We can only imagine how much time and money Volkswagen has poured into its ID R Pikes Peak program. But however much it was, it has paid off.
At this year’s Race to the Clouds, Romain Dumas piloted the I.D. R to a blistering time of 7 minutes, 57.148 seconds. That was not only a full minute faster than Rhys Millen’s electric prototype, but was enough to beat the 8:13.878 set by Sebastien Loeb in the Peugeot 208 T16 in 2013 that stood as the overall record for the past five years.
“The I.D. R Pikes Peak is the sporty forerunner of Volkswagen’s I.D. family. Today, we saw what this technology is capable of,” Volkswagen’s technical chief Dr. Frank Welsch. “Every Volkswagen employee can be extremely proud of today’s result. I congratulate the team from the bottom of my heart. With a combination of outstanding engineering skills, passion and commitment, the team has managed to create a fantastic racing car in just eight months. The Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak has now set the fastest time in the history of this hill climb, which spans more than 100 years – that speaks volumes for electric mobility.”
The victory puts another feather in Dumas’ cap, having previously charted the top times at Pikes Peak three times – but never taken the outright record. The French driver previously won the 24 Hours of Le Mans outright twice – once with Audi and again with Porsche – and the FIA World Endurance Championship with the latter in 2016. The multi-talented Dumas has also driven in the World Rally Championship and the Dakar rally with limited success.
“We exceeded even our own high expectations with that result,” said Dumas. “The I.D. R Pikes Peak is the most impressive car I have ever driven in competition. The electric drivetrain means that many things are different and I learned a lot during the project. The team did an indescribably meticulous, yet at the same time relaxed, job. Not only did we get the desired result, but the team spirit was also spot on. I am incredibly proud to have been a part of it.”
His steed looks closer to the Le Mans prototypes he’s driven to victory on so many occasions, but is powered entirely by electricity – with the equivalent of 680 metric horsepower (500 kW) in a package weighing less than 1,100 kilograms (2,425 pounds). Now in the history books, VW’s record represents a marked improvement over Loeb’s… and may take some time to beat, if it ever will be.