have been a part of it.

Now, Volkswagen Motorsport is on its way to the Bonneville Salt Flats, albeit with a gasoline-burning car sporting a huge turbo. For those who don't opt for rockets, of course.

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