inside
The employee magazine
of the Volkswagen brand

Sport

Aiming for a new record

In 2018 Volkswagen will compete in the world’s most famous mountain race with an all-electric racing car. The car is being developed jointly by employees at Volkswagen Motorsport and Technical Development in Wolfsburg.

A new challenge in the world of motorsports using tomorrow’s technology: Volkswagen is ­developing an all-electric racing car for the world’s most famous mountain race. The four-wheel prototype is scheduled to be at the starting line of the Pikes Peak ­International Hill Climb in Colorado, USA on June 24 of next year, and is expected to set a new record for electric cars. The new ­motorsport project is part of ­Volkswagen’s transformation to become the leading manufacturer of electric cars. The brand will have 23 all-electric models in its product range by the year 2025.

“The Pikes Peak Hill Climb is ideally suited to demonstrate the performance abilities of up-and-coming technologies,” says Frank Welsch, board member for Development of the Volkswagen brand. “Our electric racing cars will be equipped with innovative battery and drive technology. The extreme stress test on Pikes Peak will provide us with important insights that will benefit further development and showcase our products and their technologies.”

Introducing Pikes Peak

1916 is the year the race first took place.

1.440 m is the altitude difference from start to finish line.

20 km is the length of the course.

156 curves

8:57.12 minutes is the current course record for electric vehicles.

7,2 % average incline

This is the electric vehicle (left) with which Volkswagen wants to conquer Pikes Peak next year.

‘Our team is electrified’

3 questions for Motorsport Director Sven Smeets

What is the backstory of the return to the legendary Pikes Peak race?

After finishing our commitment to the World Rally Championship races, we set ourselves new goals: For one, that we furnish customer sports with near-series racing vehicles, and for another, that we apply technologies of the future to motorsports. Pikes Peak is exceptionally well-suited to demonstrate the performance capabilities of electric cars against a spectacular and unique backdrop.

 Electric vehicles is a new area for you – how did you prepare your team to take this on?

We are venturing on to new ground with an electrically powered vehicle. However, in order to keep pace with the strategic realignment of the Volkswagen brand, we began gaining essential expertise some time ago. This has included further training for our employees, among other things. Our team is literally electrified with the idea of taking on this challenge.

What particular challenges are posed by the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb?

From a sports perspective, it is that you are only given one chance to set a new record. That’s what counts. Of course you can train, test everything, and prepare yourself as well as possible. But on the Sunday of the race, the driver is alone on the course with his car. Technically, what’s important is finding the optimum compromise between performance, energy capacity, and weight for a vehicle that is electrically powered.