Named the ID R Pikes Peak, Volkswagen Motorsport's single-seater all-wheel-drive notchback will pitch for the battery-powered prototype record for the June 24 timed 20-kilometre, 2100-metre climb to 4300m. To claim the record, Volkswagen will need to steer the prototype through the 156 curves to snare a time that’s better than the 8:57.118 set in 2016 by New Zealand's Rhys Millen in a seven-motor, 1190kW e0 PP100 open-top supercar.
“The four-wheel-drive sports car combines its ambassadorial role for the future, electric ID family with the sportiest range of Volkswagen products, the R GmbH models,” Volkswagen Motorsport said in a statement announcing its tilt at the electric title. “At the same time, it is also the first step towards an intensification of the cooperation between Volkswagen R and Volkswagen Motorsport.”
That’s good news then; Volkswagen and its motorsport division will work together on future battery-fuelled ID models that will eventually wear the coveted R badge.
The return to the Race to the Clouds is a bittersweet moment for the German premium car brand. It last campaigned the more than a century-old annual event in 1987, running a dual 1.8-litre four-cylinder-engined 485kW Golf driven by Jochi Kleint. That vehicle used a mechanical throttle system that could allow Kleint to choose between rear-, front- and all-wheel drive. It was quick, too; it could dispatch the 0-100km/h benchmark in 3.4 seconds.
Despite its potential, the dual-engined Golf never made a time. It had clocked the fastest pace by the halfway point on its timed run, a ball joint failure caused the dual-donked Golf’s front suspension to collapse just three turns and a kilometre from the finish line, and Kleint had to button off.
The rest, as they say, is history.
"It is about time we settled the score," Volkswagen Motorsport director Sven Smeets said. "The ID R Pikes Peak represents an extremely exciting challenge for us, to show what is possible with an electric engine in motorsport. The entire team behind our driver Romain Dumas is highly motivated to set a new record for electric cars."