VW confirms all-electric racer for Pikes Peak

Volkswagen has announced that it is to return to the Pikes Peak Hillclimb in 2018, teasing a specially designed electric rally car.

The teaser shots hint at a sleek silhouette, with the customary huge front and rear wings that Pikes Peak cars need to transfer huge levels of power to the mountain course.

Importantly though, VW has confirmed that the model will be all-electric and the prototype will be used to aid development of EV powertrain elements.

VW's goal is to set a new record up the fearsome hill climb course, with competitors crossing the finish line at 4,300 metres above sea level. Returning more than 30 years after it's last entry, VW will hope to do better than its last entry in 1987, after a twin-engined Golf MkII suffered suspension failure 400 meters and three corners short of the finish line, after completing more than 12 miles and 153 bends.

Back then, the entire course was run on gravel roads that remain open to the public for the rest of the year, but gradually the route has been tarmaced over completely. The more stable surface though does little remove the constant danger of dropping over a sheer drop should the driver make a mistake over the run.

The current electric record for the hill climb is 8 minutes 57.118 seconds for the 19.99km course that climbs 1,440 meters to the summit of the Pikes Peak mountain. That was set in 2016, though is still a way off multiple World Rally Champion Sebastian Loeb's 8:13.878 set in 2013 in a special Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak.

Dr Frank Welsch, Member of the Board responsible for development, said: "The Pikes Peak hill climb is one of the world's most renowned car races. It poses an enormous challenge and is therefore excellently suited to proving the capabilities of upcoming technologies.

"Our electric race car will be equipped with innovative battery and drive technology. The extreme stress test on Pikes Peak will give us important findings that will benefit future development, and it will showcase our products and their technologies."

Sven Smeets, Volkswagen Motorsport Director, said: "The race on Pikes Peak is a new beginning for us. We are developing an all-electric race vehicle for the first time.

"The project is also an important milestone in our new motorsport orientation. Our team is literally electrified about taking on this incredible challenge. It is high time for a rematch."

Find out more about electric cars here

Chris Lilly

Author:Chris Lilly
Date Updated:19th Oct 2017

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