Romain Dumas and the brand new, all-electric Volkswagen I.D. R set the fastest time in qualifying on Wednesday, ahead of the 2018 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.
The Frenchman, at the wheel of Volkswagen’s first fully-electric racing car, was the fastest of all the competitors. He set a time of 3m16.083s on the shortened version of the course.
The three-time Pikes Peak winner went 11.049 seconds quicker than second-placed Simone Faggioli in his Norma M20 SF PKP with its combustion engine.
“That was a very good day for us,” said Dumas. “The I.D. R Pikes Peak is incredible. I have never experienced acceleration and power like that in a racing car. I am noticing how the car and I are becoming more and more of a unit with every kilometer.”
Sven Smeets, Volkswagen motorsport director, added: “A big compliment to the entire team. We completed an important test yesterday, the findings from which have helped us to further optimize the set-up of the I.D. R Pikes Peak.
“The result is that the car was superbly prepared today, and the time speaks for itself. However, that was only qualifying. We are optimistic about the race, but must always bear in mind that we only have one single attempt.”
In qualifying for the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, each competitor is only running the first section of the 19.99-km course – from the start to the 8.3-km mark. The times are used to determine the starting order for the race. The competitor with the fastest qualifying time starts first. As it stands, this will be Dumas.
Volkswagen’s pursuit of the record for electric vehicles, which currently stands at 8m57.118s, begins on Sunday 24 June.
First onto the route, from 0800 local time are the 24 registered motorcycles. They are followed by 62 cars in six different classes. Dumas is scheduled to start at about 1000.