Volkswagen has announced it is developing an all-wheel drive, all-electric race car for the 2018 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, USA. The brand has also announced that its goal is to set a new record for electric cars. The new motorsport project is part of Volkswagen’s hurried rebranding in the wake of its emissions scandal, as it aims to ‘transform’ itself into a leading producer of electric vehicles.
“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,” explained 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.”
The vehicle is being developed by Volkswagen Motorsport in close cooperation with Technical Development in Wolfsburg.
“The race on Pikes Peak is a new beginning for us. We are developing an all-electric race vehicle for the first time,” added Sven Smeets, Volkswagen Motorsport director. “The project is also an important milestone in our new motorsport orientation. Our team is literally electrified about taking on this incredible challenge. Volkswagen Motorsport last participated in the Pikes Peak mountain race in 1987 with a spectacular twin-engined Golf which barely missed finishing. It is high time for a rematch.”
The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb has been run since 1916 in the Rocky Mountains near Colorado Springs. The race course is 19.99 kilometres long, and it climbs 1,440 metres to the summit at 4,300 metres above sea level. The current record in the class of electric prototypes is 8 minutes 57.118 seconds, which was set by US driver Rhys Millen (e0 PP100) in 2016.