While the attention of the motor racing community is focused on the 24 Hours of Le Mans this weekend, Volkswagen has been preparing to tackle another event. And this is the car with which it’ll do it, now presented in its final race livery.
It’s the VW I.D. R Pikes Peak challenger, an racing prototype similar in form to a Le Mans prototype (like the 919 Hybrid that sister-brand Porsche fielded at Le Mans until this year). But this one is all-electric, packing two electric motors to give it a combined output of 680 horsepower (500 kW) – not quite as much as a Tesla Model S P100D (779 hp/581 kW) but in a much lighter package, and with far more extreme aerodynamics.
Presented until now in a bare carbon fiber, Volkswagen has now revealed the I.D. R in its final race livery. Like some of the other I.D. concepts we’ve seen to date, it’s decked out in light grey. And it bears the race number 94 – the numeric equivalent of the letters I.D. (based on where they fall in the alphabet). Altogether it looks pretty slick, to our eyes anyway.
Muscling the electric racing prototype up the 20-kilometer (12.5-mile) Race to the Clouds will be none other than Romain Dumas, the French driver who took overall victory at Le Mans twice: once with Audi, and another with Porsche. He’s driving for the latter at Le Mans this weekend, and once he’s done, he’ll set out for Colorado almost immediately to prepare for the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.
To win, Dumas will have to beat the time of 8:57.118 set by Rhys Millen in another electric prototype two years ago – and the 8:13.878 set by Sebastien Loeb in the Peugeot 208 T16 three years prior, which still stands as the overall record. We’ll be watching to see how he does.