One of the toughest roads on the planet.
The fully-electric 670 horsepower Volkswagen ID.R has been hard at work breaking records this past year. In the hands of two-times Le Mans winner Romain Dumas it already set records at Pikes Peak and the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2018 and will go on to challenge for the Nurburgring EV record soon.
But one challenge it plans to take on in September this year has never been done before, and that is to set a time on the Tianmen Shan Big Gate road in China, a gruelling 6.8-mile long ribbon of road incorporating 99 corners that snakes up the side of Tianmen mountain.
Volkswagen Motorsport Director Sven Smeets: "Tianmen has a mystical status in China, where it is known as ‘Heaven’s Gate’. The route is one of the most extraordinary and difficult roads in the world – another special challenge for the ID. R. Our goal is to set a new milestone for electric vehicles and, in doing so, to support Volkswagen’s E-strategy in China, which is really picking up speed this year.”
Aside from buses used to transport tourists to the top of this impressive mountain, the road is closed to the public and no record attempt has ever been done here so the ID.R will be the first to set an official time. Volkswagen China will be running a competition ahead of time where participants will be able to set their own virtual times up the road which Dumas will attempt to beat under real conditions in September.
Dr. Stephan Wöllenstein, Member of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand and CEO Volkswagen China: "The Volkswagen ID. R is an icon, which perfectly embodies our passion for E-mobility and our expertise in the development of electric drive technology. We can use the experience gained in the field of motorsport to further enhance that expertise and can incorporate it in the assembly of electric production models.”
With the very likely possibility that all EU member states will have mandatory speed limiters in new cars from 2022-on, (hopefully such a proposal will be shot down by US lawmakers but you never know) the benefits of that instant off-the-line acceleration provided by EVs may become the last bit of fun we can have in our cars. Still, imagine your daily driver being able to hit 62 mph in the same 2.25 seconds that it takes the ID.R.