It's not the in-car footage we've been wanting, but we'll take it.
By now you’ve no doubt heard that Volkswagen Group had a quite the time at this year’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. A freaking near-stock Bentely Bentayga driven by Pikes Peak veteran Rhys Millen smashed the SUV record by nearly two minutes, turning in a time of 10:49.9. The luxo-cruiser’s front seats were swapped out for racing units so Millen couldn’t get a massage en-route to the top, but the awesome in-car footage shows the big SUV packs a serious performance punch.
Now, VW has released footage of its other record-breaking run – the one heard around the world from the company’s purpose-built I.D. R EV that not only took the electric car record, but smashed the overall record set by Sebastian Loeb back in 2013. We’d love to say this is a mind-blowing in-car perspective because let’s face it – blitzing up a 12.4-mile mountainside road with 156 corners and 4,700 feet of elevation change in less than eight minutes would make for amazing footage. For reasons we can’t really explain, the only thing VW seems to have is this helicopter footage that, if we’re honest, is rather boring.
We do see the run from start to finish, but with an abundance of trees at lower altitude we’re treated to nice shots of the mountain but very little racing action for the first few minutes. It also doesn’t help that the car’s electric whine has been edited into the video, which admittedly could be a matter of taste on our part. There’s no denying the power and performance of electric cars, but the sound isn’t quite as dramatic as, say, a screaming five-cylinder overboosted Audi. Paired with point-blank in-car footage the electric whistle could be exciting. From a helicopter, well, it just isn’t.
Yes, we’re nitpicking. This is an extraordinary accomplishment for VW, especially considering the project began less than a year ago. The I.D. R’s twin electric motors produce 650 horsepower and turn all four wheels, and clearly the car has the ability to use every ounce of that power. Major credit also goes to driver Romain Dumas for corralling all that power for the record run, especially since he mentioned damp sections of the course in a post-race interview. In fact, Dumas believes he could've gone even faster with better conditions.
Should there be another attempt next year, we hope VW at least mounts up a couple in-car cameras to capture the thrill of this incredible feat.