The annual Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, also known as the Race to the Clouds, is a demanding race has become something of a showplace for electric racing – several EV startups have distinguished themselves there, including Lightning Motorcycles, Rimac and Faraday Future.
Last October, Volkswagen announced that it was developing an electric race car for the next Hill Climb, which will take place in June 2018. The company has named its electric four-wheel-drive prototype racing car the I.D. R Pikes Peak, highlighting its upcoming I.D. family of EVs. The first model of the I.D. family is scheduled to go into production at the end of 2019, the first of more than 20 pure EVs that VW plans to offer by 2025.
“We want to be at the forefront of electromobility with Volkswagen and the I.D. family,” says Volkswagen Board Member Dr. Frank Welsch. “Competing in the most famous hill climb in the world with the I.D. R Pikes Peak is a valuable test for the general development of electric cars.”
“Pikes Peak is without question the most iconic hill climb in the world,” said Board Member Jürgen Stackmann. “The I.D. R project represents a fantastic opportunity for Volkswagen to change the conversation about e-mobility, both emotionally and from a sporting perspective.”
The I.D. R represents VW’s return to Pikes Peak after a long absence – the German automaker last competed on the hill in 1987 with a dual-engine Golf, which narrowly missed a podium finish. The record in the electric prototype class currently stands at 8:57 minutes, set in 2016 by New Zealand’s Rhys Millen.
“It is about time we settled the score,” says Volkswagen Motorsport Director Sven Smeets. “The I.D. R Pikes Peak represents an extremely exciting challenge for us, to show what is possible in motorsport with an electric drivetrain. The entire team behind our driver Romain Dumas is highly motivated to set a new record for electric cars.”