Sure making news is great, but ever tried making history? Well, we did. Volkswagen’s all electric, battery powered car, the I.D. R, not only conquered Pikes Peak in 2018, but also smashed the all-time record by 16 seconds.
Also known as The Race to the Clouds, Pikes Peak is the second oldest race in the US and is one of the most iconic races held annually. With a track measure of 12.42 miles and with over 156 turns, the race is a 4,720 ft climb. It is indeed a track to conquer.
The first Pikes Peak International Hill Climb took place in 1916. Here’s a quick recap of the history of this wild chase up to the 4,300-metre-high summit.
The man behind Pikes Peak
Spencer Penrose, an entrepreneur, financed the construction of the Pikes Peak race track and organized the first Pikes Peak hill climb in 1916.
1926: the Yellow Devil
Spencer Penrose’s Yellow Devil was one of the most popular pre-war Pikes Peak racing vehicles.
1928: Glen Shultz dominated the hill climb
Glen Shultz won the Pikes Peak Hill Climb eight times. He was known as the man who dominated the winding tracks in the 1920s.
1965: Al Unser in an Indy Car
Al Unser won the Pikes Peak in 1965 in an Indy car.
1972: Volkswagen’s win
Roger Mears not only tackled, but also won the international hill climb in a Volkswagen.
Pikes Peak today
The International Hill Climb still continues to be one of the most challenging tracks even today. After the track was tarmacked in 2011, the Race to the Clouds has only gotten faster (while the risk has been reduced).
Volkswagen I.D. series is a family of all-electric, battery powered, concept cars. Volkswagen I.D. R, an all electric race car was designed as a part of Volkswagen’s I.D. project. It was specifically designed for competing in motorsports events.
Volkswagen has been a friendly face at the Pikes Peak. Volkswagen’s legendary twin engine golf had conquered the Pikes Peak in 1985,1986 and 1987. Its successor, the I.D. R not only took on the Pikes Peak Hill Climb but also emerged victorious in 2018. Creating history, the I.D R was the first all-electric racing car to win the International Hill Climb. Completing the race in just 7 minutes 57 seconds, the I.D. R not only beat the previous electric record but also smashed Pikes Peak’s all-time record by 16 seconds.
The I.D. R Pikes Peak took on the challenge with a system performance of 500 kW (680 hp), distributed across an electric engine on the front axle and another one on the rear axle. The low oxygen concentration at high altitudes means that combustion engines lose about 30 percent of their performance when starting at 2,862 metres rather than at sea level. With every kilometre you drive toward the finish line, the effect of the thin air intensifies. In contrast, electric engines work efficiently continuously.