Volkswagen has shattered the record at the daunting Pikes Peak hillclimb by a full 16 seconds – with an electric car!
Driving the 500 kW ID R Pikes Peak, Romain Dumas defeated a field including cars with conventional drivetrain technology. In doing so, he not only broke the previous record for electric vehicles, but also bettered Sébastien Loeb’s all-time record from 2013 – by a full 16 seconds.
Dumas’ new record of 7m 57,148s minutes is now top of the list of Pikes Peak champions, which includes such acclaimed drivers as Loeb, Walter Röhrl (D), Michèle Mouton (F), Stig Blomqvist (S), Nobuhiro Tajima (J) and also Rod Millen and his son Rhys (both NZ).
“The ID R Pikes Peak is the sporty forerunner of Volkswagen’s ID family,” says Dr Frank Welsch, Member of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand with responsibility for ‘Technical Development’.
“Every Volkswagen employee can be extremely proud of the result. I congratulate the team from the bottom of my heart.”
Romain Dumas claimed his fourth overall victory at the iconic Pikes Peak International Hill Climb – 19,99 kilometres, 156 corners and which has been held 96 times since 1916.
With the ID R Pikes Peak, Volkswagen created a racing car specifically tailored to the demands of the most famous of hill climbs: a combination of minimum weight, as much downforce as possible and maximum power, designed to achieve the best possible performance.
Including its battery cells, the ID R Pikes Peak weighs less than 1 100 kilograms. When evaluating performance, Volkswagen employed simulation software to calculate exactly how to achieve the optimum in energy demand and performance for the record attempt on Pikes Peak. In the matter of aerodynamics, the key was to compensate for the loss of downforce caused by the thin air on Pikes Peak.
Volkswagen also struck out in a new direction when it came to charging technology – the goal being to charge the car as quickly as possible with minimum environmental impact. The time was defined by the regulations: In case of the race being suspended, it must be possible to completely charge the car in under 20 minutes.
The electricity required was provided by generators at the foot of Pikes Peak. Glycerol, which in chemical terms is a sugar alcohol, was selected as the fuel. A by-product of the manufacture of biodiesel, for example, Glycerol combusts with virtually no harmful exhaust fumes or residues. Glycerol itself is non-toxic and is even permitted as an additive in the food and cosmetics industries.
Romain Dumas said after the run: “Awesome! We exceeded even our own high expectations with that result. Since the tests, we have known 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 ID R Pikes Peak is the most impressive car I have ever driven in competition.”