In-Depth Look Into How VW I.D. R Set Pikes Peak Record


VW I.D. R electric racer is the quickest car ever to climb Pikes Peak

The Volkswagen I.D. R electric race car may be the quickest thing to ever climb Pikes Peak, but the 14,115ft Colorado mountain isn’t easily conquered. It takes a lot of driving skill and advanced engineering & design to topple some of the world’s most notorious racers from this grueling mountain climb challenge. Driven by Romain Dumas, the electric machine sprints up the hill, disappearing from view with a futuristic whoosh of electric motors faster than you can wrap your head around it.

Then, 7min 57.148 seconds later, the car has traversed the 156-turn Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, breaking Sébastien Loeb’s 8min 13.878sec outright record with authority. The fastest vehicle to ever do the run. And even Dumas was impressed.

“This is a significant moment not just for Pikes Peak, but for all motorsport,” says Dumas.

But, what is behind all the record-breaking speed?

Volkswagen, in their effort to rid themselves of all the drama surrounding their dieselgate situation, made sure that their upcoming all-electric vehicles have a hero to represent them. And what better way to do it, than a Pikes Peak monster. Used not only for testing electric powertrain components but also, to shine a light on their newly found love for electric vehicles, it made perfect sense for the German car maker. Hence, they’ve employed Volkswagen Motorsport – their racing division – to create a racer worth of this legendary Hillclimb event.

We’ve seen several up and coming EV car makers do Pikes Peak. Rimac was there a few years back, after all. But up until now, none of the legacy car makers dared to tackle one of the most prestigious racing events in the world with an electric car. And that meant some impressive engineering and behind the scenes work.

Thanks to AutoCar, we have a chance to visit a thorough showcase of the VW’s I.D. R electric race car. Giving us insight into the first training runs, all the way through Volkswagen Motorsport’s vision for the I.D. R, the report ends up as one of the most impressive pieces of reading material anyone with a love for hill climb will truly cherish. Grab a few minutes and give how Volkswagen broke the Pikes Peak hill-climb all-time record a good read It’s well worth it.

Categories: Racing, Volkswagen

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12 Comments on "In-Depth Look Into How VW I.D. R Set Pikes Peak Record"

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Congrats, again, VW!! I really want the “how”, though, and less about the story. Was it 43KWh? Can they give up anything about the A123 (?) lithium battery? Temps? Other specs. Tire challenges? I know aerodynamics played huge, but how dealing with extreme power density went is something I’m sure many would love to read.

Folks are speculating the high power dense batteries, in etron, Taycan, etc., aren’t big range getters (per KWh). Track folks may love the punch, but it would be interesting to know the extent ID R battery choices carry over to these cars?

Step 1: They didn’t waste a bunch of power by losing it to a ton of heat and noise like an ICE motor. All those sound waves and all those heat waves coming from ICE motors represent lost torque at the wheels.

Lots of motorheads love the mean sound of loud exhaust because they associate loud noise with fast cars. If they only knew how much energy goes into all that noise and heat that is robbed from the motor putting power to the wheels…..

Another Euro point of view

Agreed with the heat but it takes little energy to make lots of noise. Actually THE biggest energy consumption in a race car is the down forces needed to keep the car on the track in a curve. This explains why the Nio EP9 (which is barely slower than this VW ID race car) needs 6’45” on the Nurburgring while the hybrid Porsche 919 only needs 5’20”. More than a minute difference on such a race track is like a century. For the NIO EP9 to clock a similar time it would need a huge battery to have enough energy due to huge drag generated by the down forces required by the much faster cornering speeds needed to achieve a 5’20” time. Huge battery means weight means for down force needed in curves. In summary, with present technology EVs are better ICE in very specific tracks (short or high altitude for ex.). And don’t tell me that NIO is a street legal car as opposed to the 919. It was strictly built to smash records on racing tracks.

NIO, like Rimac, is a small company that can’t easily afford to pull the strings for “production” status. Almost like a major auto-maker that can’t strand all the capital it has in combustion engines, and labor, to go reduce margins and make far better battery-powered street cars.

Besides, NIO EP9 still beats GT2 Turbo, for best ‘Ring lap. It’s only ~5 seconds Porsche needs, but until then….

Aventador SVJ beats NIO EP9 though.

Sorry to disappoint you, but let show me a few examples where louder is actually more efficient:
1.) Straight cut gears vs Helical gears.
Most street legal cars are build with helical gears that barely generate noise, to not annoy drivers with constant whining (Yes even electric cars use helical and not straight cut gears). What does it sound like? Take an older car and put it in reverse and drive a bit faster and you will hear a transmission whine.

2.) Plane turbines. The most efficient arrangement is the “ductless fan” turbine. The main powered fan is not inside but on the outside of the actual turbine -> ductless. This project was cancelled because this configuration was insanely loud on the inside and outside.

No, I’m pretty sure most enthusiasts know that our engines have a thermal efficiency of around 20 to 30%. We tend to have a good grasp of the physics involved in internal combustion.

It’s okay to admit that you don’t really get why people like old cars. It’s not okay to try to suggest that they are ignorant or uneducated. Most enthusiasts I know not only have a good understanding of EV’s but appreciate their benefits and understand their place within the automotive landscape. If you don’t understand the appeal or why an EV will never be as exciting as an ICE despite all of the nice efficiency numbers and 0-60 figures in the brochure, that’s not their problem, it’s yours.

Uh, is it just me, or does the daily highlight email that sends these headlines out need some attention? i.e., the summary paragraphs are so tiny as to be useless.

And while you’re at it (i.e., replying), are commenters supposed to receive email notification if someone replies to their comment (as is the case with Disqus or even FB)? I never do, and I can’t believe that others keep going back and checking. (I also never get an answer to this question.)

I don’t get email notifications.

(assuming you come back) InsideEvs is a little “old school”, but still more private than Disqus, Facebook or Twitter. Hanah Skeptic, or whoever she was, found out the hard way.

I didn’t realize Disqus allowed a ‘keep posts private’ option, until last week actually. I don’t know how long that’s been, but it wasn’t always this way. It used to be virtually anyone could see every post you ever made, anywhere . With a little better privacy, I tend to agree IEV readers may be more willing to risk a platform like Disqus.

If suggestion box is open, mandatory longer user names (to punk impersonators), post counts and time-joined may also help the sudden increase in snow. I can see dropping avatars, for space, but that was one more thing making impersonation difficult.

The “old school” is why I’m here. I never participate in discussions on sites that use Disqus. I don’t want some shady company to create profiles of my interests and habits just for the “privilege” of being allowed to comment.

I think it’s funny how super cars are now starting to sound just like the RC cars we had as kids!