Volkswagen Motorsport has revealed that it initially used a converted fully electric Golf GTI TCR in the early development stages of its Pikes Peak-winning program.
A twin-motor electric system was used in one of the manufacturer’s TCR cars during testing in January while the design stage of the I.D. R Pikes Peak was still being completed.
This allowed the team to make use of as much development time as possible for the program that went on to set an overall record at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in June.
Romain Dumas posted a time of 7:57.148 in the all-electric prototype after a six-month test program which amounted to almost 2500 miles of running.
The converted Golf GTI TCR produced 400 kW and allowed Dumas and development driver Dieter Depping to gain experience with electric race cars as early as possible in the program.
“We used this car for around 15 days in January 2018 to gather data at the Volkswagen test site in Ehra-Lessien,” explained project engineer Fabrice van Ertvelde.
“Being able to use the test site was a great help.”
Added Depping: “It was all about researching the basics. The electric drive system was a new area of activity for Volkswagen Motorsport.
“We had to understand how the individual components work together in a race car, and what the ideal configuration would be.”
The I.D. R Pikes Peak later made its first official appearance on April 22 in Ales for four days of testing, while the first on-site test at Pikes Peak was completed in late May.
Depping took over much of the development program while Dumas focused on his other existing racing commitments with Porsche and CORE autosport.
The team set up a temporary base at Pikes Peak in May, with Depping and a 30-strong Volkswagen team completing frequent test runs.
“In this phase, the team worked in a very concentrated fashion,” explained van Ertvelde.
“Each and every person displayed unbelievably high levels of motivation and commitment. That was impressive.”
While Volkswagen hasn’t announced plans to use the electric Golf TCR further, it could be considering building a car for the new E TCR platform.
Volkswagen Group subsidiary SEAT is the only automaker committed to E TCR with its Cupra e-Racer that was revealed alongside the electric touring car class’ announcement earlier this year.