Volkswagen has revealed that it will tackle next year’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb with an all-electric prototype, with the aim of setting a new class record.
The German manufacturer has begun development of an all-wheel drive electric car for the June 24 event, which will mark its return to the world-renowned hill climb for the first time in more than 30 years.
VW’s last factory effort at Pikes Peak came in 1987 with a twin-engined Golf, which failed to finish.
“The race on Pikes Peak is a new beginning for us,” said Volkswagen Motorsport director Sven Smeets. “We are developing an all-electric race vehicle for the first time.
“The project is also an important milestone in our new motorsport orientation. Our team is literally electrified about taking on this incredible challenge.”
Technical details on the new car have not yet been released, although the manufacturer has outlined ambitions of breaking the current class record for an electric prototype, a 8:57.118 time set by Rhys Millen last year.
“The Pikes Peak hill climb is one of the world’s most renowned car races. It poses an enormous challenge and is therefore excellently suited to proving the capabilities of upcoming technologies,” said Dr Frank Welsch, Member of the Board responsible for Development.
“Our electric race car will be equipped with innovative battery and drive technology. The extreme stress test on Pikes Peak will give us important findings that will benefit future development, and it will showcase our products and their technologies.”
Dumas Tipped to Drive
Three-time and defending hillclimb winner Romain Dumas has been tipped to lead VW’s assault.
Autocar reports that the 2016 FIA World Endurance Champion, who remains a Porsche factory driver, has been selected to drive the EV prototype, according to insiders with knowledge of the manufacturer’s plans.
Dumas drove a 600 horsepower Norma MXX RD Limited prototype to victory in this year’s event, with a time of 9:05.672, after battling engine-related issues.
Further details on the program, including confirmation on the driver, is expected to come from VW in the coming weeks.