Volkswagen made public their return to the iconic Pikes Peak Hill Climb racing by teasing an electric car in October last year. Now, the German automaker has previewed the race car this week via two computer-generated images, providing a glimpse at the prototype of a four-wheel-drive, electrically-powered contender developed by their motorsport division and is going to take on the Colorado course June 24. VW is planning to show off its electric powertrain tech via the I.D. R Pikes Peak race car by debuting at the 2018 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in June.
The Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak is meant to showcase contemporary, all-wheel-drive electric powertrains as well as the aerodynamic expertise of the German giant prior to the market launch of the I.D. lineup of battery-electric vehicles.
The 12.4-mile "Race to the Clouds” was started in 1916and is held in the Rocky Mountains near Colorado Springs, the route of which starts just above the 9,000-foot mark and ends up at the 14,115-foot summit. Volkswagen AG has some history at the Pikes Peak. In 1985, Audi won the race with its Quattro technology while having Michele Mouton behind the wheel of the Audi Sport Quattro S1, followed by the wins by Bobby Unser in 1986 and Walter Rohrl in 1987 with a twin-engined 652bhp Golf GTI. The current record of the “Race to the Clouds” for electric car is under the name of ace driver Rhys Millen since 2016 with a timing of 8min 57.118sec.
"Pikes Peak is without question the most iconic hillclimb in the world," stated Juergen Stackmann, VW brand sales chief, in a statement. "The I.D. R project represents a fantastic opportunity for Volkswagen to change the conversation about e-mobility, both emotionally and from a sporting perspective."
The automotive manufacturer will enter the “unlimited” class with the ID R where manufacturers and private teams have complete freedom with respect to technology. The digital images of the ID R Pikes Peak explain a very futuristic looking race car which appears ready for a takeoff. As per the requirements of the hill climb, the rear wing at the back is massive with a shark fin tail. The aerodynamic body shell has a contrasting black splitter up front to assist with the high speed cornering on the hill climb along with air vents to create the maximum down force possible. The headlights are like the other I.D. concepts.
VW brand development Chief Frank Welsch said in a statement, "We want to be at the forefront of electro mobility with Volkswagen and the I.D. family. Competing in the most famous hill climb in the world with the I.D. R Pikes Peak is a valuable test for the general development of electric cars."
While there has been no revelation of the technical details of the driveline; it is likely to be powered by two electric motors, one for each axle, providing it a four-wheel drive set-up. The motors will be getting their supplies from a large lithium-ion battery pack whose capacity is undisclosed.
VW has also stated that the new electric race car will be their first step in bringing the Volkswagen R and Volkswagen Motorsport (the performance and motorsport) divisions together. The ID R Pikes Peak will not just be Volkswagen’s avant-garde in plans of an electric future, but will also sneak the new-age electric cars, the first of which is rolling out from Volkswagen’s Zwickau factory in Germany by the end of next year.
Volkswagen plans to launch around 80 new full-electric vehicles across the 12-brand group, including Skoda, Audi, Porsche, and Seat by 2025 and come up with an electric version of each of its 300 group models by 2030. The company has said that it will be launching the sales of the first I.D. models, the I.D. compact hatchback and the I.D. Crozz n 2019.