Volkswagen's purpose-built is getting ready to tackle one of the hardest hill climb events ever conceived, and initial tests are looking quite promising.
VW just completed its first batch of tests at Pikes Peak, the mountain that will serve as the course for the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb race, where individual cars blast up 4,720 feet through 156 corners in an attempt to grab the fastest time in their class.
The I.D. R is participating in the electric class, since it's powered by two electric motors, one at each axle. It'll have 680 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque at its disposal. Regenerative braking will capture approximately 20 percent of the energy it'll use on its way up the hill, which is why testing at Pikes Peak is so important ahead of the race. Until now, all its effort has taken place in simulations and on test tracks.
"The first test drive at Pikes Peak was successful," said François-Xavier Demaison, Volkswagen Motorsport's technical director, in a statement. "This shows that our computer simulations and the test drives in Europe were on point."
VW picked a heck of a driver for the task. Romain Dumas has already won Pikes Peak three times in addition to two wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, so he's no stranger to a mountain that features very little runoff and a serious chance of injury should something go wrong. Even though VW's paying him for this, his confidence in a statement sounds like the kind of attitude he'll need to break the electric course record of 8:57.118: "The I.D. R Pikes Peak is the best car that I have ever driven up this mountain."