Volkswagen Golf was given the duties to roar and win in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains at the Pikes Peak, an annual race, considered to be one of the most difficult hill climbs in the world. Since 1985, Volkswagen raced with the Golf relentlessly for three years but never managed to come first. In 1987, it came close to winning in 1987 but certainly, the company wasn’t happy with that. The company now takes the electric way to make a comeback this year at The Race to the Clouds (Pikes Peak) but now with the Volkswagen Golf.
The German automaker will return to the hill climbing competition after 31 years and is has built a Batmobile look-alike electric race car that will settle an old score at ‘The Race to the Clouds’. Volkswagen I.D R concept has been designed and developed by the company for this mission and was recently unveiled in France. Unlike Volkswagen’s other I.D concepts cars that have been unveiled at various auto shows, Volkswagen I.D R will soon be seen driven around and will mark a new era for Volkswagen in motorsport. The company has not revealed too many technical details, but I.D R weights less than weighing less than 1,100 kg and has a max power of 680 hp and 650 Nm of torque. It is powered by lithium-ion battery packs with two electric motors and claims 0-100 in less than 3 seconds making it quicker than a Formula 1 car. Volkswagen hopes to beat the existing electric car record of 8.57 minutes at the ‘The Race to the Clouds’. The Pikes Peak hill climb is scheduled on 24th June in Colorado Springs, USA.
“Volkswagen’s goal is to reach the pinnacle of electromobility with the I.D. family. As such, Volkswagen’s involvement on Pikes Peak not only sets the trend for our future in motorsport but is also of great symbolic significance in the truest sense,” said Volkswagen Member of the Board of Management with responsibility for Development, Dr. Frank Welsch.
“Customers have always benefitted from the findings made in motorsport, and we expect to take these findings and use them as a valuable impetus for the development of future I.D. models. The hill climb on Pikes Peak will definitely be a real acid test for the electric drive.”
The new Batmobile look-alike developed by Volkswagen is low, wide and very aggressive. Extensive use of carbon fibre will see the car racing at the 20 kmph, 156 turn course at pikes peak. Porsche’s decades of track experience has helped Volkswagen to get the aerodynamics of the car right. The car, however, shares no parts with other models.
The Pikes Peak hill climb starts at 9,390 feet above sea level and ends at 14,410 feet. Going electric will help the company as the lack of oxygen hurts combustion engines’ performance. An electric car runs anywhere regardless of air. However, electric cars come with its own sets of problems.
A report of digital trends quotes Volkswagen Motorsport boss Sven Smeets saying, “Weight is the biggest enemy. In an electric car, the battery is the heaviest part so we have to find the best compromise in terms of battery weight, capacity, and maximum power. That was the biggest challenge for our team.”
The top goal when developing the Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak was to find the ideal balance between energy capacity and weight. The focus was not, as is usually the case with racing cars, on maximum performance. Volkswagen’s prototype for Pikes Peak justifiably bears two quality seals in its name. The “R”, which is synonymous with performance cars. And the “I.D. – the symbol of Volkswagen’s smart E-technology.
It is one of the peculiar challenges on Pikes Peak: Testing on the 19.99-kilometre route of the hill climb in Colorado Springs is only very limited, and only possible on certain sections. For this reason, the bulk of the testing is not done on the actual route, but at racetracks. Volkswagen’s Pikes Peak programme enters the next phase with the unveiling of the car in Alès, France.
The company has also roped in defending Pikes Peak champion, Romain Dumas to take the wheel of the Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak for the attempt to break the existing record for electric cars. The 39-year-old Frenchman loves this kind of challenge: As well as three victories on Pikes Peak, he has also won the 24 Hours of Le Mans twice.
Volkswagen I.D R will fly to the United States next month and will begin to prepare at Pikes Peak. Being a public road, the team won’t have access to the full course, it will still seek to make the most of its time there. On June 24, after 31 years a Volkswagen Car (the silent one) will hunt down the finishing line as fast as it can without disturbing the sleeping mountain lions.
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