VW weighs 2,425 pounds, 671 horsepower…
In a clever PR move to have us all forget about diesel emission shenanigans, VW has gone all electric, at least as to their contender for the Pikes Peak Hill Climb 2018.
The brand’s first fully-electric racing car will take on the most famous hill climb in the world on June 24th, 2018, in Colorado Springs, CO, aiming to break the record in the class for electric prototypes, which currently stands at 8:57.118 minutes.
The design team… “analyzed a multitude of different configurations,” saidWilly Rampf, technical advisor to the project, and the trials focussed on finding the optimal compromise between performance and weight. Both factors are more dependent on each other in an electric car than in a racing car with a conventional combustion engine. The simple rule of thumb is: the greater the performance, the heavier the batteries required.
However, every single gram is unwanted weight—particularly at a hill climb. On Pikes Peak, the cars must overcome a difference in altitude of more than 4,700 feet on the way to the finish line at 14,115 above sea level. Today it’s battery capacity, not the old days of worrying about carburetor jettings and altitude.
Romain Dumas, at the wheel of the electric VW, will also be faced with a series of hairpin turns, where a heavy car would be a disadvantage when braking and accelerating out of corners.
The development team also nearly completely dispensed with the standard, but extremely expensive, materials commonly used in top-class motor racing, such as titanium. The chassis, suspension and safety structure of the race car are almost completely made of steel and aluminium.
Complete with driver, the VW weighs less than 2,425 pounds—a lightweight compared to Pikes Peak category electric race-cars. A relatively low output of 671 horsepower allowed the battery components to be so compact that they could be positioned next to and behind the driver, thus ensuring perfect weight distribution.
This car looks ultra-cool and something tells me you’re going to hear more about VW electric hyper-cars, perhaps on the street, in the next few years. They certainly have the bucks, and owning Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini and Porsche gives them a real advantage in getting attention.