Volkswagen has won the Pikes Peak Hill Climb competition and shattered the previous record for fastest Hill Climb.
Romain Dumas broke Colorado’s Pike Peak Hill Climb record in an electric hypercar, proving that gas is on its way out at the peak of performance. VW’s I.D. R racecar is an electric hypercar that doesn’t need air for combustion and can thus maintain incredible performance the higher up it goes.
In case you’re not aware, Pikes Peak is a world-famous international race near Colorado Springs that puts drivers in a time attack from 9,000 feet to just over 14,000 feet above sea level. The race has multiple classes for drivers to compete in, from stock cars all the way to the Unlimited class that sees all kinds of insane contraptions.
For this year’s Unlimited class, Volkswagen brought their I.D. R Pikes Peak concept electric racer. The car was purpose-built from the ground up to race at high altitudes and only go uphill. Consequently, it was made to be as light as possible so it wasn’t hauling a heavy load up 5,000 feet.
At 2,425 lbs, the I.D. R is one of the lightest electric cars ever built and is even lighter than some conventional racers. It’s powered by two electric motors— one each for the front and rear axles— that combined produce 680 hp and 479 lb-ft torque.
Zero to sixty is done in just 2.25 seconds, which helps a lot on the winding road up the Pikes Peak mountain course.
It also helps to not need air for peak engine performance. As the air gets thinner, less oxygen gets into the combustion chamber, and conventional engines start to make less power. Electric cars don’t have that problem as electric motors just need energy, which stays the same no matter the altitude.
Thanks to these technological breakthroughs, Dumas was able to set a Pikes Peak record of 7:57.148, beating the next closest opponent by nearly a full 40 seconds. The previous record was set in 2013 by Sebastien Loeb in a customized Peugeot at 8:13.878.
VW has thrown down the gauntlet, and we’ll have to wait until next year to see who will pick it up.