By: Ben Miller, Denver Business Journal
Volkswagen said it will make its first appearance in 31 years when it returns to the annual Pikes Peak International Hill Climb event in Colorado Springs on June 24.
Volkswagen said it will compete this year with an all-electric prototype four-wheel-drive racing car it calls the I.D. R Pikes Peak.
“The I.D. R Pikes Peak represents an extremely exciting challenge for us, to show what is possible in motorsport with an electric drivetrain," said Sven Smeets, Volkswagen motorsport director, in a statement.
“Competing in the most famous hill climb in the world with the I.D. R Pikes Peak is a valuable test for the general development of electric cars," added Frank Welsch of VW.
The company last competed in the Pikes Peak Hill Climb back in 1987, when it raced a 652-horsepower Golf up the mountain.
Racers have been competing in the event since 1916.
According to the official race site, "Founded in 1916 by Spencer Penrose (also the founder of The Broadmoor Hotel, Pikes Peak Highway and El Pomar Foundation), the (race) takes place on a 12.42 mile public toll-road boasting 156 turns, while competitors climb 4,720 ft. from the 9,390 ft. start line at Mile 7 marker on the Pikes Peak Highway to the 14,115 ft. finish line at the mountain’s summit."
Last year, 80 cars and motorcycles competed in the event, which was won by Romain Dumas in 9:05.672.
The record in the electric prototype class is 8:57.118, set in 2016 by New Zealand’s Rhys Millen.