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Volkswagen’s motorsport division was in the French mountain town of Alès for the reveal of the I.D. R, its latest racer and Pikes Peak record hopeful.
Shown in naked carbon fiber, with only a scant few sponsor stickers on it, VW finally revealed that the I.D. R will make 680 hp and 480 lb-ft of torque. That power will be sent to all four wheels, but thanks to its electric power supply, torque will be fed to the wheels that need it most, for active torque vectoring.
That should help it get its 1,100 kgs (2,425 lbs) up the famous hill climb in a hurry and, indeed, gets it to 60 mph in just 2.25 seconds, faster than most current F1 and Formula E cars. That will be important if they hope to earn the electric record at Pikes Peak (8:57.1, set in 2016).
The question of weight was an important one, since VW decided that they wanted to prioritize out and out pace over everything else. To run an electric motor ragged requires a lot of power and, by extension, a lot of batteries. To keep things light, though, the I.D. R will generate about 20% of the power it uses during the race, through regenerative braking.
As with most Pikes Peak cars, the I.D. R bears some pretty ridiculous aero elements. These aren’t just there because the sport gives engineers the freedom to do whatever they want, aerodynamically, but also because at altitude, the air density requires more aggressive spoilers and wings.
Since Pikes Peak is still a public road for the next little while, VW will be conducting its testing in Alès, which is at the foot of the Cevannes mountain range in France.
After about two weeks, it will be onto Colorado, where VW will finally be able to run some tests in situ. There it will have the great advantage of having Romain Dumas, three time Pikes Peak winner and two-time Le Mans winner, behind the wheel.