The Record-Breaking Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak Started As A Volkswagen GTI TCR

The 2500-pound electric race car shares more in common with our Volkswagen GTI TCR than we thought. 

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We know that on June 24, 2018, Volkswagen's all-electric I.D. R Pikes Peak smashed the previous 2003 record held by Sebastian Loeb by a full 16-seconds. What we didn't know, is that the I.D. R Pikes Peak originally started life as a test mule based off of a Volkswagen GTI TCR body and chassis. 

And, when you consider the timeline Volkswagen had to beat this record, it makes sense. In just nine months, Volkswagen engineers researched and developed an entirely new body, drivetrain and chassis that would be capable of achieving 93.7 miles per hour average speeds on the Pikes Peak course.

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To do that, Volkswagen engineers split up. Some worked on the drivetrain, while others worked on the body and chassis. And because of the nature of electric vehicles, and how many kinks there are to work out in terms of capacity, power delivery, and traction control, Volkswagen shoved all of the developmental electronics into an already-proven Volkswagen GTI TCR body and chassis. When developing a new vehicle, it helps to isolate problems so that you can pinpoint them and provide an adequate fix. Testing a new drivetrain and body at the same time would do the opposite of that.  

 

In the video above from Car TV, you can see the entire development process of the I.D. R pikes peak, from initial sketch, to scale model to the real thing being tested on a rolling road inside a wind tunnel. But the fun part is listening to the 700+ horsepower electric noises coming from an Volkswagen GTI TCR development mule about five minutes in.

On the outside, the entire vehicle looks identical to our Volkswagen GTI TCR, but only when you peek inside and under the hood can you identify the differences. Things like the complete lack of an internal-combustion engine, a different gauge cluster on the dashboard, and a unique locking mechanism for the electric charging system are all cues that this isn't a normal GTI TCR. 

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Volkswagen, if you're listening and want to get rid of your special electric race car, we'd love to thrash it around Lime Rock Park, or even just our parking lot.  

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Topics: VW, Motorsports

About the Author: Michael Roselli
Michael Roselli is FCP Euro's Content Director
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