Motorsports

Volkswagen Makes History At Pikes Peak

BY Azfar Hashim

Volkswagen’s electric racing car sets a new overall record; Romain Dumas betters Sébastien Loeb’s record

19.99 kilometres, 156 corners, just one attempt, and a successful one. Romain Dumas claimed his fourth overall victory at the iconic Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, which has now been held 96 times since 1916. Driving Volkswagen’s 500 kW I.D. 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 , Michèle Mouton, Stig Blomqvist, Nobuhiro Tajima and also Rod Millen and his son Rhys.

Including its battery cells, the I.D. R Pikes Peak weighs less than 1,100 kilograms; this was complimented by as much downforce as possible, and maximum power, designed to achieve the best possible performance. 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: It needed less than 20 minutes to be fully charged. 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, 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.

“The I.D. R Pikes Peak is the sporty forerunner of Volkswagen’s I.D. family. Today, we saw what this technology is capable of,” said 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 today’s result. I congratulate the team from the bottom of my heart. With a combination of outstanding engineering skills, passion and commitment, the team has managed to create a fantastic racing car in just eight months. The Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak has now set the fastest time in the history of this hill climb, which spans more than 100 years – that speaks volumes for electric mobility.”

A mere 250 days passed between the announcement and the start of the Pikes Peak project on 18 October 2017 and the record-breaking run on Pikes Peak on 24 June 2018.