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VW races for the clouds with I.D. R hillclimb special. Image by Volkswagen.

VW races for the clouds with I.D. R hillclimb special
Volkswagen wants to smash the Pikes Peak electric car record.
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What's this then?

This is the Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak.

Hang on, I.D. means it's electric, right?

That's right. It's the fifth in the series of VW's I.D. electric car concept family (following on from the I.D. hatch, I.D. Buzz microbus, I.D. Crozz crossover and I.D. Vizzion executive saloon), only this one is intended for the toughest hillclimb in the world, not the motor show stage.

Well, there's a pretty steep hill outside my mum's house...

Not like this, we bet. This is the Pikes Peak hillclimb in Colorado, home of the legendary Race To The Clouds, where motorsport legends such as Mario Andretti, Ari Vatanen, and Sebastian Loeb have previously come out to play with their monster machines. The current Pikes Peak record for an electric car is held by New Zealander Rhys Millen, who took his e0 PP100 prototype machine to the Peak in 2016 in just 8 minutes 57 seconds. To put that into context, Sebastian Loeb, in his Peugeot 208 T16, took 8 minutes 15 seconds to cover the same 19.9km long, 4,300-metre high course in 2013.

Former Audi Le Mans driver and 24hrs winner Romain Dumas will be the man to hurl the I.D. up the Pikes' twisty and dangerous course, and we reckon VW is out for the overall record, not just the electric car one.

"We want to be at the forefront of electromobility with Volkswagen and the I.D. family," explained Volkswagen Member of the Board of Management with responsibility for Development, Dr Frank Welsch. "Competing in the most famous hillclimb in the world with the I.D. R Pikes Peak not only has symbolic meaning, but is also a valuable test for the general development of electric cars."

Jurgen Stackmann, Member of the Board of Management with responsibility for Sales, Marketing and After Sales, added: "Pikes Peak is without question the most iconic hillclimb in the world. For Volkswagen, it represents a fantastic opportunity to charge the topic of E mobility, both emotionally and from a sporting perspective, thanks to the I.D. R project."

Has VW been to Pikes Peak before?

Yup, way back in 1987 with a mental twin-engined, 652hp Golf Mk2. That car failed, but you can sense the hunger for a return game in the VW air. "It is about time we settled the score," said Volkswagen Motorsport Director, Sven Smeets. "The I.D. R Pikes Peak represents an extremely exciting challenge for us, to show what is possible with an electric motor in motorsport. The entire team behind Romain is highly motivated to set a new record for electric cars."

Neil Briscoe - 19 Mar 2018

Earlier articles featuring 2018 Volkswagen I.D.

2018-03-05: Volkswagen unveils fourth ID model, the Vizzion

2018 Volkswagen IDR Pikes Peak. Image by Volkswagen.       - Volkswagen road tests
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