Volkswagen is now working on the development of an all-electric race car to compete at the 2018 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb set to take place on June 28th in Colorado, the company has revealed.
Considering that Volkswagen hasn’t fielded a participant in the Pikes Peak race in over 30 years, and that the new race car will be fully electric, the news is fairly notable — despite otherwise seeming to be one in a seemingly endless line of Volkswagen PR announcements in recent times (following the negative PR of the diesel emissions testing cheating scandal).
Volkswagen is reportedly aiming to set a new record for all-electric cars during the event — which finishes some 14,000 feet above sea level, as a reminder.
Volkswagen provides more:
“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,” explains Dr Frank Welsch, Member of the Board responsible for Development. “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.”
The vehicle is being developed by Volkswagen Motorsport in close cooperation with Technical Development in Wolfsburg. “The race on Pikes Peak is a new beginning for us. We are developing an all-electric race vehicle for the first time,” explains Sven Smeets, Volkswagen Motorsport Director. “The project is also an important milestone in our new motorsport orientation. Our team is literally electrified about taking on this incredible challenge.” Volkswagen Motorsport last participated in the Pikes Peak mountain race in 1987 with a spectacular twin-engined Golf which barely missed finishing. “It is high time for a rematch,” continues Smeets.
The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb – which insiders also call the ‘Race to the clouds’ – has been run since 1916 in the Rocky Mountains near Colorado Springs. The race course is 19.99 kilometres long, and it climbs 1,440 metres to the summit at 4,300 metres above sea level. The current record in the class of electric prototypes is 8 minutes 57.118 seconds, which was set by New Zealander driver Rhys Millen (e0 PP100) in 2016.
As some background here, the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is a 12.4-mile race that’s taken place in the Rocky Mountains near Colorado Springs since 1916. It involves a rapid climb of over 4,700 feet leading to a finish line located at more than 14,000 feet above sea level.