VW I.D. R Electric Prototype Shocks Competition With Fastest Qualifying Time at Pikes Peak

Volkswagen's fully-electric prototype will be the first car to the top of Pikes Peak after setting the fastest time in qualifying.

Volkswagen

Volkswagen announced Wednesday that its new electric I.D. R prototype hillclimb car set the fastest lap time in the qualifying session of the 2019 Pikes Peak International Hillclimb in Colorado. 

Pikes Peak veteran Romain Dumas lapped Pikes Peak's shortened qualifying section in a staggering 3:16.083 minutes, more than 11 seconds quicker than the gas-powered Norma M20 SF PKP driven by Simone Faggioli. The qualifying road takes place along the first 5.16 miles of Pikes Peak beginning at the starting line, saving the main course for the penultimate run on Sunday. Dumas and his 680-horsepower VW hope to scramble up Pikes Peak's full 12.4-mile route quicker than 8:57.118 minutes in order to set a new record for electric cars. 

"That was a very good day for us,” said Dumas. “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."

Volkswagen

Volkswagen Motorsport Director Sven Smeets was more reserved about this victory, saying that while he's happy with the results, this is just qualifying and the I.D. R will undergo its real test at the actual hillclimb event.

“We completed an important test yesterday, the findings from which have helped us to further optimize the set-up of the I.D. R Pikes Peak," said Smeets. "The result is that the car was superbly prepared today, and the time speaks for itself. However, that was only qualifying. We are optimistic about the race, but must always bear in mind that we only have one single attempt.”

As Dumas pointed out in an interview with The Drive's James Gilboy last week, the full stretch of Pikes Peak will prove much more challenging. Throughout the 12-mile course, the prototype racer will endure severe temperature drops and will ascend 4,720 feet into the clouds. 

Still, the I.D. R's lightning-fast qualifying time means it will be the first four-wheeled vehicle to make the climb, two hours after the 24 competing motorcycles make their runs and in front of 61 other cars in six classes. 

Romain Dumas and the I.D. R will attempt their record run 8 a.m. MDT June 24. You can watch the car make its qualifying run below.