Video of Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak – Record holder at the "Race to the clouds"
Do you remember back in 2013, when rally star Sébastien Loeb obliterated the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb record in his monster 650-ish-kilowatt Peugeot.
You do? Good. Because I want you to keep that epic run – the 8m13.878s blast that plenty thought might never be beaten – in mind as you read this next bit.
The Volkswagen I.D. R just shaved 16 seconds off that time, recording a genuinely unbelievable 7:57.148 to be crowned the fastest car to have ever conquered the Race to the Clouds in Colorado. Yep, 16 seconds.
The all-electric VW was piloted by Porsche factory driver Romain Dumas (he of Le Mans and Nurburgring glory, not to mention earlier Pikes Peak successes) who had the unenviable task of taming the 500kW on offer on a fog-filled and slippery run to the summit.
Despite the weather setbacks, Dumas maintained an average speed of 90.5mph (145.6kph) throughout the 19.99km climb.
Most incredibly, though, he reckons he could have gone faster.
“That was an unbelievable race. I have been trying to get under eight minutes for years. Now it has finally worked out,” he said.
“I found my rhythm fast and my first sector was nearly perfect. I had some fog in the second section and that made the turns very slippery. I didn’t want to take too many risks and lost a few seconds there.
“Thankfully, the sun came back out in the third sector and I was able to go on the attack again. After the last hairpin bend, I spoke to the car and said ‘come on, only 500 metres to go’.”
Despite the weather setbacks, Dumas maintained an average speed of 90.5mph (145.6kph) throughout the 19.99km climb. Impressive, given he was also negotiating some 156 corners.
VW’s ID. R is a purpose-built weapon, weighing in at less than 1100kg and with custom aerodynamics (including a monstrous rear wing so big you could land a fighter jet on it) designed to counteract the thinning air as Dumas neared the peak of the mountain, which is about 35 per cent thinner than at the start of the run.
It’s powered by Identical twin motors, one at each axle, providing a total 500kW and 650Nm – enough, VW says, to topple the sprint to 100km/h in 2.25seconds. The I.D R takes just 20 minutes to charge, and was entirely out of juice moments after crossing the finish line.
Another mountain expert, Rhys Millen (the very driver whose 2016 EV record VW had initially set out to beat), claimed a new record of his own in 2018. His time of 10m49.9s claimed the Fastest SUV title for the Bentley Bentayga.