The Volkswagen ID R Pikes Peak
Volkswagen ID R Pikes Peak
The machine, which has been designed solely for the 12.42-mile, 156-turn Colorado hill climb, features two electric motors that combine to offer 470lb ft of torque and permanent four-wheel drive. The ID R Pikes Peak weighs "less than" 1100kg, including driver Romain Dumas, with VW claiming a 0-62mph time of 2.25sec and a top speed of 149mph.
The one-off racer is 5200mm long, 2350mm wide and 1200mm high, with a wheelbase of 2850mm. It features double wishbone suspension. The chassis is built around the safety monocoque from a Norma sports prototype that Dumas has used to win Pikes Peak for the past three years, with VW developing a closed-cockpit sports prototype-style design. The lithium-ion batteries are mounted on the floor of the car, with a large rear wing and other aerodynamic parts designed to ensure maximum grip despite the high altitudes.
VW is gearing up to launch the ID range of electric road cars starting in 2019. Development boss Frank Welsch described the Pikes Peak event as a “real acid test” for VW’s electric programme.
“Customers have always benefited 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 ID models,” said Welsch.
VW says the focus of the ID R Pikes Peak is not on outright performance but on balancing energy capacity and weight.
The machine is powered by lithium-ion batteries developed in collaboration with VW’s battery plant in Braunschweig, Germany, although the focus is on ensuring the highest possible power output for the run-up to the Colorado mountain rather than outright range. VW says that around 20% of the energy used by the ID R Pikes Peak will be created using energy recovery during braking on the course. A fast charging system will allow the batteries to be charged in around 30 minutes.
The ID R Pikes Peak has been developed by VW's motorsport division. Sven Smeets, the firm's motorsport chief, hinted that it could be the first of several electric vehicle projects: “As with the Volkswagen brand’s production vehicles, fully electric racing cars will also play an increasingly important role for us in the future.”
The ID R Pikes Peak was launched at the Pôle Mécanique circuit in Ales, France, shortly before starting a test programme there. Because the Pikes Peak course is a public road, participants are unable to test there ahead of the event; even in official practice, they only get to run on short sections. The ID R Pikes Peak will run in the top Unlimited Division, which only stipulates that cars meet certain safety requirements.
VW is targeting the record for an EV at Pikes Peak of 8min 57.118sec by Rhys Millen in a Drive eO PP100 in 2016. That car featured six electric motors and offered peak power of 1596bhp.
The outright Pikes Peak course record of 8min 13.878sec was set by Sébastien Loeb in the Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak in 2013.
The Pikes Peak event, which takes place on 24 June, is regarded as one of the toughest hill climbs in the world. As well as the 156 turns on its 12.42-mile route, competitors must also cope with the elevation: the start line is 9390ft above sea level and rises 4720ft to the finish at a height of 14,110ft. The course gradient averages 7.2%.
VW previously competed at Pikes Peak between 1985 and 1987, with Jochi Kleint running a twin-engined Golf. That car had turbocharged 1.8-litre engines driving each axle, giving a peak output of 652hp. Kleint was the fastest driver to the halfway point in 1987, but retired with a suspension joint failure less than a mile from the finish.