Electric Volkswagen ID.R blitzes the Goodwood hill climb (updated)

Goodwood has backtracked: the Friday and Saturday times are not "unofficial", as previously reported

This article was updated at 2pm on July 9, 2019 following a clarification from Goodwood

VOLKSWAGEN’S pure-electric ID.R prototype racing car lit up the timing screens for a second year running at the 2019 Goodwood Festival of Speed, recording the fastest time ever up the famous hill climb course.

During the Friday practice session, the 670bhp Pikes Peak and Nürburgring record-breaking machine, piloted by multiple Le Mans winner Romain Dumas, zipped up the course in 41.18 seconds — four tenths of a second faster than the official Goodwood hill climb record time of 41.6 seconds, set in 1999 by Nick Heidfeld in a McLaren MP4/13 Formula 1 car.

In Saturday’s Qualifying session, Dumas went even faster, recording an incredible run of 39.9 seconds — the first time in the Goodwood Festival of Speed’s 26-year history that a car completed the hill climb course in under 40 seconds.

That led to claims that the 20-year-old record had been smashed, not least from Goodwood and VW.

Electric Volkswagen ID.R blitzes the Goodwood Festival of Speed — but the hill climb record still stands

But hold your electric horses… the time set in the Sunday Shootout is the only one that has ever really counted at the Festival of Speed*. So what happened in the crucial run yesterday?

Sunday morning brought much cooler conditions and rain, so it was always going to be tricky to beat the times set in the blistering heat of the previous days’ running. On a damp-but-drying track, Dumas did manage the fastest time of the session but failed to match 41.6sec. His time when it mattered was 42.32sec.

Which means Heidfeld’s 20-year record still stands, surely?

To clear things up, Driving.co.uk contacted Goodwood’s press office for a definitive answer: had Dumas broken the record or not? This is what we were told:

“The ID.R broke the record – unofficially. The 39.90s run was not in the Sunday Shootout and so, just as a Qualifying lap is usually faster than the Fastest Lap in a race, it doesn’t count.”

So there we have it: the Goodwood hill climb record is still officially 41.6 seconds, set by Nick Heidfeld in 1999.

CORRECTION, July 9, 2019: Volkswagen contacted Driving.co.uk claiming that Goodwood should not have told us the ID.R broke the record “unofficially”, and that although the company didn’t set the fastest time in the Sunday Shootout, the timed sessions on Friday and Saturday should still count as valid record runs on the Goodwood Hill.

Goodwood has since been in touch to confirm this. It said:

“…the time of 41.1s set by Romain Dumas in the Volkswagen ID.R in the timed session on Friday, July 5 was the outright fastest ever seen on the Hill in 27 editions of the Festival of Speed presented by Mastercard. This time was subsequently broken a day later, on Saturday, July 6, when Dumas powered the Volkswagen ID.R up the Hill in 39.9s.

“Volkswagen has therefore set the all-time outright fastest time ever seen at Goodwood. However, due to the less favourable weather conditions seen on Sunday 7th July, Nick Heidfeld’s time of 41.6s set in 1999 with the McLaren-Mercedes MP4/13 remains the fastest ever set in the Sunday Shootout.

“Volkswagen dominated this year’s Festival of Speed, setting the fastest time in every official session and can rightfully claim to have produced the fastest car ever seen at Goodwood.

Driving.co.uk is happy to make this clarification.

But don’t worry, VW fans, the ID.R certainly made its mark. And even on drying asphalt, its 2019 time is enough to make it the overall runner-up in the all-time Goodwood hill climb course rankings.

It was also a full 4.51 seconds ahead of 2019 Shootout runner-up Petter Solberg, in his Volkswagen Polo rallycross car.

More impressively still, it was more than a second quicker than the run Dumas completed in the Volkswagen ID.R at last year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed; even more extraordinary is the fact that the 2018 time of 43.86 seconds was set on a bone dry track.

That means there’s a very good chance the ID.R could break the record in 2020, assuming the weather is in its favour and VW chooses to have another crack. We certainly hope to see it there next year – record or not, it’s a truly astonishing thing to behold.

While the 2019 Goodwood Festival of Speed’s Sunday Shootout was dominated by Dumas in his pure-electric prototype Volkswagen, there were plenty more timed runs to get excited about. Behind Petter Solberg’s second-placed Polo WRX was his 17-year old son Oliver Solberg, who completed the podium with a time of 49.39 seconds in another rallycross car, the Citroën DS3 WRX.

Other spectacular timed hill climb runs during the Sunday Shootout included Julian Mazjub’s mighty performance in a 92-year old Bugatti Type 35B grand prix car. At 64.25 seconds, the veteran racer was quicker up the hill than far more modern machinery, such as a Ferrari 250 GT short wheelbase, an Aston Martin DB4 GT and even an ex-Michael Schumacher Benetton B192 Formula One car.

Another highlight was the super-slidey run by Jeremy Smith in the extremely powerful, 1993 Indy 500-winning Penske PC22 single-seater.

Despite the tricky conditions and the calibre of some of the cars competing, only two cars failed to complete their runs. Todd Gililand’s Toyota Camry EuroNASCAR came to a stop only a short distance from the finish line due to a suspected transmission failure, and the shootout session was briefly brought to a halt after the 1976 Italian Grand Prix-winning March 761 Formula 1 car driven by Katsuaki Kubota struck the straw bale barriers on the track’s penultimate turn.

* This is not the case, according to Goodwood’s clarification

The top 10 times from the 2019 Goodwood Festival of Speed’s Sunday Shootout

Rank Driver Car Time
1 Romain Dumas Volkswagen ID.R 42.32sec
2 Petter Solberg Volkswagen Polo WRX 47.83sec
3 Oliver Solberg Citroën DS3 WRX 49.39sec
4 James Cottingham Dallara SP1 49.55sec
5 Jeremy Smith Penske-Chevrolet PC22 50.31sec
6 Joerg Weidinger BMW E36 V8 Judd 50.65sec
7 Dan Harper Porsche GT3 Cup 50.89sec
8 Nick Heidfeld Mahindra M6Electro 51.99sec
9 Tony Quinn Ford Focus Pikes Peak 52.4sec
10 Emanuele Pirro Chevrolet Monte Carlo 55.17sec


Top 5 fastest ever Goodwood Festival of Speed hillclimb times

The best new cars at the 2019 Goodwood Festival of Speed