Romain Dumas has set an all-out record at Pikes Peak today, running the course in 7:57.148. He becomes the fastest driver ever to run the course in any car and the first driver to run a 7 minute time.
With clouds rolling in over the mountain concerns grew at the base about whether or not a record was possible, but Dumas was allowed to take off just before the worst of the weather hit.
“It’s a big, big relief,” said Francois-Xavier Demaison, VW Motorsport’s technical director, after the race. “For me, it’s like a step in the future. We showed that Volkswagen can build a nice, fun, and fast electric car.”
Although the team only set out to break the electric record—8:57.118 set in 2016 and which Dumas and VW beat by almost exactly a minute—rumors on the mountain suggested that the VW might be fast enough to break the overall record.
Prior to running the Hill Climb, though, VW Motorsport was insistent that it was not focused on breaking the overall record (8:13.878, set in 2013), just the electric record.
“After a few months we found out ‘oh, maybe the package is capable of more,’” explains Demaison. “But we didn’t know. We didn’t expect it before. We prefer always to aim for a lower target and make a surprise because then it has a bigger effect.”
Demaison admits, though, that Dumas was capable of setting similar times in the simulator, so they had some idea that they were confident that if everything went well, they would break at least one record. Still, as we wrote about on Saturday, anything can happen at Pikes Peak and the weather can kill a record attempt in the crib.
As of publication, the second fastest time for the day is an 8:37.230 in a gas powered Unlimited class car.
The results remain unofficial until the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb association hands out awards to the class winners later today.