With just less than a week to the 2018 Pikes Peak hill climb, Volkswagen has revealed the final look for its entry, the all-electric ID R. The black paint the car wore during testing has been replaced by a light grey – a very conservative colour for a race car. The car now sports its race number, too (94); chosen because it represents the letters I and D, the ninth and fourth numbers of the alphabet.
VW has made its goals for Pikes Peak clear – it wants to beat the current electric course record of 8min 57.118sec set by Rhys Millen in his eO PP100 racer in 2016. Electric cars do very well on the high-elevation hill climb as power and performance doesn’t diminish at altitude like an internal combustion engine does. As a result, we’re sure VW will be secretly hoping that the ID R might beat Sébastien Loeb’s 8min 13.878sec time he set in a Peugeot 208 T16 in 2013.
Some 671bhp, 479lb ft of torque and a sub-1100kg weight are the startling stats posted by the VW ID R, which is said to be capable of sprinting from 0 to 100kph in 2.25sec. Such performance figures will give the ID R’s driver, two-times Le Mans winner Romain Dumas, a good chance of beating one, if not both the records.
The car certainly looks dramatic as it fires up the mountain, the LMP1-like form quite unlike most other cars we’ve seen competing in recent years. For Dumas, the silence and lack of gear changes is also novel, but in the video he praises the car’s rocket-like acceleration out of corners.
Our first opportunity to lay eyes on the VW ID R in the metal served up few surprises. By and large, the aesthetic previewed by previous renderings of the car has been carried over, but the ID R now looks race-ready, clad in its grey livery.
Colour scheme aside, the biggest differences between the computer-generated images of the car and the finished version are a collection of aero elements. New winglets, supported on stanchions, have been added to the front splitter, which itself no longer wraps up around the front apron.
More aero-honing has delivered the louvred arches and the air inlets located behind the curved windscreen, which will reduce lift and increase cooling capacity respectively. The rear wing is mounted differently from the one on the initial images, too.
Despite its LMP1-like shape, the ID R features many of the design cues seen in other ID products, such as the full-width lighting and sloping C-pillar. These design elements will start being seen on the roads at the end of 2019, when VW’s first ID electric car reaches production.
But VW’s effort at Pikes Peak hill climb is also for a slightly more philosophical reason, as this will not be the first time VW has entered the event with a factory-supported race car. In 1987, the company contested a 652bhp twin-engined Golf, which narrowly missed out on an overall win. Of the new attempt, VW motorsport director Sven Smeets said ‘It is about time we settled the score’, rationalising the amount of effort that the firm has put into this exercise.
The bad press generated by dieselgate prompted VW to drop nearly all forms of motorsport to pursue a new, cleaner electric car agenda. As that agenda comes closer to fruition, the ID badge should gain a worthy bit of kudos if Volkswagen does indeed succeed in breaking through that dusty ceiling.
This article originally appeared at evo.co.uk
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