Wild electric Ford SuperVan 4.2 is ready to tackle Pikes Peak with 1,400bhp

Logical next step for 'fastest vehicle on the M25'

The Pikes Peak International Hillclimb is one of the oldest races in the United States — second only to the Indianapolis 500 — and each year it plays host to a number of wild creations that are designed to maximise performance on the twisting Colorado mountain course. This year, Ford is entering its pure-electric, four-wheel-drive SuperVan 4, a carbon-fibre racing machine that’s very loosely based on the latest Transit Custom.

The SuperVan 4 first debuted at the 2022 Goodwood Festival of Speed, but since then Ford has developed the machine’s electric drivetrain and its aerodynamics to boost its performance even further. In fact, the model is now called the SuperVan 4.2 to signify the extent of the upgrades it has been given.

Up to 1,400bhp from tri-motor powertrain

Ford SuperVan 4.2 to tackle Pikes Peak

Ford has joined forces with Stard, an Austrian motorsport company founded by rally driver Manfred Stohl, for the SuperVan’s development. Stard has expertise in developing electric powertrains and has provided the SuperVan with three high-power, six-phase electric motors (down from four in the original SuperVan 4), while lithium-polymer pouch battery cells packed with nickel, manganese and cobalt for high energy density are fitted.

This set-up is designed to offer an optimal power-to-weight ratio, while the single front motor and twin rear motors are said to pack a combined punch of more than 1,400bhp. In addition, the energy recovery system has the capability to charge up the batteries at up to 600kW – nearly twice as fast as the quickest public chargers.

On the outside, as well as gaining a new livery, the SuperVan 4.2 features a new aerodynamic package that is designed specifically for Pikes Peak. A new carbon-fibre front splitter and vast rear wing maximise downforce in the thin air at the top of the hillclimb course, and Ford claims that the package can create up to 2,000kg of downforce when the SuperVan 4.2 is travelling at 150mph.

No room for pallets on board

Ford SuperVan 4.2 to tackle Pikes Peak

As well as the aero tweaks, Ford has shaved weight from the chassis to improve the racer’s agility on the twisting course. There are carbon-ceramic brake discs, magnesium-forged wheels, Pirelli P Zero racing tyres, upgraded driveshafts, a Perspex windscreen and a stripped back competition interior that removes any weight that is not required for the SuperVan to compete in the Open class at the event.

Speaking at the SuperVan 4.2’s reveal, Mark Rushbrook, Global Director, Ford Performance Motorsports said: “Together with our Stard partners, we have built the E-Transit SuperVan 4.2 to be a truly competitive machine focused on getting to the top of the mountain quickly. The Pikes Peak Hill Climb presents the perfect opportunity to showcase Ford’s electric vehicle technology and bring light to EV performance.”

Ford has confirmed that Romain Dumas will take the wheel of the SuperVan for his eighth appearance at Pikes Peak. The Frenchman is the current course record holder, setting a time of 7 minutes 57.148 seconds in 2018 in another electric model, the Volkswagen ID.R.

The Transit will have competition

Ford isn’t the only manufacturer taking part at Pikes Peak this year. Alpine will field a one-off 500bhp version of its A110 coupé in the Open class, driven by Raphael Astier. Elsewhere, British firm Radford raises the ante with a 700bhp version of its Type 62-2 homage to the Lotus Type 62 sports car, which is competing in the Exhibition class with US driver Tanner Foust at the wheel.

The Pikes Peak International Hillclimb, known as The Race to the Clouds, sees competitors compete in a rally-style time trial from the bottom to the top of Pikes Peak in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. The course is 12.42 miles long and comprises more than 156 turns as it climbs more than 1,440 metres to the summit, which is 4,302 metres above sea level.

Radford Type 62-2 Pikes Peak Edition

The original event was designed to promote tourism in the area, and the first winner in 1916 took nearly 21 minutes to complete the course. Originally a dirt road, the course has been all-asphalt since 2012, which has seen course records plummet. Dumas’s sub-eight-minute record set in 2018 eclipsed a record set in 2013 by rally legend Sebastien Loeb in a one-off Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak.

The 101st running of the Pikes Peak hillclimb takes place on June 25.

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