IT HAD already conquered Pikes Peak in America, the hillclimb course at Goodwood Festival of Speed and the Nürburgring Nordschleife, and now the amazing Volkswagen ID.R also has the record for the fastest ascent of the Tianmen Mountain road in China.
Driver Roman Dumas, who piloted the 670bhp, 1,100kg pure-electric hillclimb special to its previous records, managed the run to the 1,518.6m (4,982ft) summit of ‘Heaven’s Gate’ (the English translation of Tianmen) in 7min 38.585sec last month.
There was no previous official record along the 6.776-mile, 99-turn road, mind you, so it has been very difficult to assess just how quick that run was… until the onboard video was released today.
The mind-blowing footage shows the car blasting from hairpin to hairpin along the rutted mountain road, with the suspension hitting its bump stops on several occasions. Dumas is inches away from a sheer drop during the feat, with the ID.R’s incredible acceleration at times making it look like the video has been speeded up.
After scaling the mountain, Dumas said: “I will certainly remember this record run on Tianmen Mountain forever as my most spectacular outing.
“The little information and testing we had beforehand made it a huge challenge. The road is incredibly narrow and winding, but the drive was unbelievable fun with the electric power of the ID.R. The huge torque was a big advantage on the short straights, while the aerodynamics provided additional traction in the fast sections.”
One other advantage that electric cars have on hillclimbs is that, as the altitude increases there is no loss of power; those powered by internal combustion engines lose thrust the higher they climb, as the air gets thinner and it takes more air to burn the same amount of fuel in the cylinders.
In July, Dumas zipped up the Goodwood course in the ID.R in 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, and smashing the previous long-standing record time of 41.6 seconds, set in 1999 by Nick Heidfeld in a McLaren MP4/13 Formula 1 car.
The previous month, Dumas had taken the ID.R to a new record at the Nürburgring Nordschleife, completing the circuit in 6min 05.336sec, averaging 128.8mph around its hugely challenging 12.9-mile length. That wasn’t the all-time lap record, which belongs to the Porsche 919 Evo hybrid Le Mans car with a time of 5min 19.55sec, but was enough to smash the Nio EP9 hypercar’s electric record of 2017 by a full 40 seconds.
And the electric VW was used to shatter the Pikes Peak course record in June 2018, scaling the 12.42-mile course in 7min 57.148sec, surpassing nine-times World Rally Champion Sébastien Loeb’s 2013 time (in the 863bhp, 3.2-litre twin-turbo Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak special) of 8min 13.878sec.
The question now is what challenges remain for Roman Dumas and the Volkswagen ID.R? And what challenges would you like to see them take on? Let us know in the comments below.