The Pikes Peak Hill Climb is a racing event that’s been going on since 1916 — a 12.42 mile run that climbs 4,720 feet, and serves as a proving ground for car makers to test the speed and agility of their new vehicles. Last October, Volkswagen announced that it was building an electric racecar called the ID R Pikes Peak that it hoped would set a new course record, and revealed the vehicle back in March. Today, the car, driven by Romain Dumas, did just that, blasting up the course at over 90 miles per hour in just under eight minutes.
Electric cars take well to the Pikes Peak race: they don’t have to deal with the problems high altitudes and thinner air that can stymie racecars powered by fossil fuels, making it an ideal testing ground. The first electric car to win was in 2015, when Honda won with an electric CR-Z, while beleaguered EV company Faraday Futures’ electric FF91 went up the route last year, although it didn’t break any records.
The official time for Volkswagen’s ID R Pikes Peak was 7:57.148, beating the prior EV record of 8:57.118 set by Rhys Millen in an e0 PP100 in 2016, as well as the overall record of 8:13.878 set in 2013 by Sébastien Loeb in a Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak.
Volkswagen hadn’t released many details about the vehicle, but did say that it was using a MEB powertrain, parts that would form the basis for future EVs in the company’s fleet, and the VW board member responsible for the car’s development, Dr. Frank Wlsch, said that lesson that they learn from this vehicle will be utilized in the company’s other offerings down the road.