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.