A few months ago, Volkswagen unveiled its 671hp I.D. R prototype, with the intention of competing at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. Judgement day has arrived for the I.D. R, with Pikes Peak just around the corner.
While the final event will take place on Sunday, action is already underway; the Volkswagen has set the fastest time in qualifying. A lightning-quick run of 3:16.083 put the I.D. R more than 11sec clear of its closest competitor, Simone Faggioli in his Norma M20 SF PKP (a combustion-engined car). For comparison, Sebastian Loeb only managed a qualifying run of 3:26.728 during his record-breaking 2013 weekend; when he went on to set the outright record.
French Driver Romain Dumas was at the wheel of the I.D. R. If he maintains his current pace, Volkswagen looks set to smash the electric record at Pikes Peak – and perhaps even the outright record. Qualifying is run over the first 8.3km of the total 19.99km course length. If Dumas can keep up the same pace over the remaining section of track on Sunday, he will set a time of around 7:52.
Of course, this isn’t the most accurate method of predicting run times, since the course gets tighter and slower in its latter section; but the current electric record stands at 8:57.118, and the outright record is 8:13.878. It isn't hard to imagine the Volkswagen smashing both, especially since electric motors don’t lose power at higher altitude in the way that combustion engines do.
In terms of hardware, the I.D. R is equipped two electric motors putting out a total of 671hp and 673Nm of torque, in conjunction with a permanent four-wheel-drive system. Volkswagen says that the car weighs ‘less than 1,100kg’ with the driver, which gives it a power-to-weight ratio of 610hp/ton.
Its 0-100kph acceleration time of 2.25sec beggars belief; as do its dimensions. For reference, the 1,500hp Bugatti Chiron needs 2.5sec to get to 100kph. At 5,200mm in length, the I.D. R is about as long as a long-wheelbase Mercedes-Benz S Class and wider than the biggest Range Rover. Even more remarkable is the 20min charging time. Since the I.D. R only needs to manage one run up the course, the focus for the lithium-ion batteries was on outright power and charging time, rather than range.
If the event is red-flagged and a run needs to be restarted, there are only 20 minutes available to recharge the car, hence the charging time target. However, to prevent overheating and maintain thermal stability of the battery pack, Volkswagen has limited the charging rate to 90kW – which is high by conventional practises but is still a good deal lower than the 120kW seen on Tesla’s Supercharger system.
Dumas is no stranger to the course, having won at Pikes Peak three times, so far. The driver will be looking to add to that tally on Sunday – and from where things stand at the moment, it seems almost certain that he will.