Romain Dumas just completed the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in a record 7:57.148 behind the wheel of the Volkswagen I.D. R. Developed by VW to show the advancements of electrified performance, the car defeated the long-standing record set by Sebastien Loeb in 2013 (8:13.378) who drove a 3.2-liter, twin-turbo, purpose-built Peugeot 208 T16.
It was rumored that the VW I.D. R was capable of eclipsing Loeb's time and after Sunday's inclement weather run, Dumas proved it to be true. Originally believed to be aiming for the EV record alone, Dumas raced to the clouds and set the first-ever sub-eight-minute run. The 16-second gap to Loeb's former overall benchmark is certainly impressive, and the one-minute gap to Rhys Millen's outgoing electric car record is even more so. If the track had been try, Dumas claimed that they could have gone "even faster."
In theory, the 12.42-mile, 156-turn Pikes Peak course suits EVs perfectly thanks to its relatively short distance and non-effect of altitude on their battery-propelled power units.
"I always said the best car for Pikes Peak would be electric," said Dumas. "You have to fight against losing power, brakes, and downforce [at altitude], but you don't lose power with this car."
"I'm in love with this race, the mountain is so beautiful. It's a kind of Nordschleife, but for sure with even more risks," Dumas concluded.
Thanks to the I.D. R's tailor-made construction, downforce at the top of the mountain was not an issue even amidst the thin air. Its 680 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque also helped to boost it along, complementing its uber-low curb weight of just 2,425 pounds—with Dumas in it. A 43-kilowatt-hour battery supplies the car's all-wheel-drive system with the power needed to propel it to 60 miles per hour in just 2.25 seconds.
Prior to this year's running of the PPIHC, the 96th in history, Dumas called the event "harder than Le Mans," and he should know as he's won at the 24-hour French endurance classic twice in his career. Now, he's tamed the famed Colorado course and has solidified his spot in the event's record book.
Stay tuned for more as we collect and edit video of on-location action from Pikes Peak.