It beat the old record by half a second, and the event is far from over.
There’s a new king of the hill at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, and we mean that literally. If you’ve been watching the action from the famous British Hillclimb event, you may have seen the Volkswagen ID.R whine its way to the top. You might have missed it, however, especially if you stepped away briefly to pour a cup of tea. That’s because driver Romain Dumas completed the run in just 41.18 seconds, which is fast enough not only to claim the current top spot for the 2019 event, but also to claim the overall record. And there’s still lot more action to come.
As you can see, Volkswagen is keen to let the world know about this new achievement. It is indeed tremendous, as the previous record of 41.6 seconds was set back in 1999 by Nick Heidfeld in a considerably smaller McLaren MP4/13 Formula One car. That was during the V10 era, with the mill producing approximately 780 horsepower (582 kilowatts) in a chassis weighing just over 1,300 pounds. By comparison, the ID.R weighs nearly twice as much and boast a bit less power, roughly 670 hp (500 kW) from its dual electric motors.
How did the VeeDub lay down such a dominating time, then? In short, this EV racer was tweaked specifically to run up the hill. Normally weighing around 2,400 pounds, VW removed some of the ID.R’s batteries to lighten the load, though we don’t know by exactly how much. It also used a set of soft Bridgestone tires for maximum grip. By comparison, the F1 car was still dressed as it would be to go 220 mph at Spa, making it a serious handful to corral on such a short, tight track. The old adage of power means nothing if you can’t get it to the ground certainly applies here.
It’s also the reason why – dare we say – the ID.R appeared to conquer the course with ease. Yes, it changed direction like a freaking slot car, and the instant torque from the electric powertrain provided immediate acceleration. But aside from looking like an old film sped-up to double the speed, there was a complete absence of drama during the ascent.
And the event is far from over. The 2019 Goodwood Festival of Speed runs through the weekend, though weather might not be as favorable later on as it was for today’s run. Still, it’s quite possible Dumas and the VW team could take a few more tenths off that blistering record time.