Currently reading: Volkswagen ID R targets F1 car lap record
Record-breaking electric racer confirmed for Goodwood return and Sonoma challenge in 2020; VW working on next-generation model

Volkswagen has committed to a return to this year's Goodwood Festival of Speed with the ID R hillclimb machine in a bid to improve its outright course record – and is also aiming to beat the Mercedes F1 team’s lap record at Sonoma Raceway in California. 

The 671bhp electric racer has set course records at Pikes Peak, the Nurburgring, Goodwood and Tianmen mountain in China, and Volkswagen Motorsport boss Sven Smeets says a second-generation version is currently in development, based on the information gathered by the project so far.

Before that car arrives, VW has committed to a number of outings with the current machine, including a return to the Festival of Speed. “We took the overall record last year, but we set the time on Saturday and the Duke of Richmond said to us ‘it would be nice if you came back and did it in the Sunday shootout’,” said Smeets.

The other major project will be a trip to the Sonoma Speed Festival at the Californian circuit on 28-31 May. That event gives Volkswagen the chance to promote its electric technology in the vital California market - and the chance to eclipse the Mercedes F1 team’s unofficial lap record at the 2.385-mile track. Mexican driver Esteban Gutierrez set a time of 1min 15.430secs in a 2016-spec Mercedes F1 W07 Hybrid during last year’s Speed Festival.

“California is the right place to go with an electric car,” said Smeets. “We want to set the record – and a Mercedes F1 car is a tough target to beat. Going to Somona with the target of beating a record set by an F1 car shows that we’re on the edge of technology.”

The ID R will also make a non-competitive appearance at the Rodeo Drive Concours d’Elegance in June, and the team is finalising details to tackle another event.



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James Attwood

James Attwood, digital editor
Title: Acting magazine editor

James is Autocar's acting magazine editor. Having served in that role since June 2023, he is in charge of the day-to-day running of the world's oldest car magazine, and regularly interviews some of the biggest names in the industry to secure news and features, such as his world exclusive look into production of Volkswagen currywurst. Really.

Before first joining Autocar in 2017, James spent more than a decade in motorsport journalist, working on Autosport,, F1 Racing and Motorsport News, covering everything from club rallying to top-level international events. He also spent 18 months running Move Electric, Haymarket's e-mobility title, where he developed knowledge of the e-bike and e-scooter markets. 

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Ad99 1 February 2020

How many laps can it do?

An F1 car could rack up 80-90 laps at Sonoma with only a tyre stop or two. How many laps can an ID R do?

While I applaud VW for having a go, but is is fair to compare a car designed without a rule book that can only do short distances with one designed against a strict rule book that has to make its engine lasst 6 races?


LP in Brighton 2 February 2020

It’s not fair, agreed

But it’s a pretty good publicity stunt. I think by now though the message has got through to most people that EVs can be fast accelerating. So manufacturers really need to start addressing some of the things they are not very good at, like for example cost, weight, range, recharging time and infrastructure. Making them go ever faster isn’t what is holding them back.
Peter Cavellini 1 February 2020

Best car.

 Yes, I'd like to see VW do it.