Friday, May 25, 2018

Volkswagen builds a stunning new electric race car to tackle Pikes Peak International Hill Climb

Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak
Photo: Volkswagen U.S. Media Site
No, you haven't seen a Volkswagen like this before. And, yes—it's glorious. A stunning vehicle like this can do much to transform the image that comes into the mind of the skeptical car enthusiast on hearing the phrase "electric car." This one certainly isn't built for the stereotypical tree-hugging, latte-sipping environmentally-correct eco-car owner.

The vehicle, the I.D. R Pikes Peak, is Volkswagen's first fully electric race car, purpose-built to strike the optimal balance between performance and weight to tackle the best-known hill-climb event in all of motorsports: the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, set for June 24 in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Volkswagen's motorsport team, which designed the vehicle, hopes to break the electric vehicle class record—currently standing at 8:57.118 minutes—for the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. The current record was set in 2016 by driver Rhys Millen in the PP100, a vehicle built by Drive eO, a specialty engineering company based in Latvia.

On Pikes Peak, participating vehicles must overcome a difference in altitude of more than 4,700 feet on the way to the finish line at 14,115 above sea level. Romain Dumas, at the wheel of the I.D. R Pikes Peak, will also be faced with a series of hairpin turns, where a heavy car would be a disadvantage when braking and accelerating out of corners.

Volkswagen Motorsport engineers decided on the strategy to make the I.D. R Pikes Peak as light as possible, while still maintaining a very high level of performance.

“Before we actually assembled the I.D. R Pikes Peak, we used computers to analyse a multitude of different configurations,” said Willy Rampf, technical advisor to the project. “It was clear to us that we would not have time to build multiple test vehicles. We had to get it right at the first attempt.”

The vehicle, which boasts an output of 617 horsepower, is constructed with chassis and aerodynamic components made of an extremely light carbonfiber/Kevlar composite. It weighs in at 2,425 pounds, complete with driver.

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