WOLFSBURG, Germany – Volkswagen partially reveals the all-wheel-drive electric-powered prototype being developed by its motorsport division to take on the 2018 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in June.
Christened the I.D. R Pikes Peak, the dedicated hill-climb racer has been conceived to display the capabilities of modern electric-drive systems, acting as a high-tech spearhead for a range of new electric-powered I.D. road cars due to begin production at VW’s Zwickau, Germany, factory from the end of 2019.
A series of computer-generated images show the electric coupe takes on the appearance of a modern Le Mans prototype with an aerodynamic package that includes a front splitter, a center fin extending over the rear bodywork that appears to help support the car’s rear wing and a multichannel diffuser element.
The release of the images follows VW’s initial confirmation it had begun developing a new car for the Pikes Peak race in October.
“We want to be at the forefront of electromobility with the I.D. family,” VW R&D chief Frank Welsch says. “Competing in the most famous hill climb 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.”
Welsch, who also is responsible for the development of the upcoming range of VW I.D. electric models, says the I.D. R Pikes Peak is equipped with innovative drive and battery technology.
Although VW doesn’t disclose technical details of the I.D. R Pikes Peak’s driveline, it is expected to use two electric motors – one for each axle in an all-wheel-drive setup mirroring that being developed for production versions of the automaker’s I.D. Crozz, I.D. Buzz and I.D. Vizzion concept cars.
Electricity used to drive the motors will come from a large lithium-ion battery that insiders suggest will use contemporary cell technology similar to that planned for VW’s all-electric road cars.
VW suggests the I.D. R Pikes Peak represents the “first step in an intensification of the cooperation between Volkswagen R and Volkswagen Motorsport” in a move that could see future electric-powered I.D. models receive sporting “R” treatment.
The driver of VW’s entry in the 2018 Pikes Peak International will be Le Mans winner Roman Dumas, who won the race in 2014, 2016 and 2017.
The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, also known as the Race to the Clouds, runs over a 12.4-mile (19.99-km), 156-turn route near Colorado Springs, CO. Competitors climb 4,720 ft. (1,440 m) from the starting line at 9,390 ft. (2,862 m) to the finish line at 14,110 ft. (4,300 m).
The current electric-car prototype-class record of 8 minutes, 57.1 seconds was set by Rhys Millen in a Toyota-sponsored EV in 2016.
Volkswagen last entered the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in 1987 with a dual-engine Golf producing 652 hp.