When Volkswagen set out building their I.D. R Pikes Peak racer, they had one goal, to break the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb record. Over this last weekend, they did exactly that, racing all the way up 14,115 feet on the 19.99 km track in a jaw-dropping 7:57.148. The previous overall record of 8:13.878 was set in 2013 by Sébastien Loeb in a Peugeot 208 T16. To put that it in perspective, when Sebastien Loeb took the record he took it by a couple of seconds but the ID R cleared his record by 16 seconds. The last time, Volkswagen raced Pikes Peak was in 1987, in a unique Group B Golf rally car with one engine powering the front wheels and another powering the rear. Unfortunately the Golf was not destined to make it to the line as a suspension ball-joint failed just a quarter mile from the finish, ending their run with driver Jochi Kleint unable to take the chequered flag.
This time Volkswagen was taking no chances. The Volkswagen ID R was built to make 680 horsepower from its electric motors that had 650 Nm of instantaneous torque on tap. Underneath is a 43-kWh battery that feeds juice to the all-wheel-drive monster and with an electric motor on each axle the I.D R can propel itself to 100 kmph in 2.25 seconds. All of which, including, Romain Dumas, was designed not to tip the scales higher than 1212 kgs.
However according to Volkswagen Race engineers the most important part of the I.D R is that massive almost video game looking rear wing, which was designed to use the rarified lighter air atop the mountain for downforce. In motion, the “park-bench” sized wing creates downforce equalling the weight of the car. However, that’s not the only advantage the ID-R as it has massive amounts of torque right from the start and perhaps even more importantly the ID-R loses no power in the rarified air. A combination of these makes electric cars well suited to Rally and hill-climbs.
For Volkswagen, the I.D R is a great brand ambassador for their upcoming all-electric range of cars under the I.D brand name, which made taking home the record all that much more important.