On Wednesday, the cars and drivers that would take on Sunday’s challenge of climbing the Pikes Peak were on scene for the first official pre-race runs.
Volkswagen’s I. D. R Pikes Peak is probably this year’s most talked about and interesting entry. The electric racer that would be driven by Le Mans winner and current Porsche factory driver Romain Dumas plans to shatter the 8:57.188 time set in 2016 for electric cars by Rhys Millen.
And the prospects look excellent. On Wednesday’s qualifying run, the I.D. R and Dumas managed to clock 3:16.083 minutes, a full 11.049 seconds faster than runner-up Simone Faggioli and his combustion engined Norma M20 SF PKP.
For the record, the three minutes time was achieved on the first section of the road course, from the start to the 8.3-kilometer mark. That’s the span of road the hill climb’s organizers take into account when determining the starting order for the race.
The time achieved by the electric Volkswagen means the I.D. R would be the first to try and tackle the Pikes Peak challenge. It would start its run following the 24 registered motorcycles that would race up the hill this year and would lead a procession of 62 cars in six different classes.
“That was a very good day for us,” said Dumas in a statement following his run.
“The I.D. R Pikes Peak is incredible. I have never experienced acceleration and power like that in a racing car. I am noticing how the car and I are becoming more and more of a unit with every kilometer.”
The I.D. R is powered by two electric motors that give it a troop of 680 horsepower and torque rated at 650 Nm. That’s enough to boost the machine from naught to sixty-two faster than Formula 1 and Formula E cars, in only 2.25 seconds.
The Pikes Peak Hill Climb is the most famous annual event of its kind. It takes cars up from 4,720 ft (1,440 m) at the start at Mile 7 on Pikes Peak Highway, to the finish at 14,110 ft (4,300 m). The road is made up of over 156 turns spread over a 12.42 miles (20 km) distance.