671bhp Volkswagen ID R to battle gamers for hillclimb record

Volkswagen will showcase its record-breaking ID R electric motorsport car on the 99-turn Tianmen Shan Big Gate Road in China later this year – and will stage a ‘virtual’ competition to establish a time to beat.

The 671bhp ID R smashed the outright Pikes Peak International Hill Climb record last year, and the German firm is currently prepping the machine in a bid to set a new electric lap record at the Nürburgring. 

To highlight the car and the forthcoming ID range in China, the world’s biggest electric vehicle market, Volkswagen’s motorsport division will tackle the 6.8-mile Tongtian Avenue road, which runs up Tianmen Mountain, around 930 miles south-west of Beijing.

The road, which is currently open only to buses, rises from 650ft to 4265ft above sea level, leading to Tianmen Cave at the top of the mountain.

Because the road has never been used for competition before, there’s no record time for the ID R to break. Volkswagen will therefore stage an online gaming competition to allow participants to set a ‘virtual’ record, with the fastest time becoming the time for driver Romain Dumas to beat in September.

Pikes Peak specialist Dumas believes a lack of knowledge will make this a different challenge. “So far, I only know the road from photos and a few videos,” he said. “The route is very winding, extremely narrow in places, and very uneven.”

The ID R is powered by two electric motors, giving it a 0-62mph time of 2.25sec. Dumas also drove the car at last year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed.

China is Volkswagen’s biggest market, with the firm operating several joint ventures in the country. It’s gearing up to launch the production version of the first ID model based on its MEB platform and is developing several specifically intended for the Chinese market.