VW to electrify at Pikes Peak

Carla Harmon
October 20, 2017

"Our team is literally electrified about taking on this incredible challenge".

VW has announced that it has a new electric racing vehicle that will be running the 2018 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.

The current overall record is held by Sebastian Loeb, who reached the top in an 875 hp Peugeot in just 8 mins 13.878 secs, while the electric auto mark was set a year ago at 8 min 57.118 secs in a purpose-built racer designed by Latvian bespoke EV firm Drive EO. Now VW is getting ready "for a rematch".

The new electric race vehicle is a first for Volkswagen Motorsport, aiming to highlight its prowess as an EV manufacturer. It's a famously unforgiving race, as cars climb a 156-turn, 12.42 mile-long (20km) track which also spans almost a vertical mile (4,720ft/1,440m) and averages a 7.2% vertical grade. One of the enduring challenges of the race has been its high altitude. Unlike internal combustion engines, EVs don't suffer any drop in power as they climb from 4,750 feet (1,440m) up to the finish above the tree line at 14,100 feet (4,300m).

Autocar points out there are no intakes or grilles visible on the auto, suggesting it could be electrically powered. In 2015 the overall victor, beating the times of even combustion engine cars, was driver Rhys Millen in a specially designed electric race auto from Latvian company Drive eO. The best EV motorcycle time is within just a few seconds of the fastest gas motorcycle time ever, and the electric vehicle lap record is faster than any other auto category except the "unlimited" prototype category (in which the record is held by legendary rally driver Sebastian Loeb driving the 1,929lb/875kg, 875hp Peugeot 208 T16 Pike's Peak). Next year, Volkswagen will enter the Modified Electric division of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, fielding a auto specially built for the task.

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