Le Mans winner Dumas to drive electric Pikes Peak VWby Samarth Kanal on 31st January 2018
Volkswagen puts Le Mans winner Romain Dumas behind the wheel of fully electric Pikes Peak challenger in hunt for record
Volkswagen will enter the 2018 Pikes Peak with its fully-electric prototype, with three-time Pikes Peak winner Romain Dumas at the helm, in the hunt for a record.
Porsche works driver Dumas, who won Le Mans with Audi in 2010, and with Porsche in 2013 and '16, will take on the Colorado hillclimb – 30 years after VW last entered the competition.
“The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is a big challenge, because every driver only has one attempt,” said Dumas, who won Pikes Peak in 2014, '16 and '17.
"There is one big advantage of having an electric car in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb," he explained. "The power remains constant over the entire 20 kilometre route. By contrast, vehicles fitted with combustion engines lose a significant amount of power in the thin mountain air. I had to live with that in my previous appearances here. I am really looking forward to being able to drive from the start at 2,862 metres to the finishing line at full power for the first time.
The German manufacturer aims to offer 20 all-electric models by 2025, and its Pikes Peak challenge will tackle the 20 kilometre route, which ascends to 4302 metres, in an attempt to break the track record for electric race cars.
"Romain is one of the fastest drivers to have ever entered the Pikes Peak race. What’s more, he has thousands of kilometres of experience with racing prototypes under his belt. This makes him the perfect driver for Volkswagen as it makes its debut with a fully electric racing car,” said VW motor sport director Sven Smeets.
“This [entry] allows us to demonstrate the efficiency of Volkswagen’s future battery and drive train technology in a competitive environment. An additional challenge lies in the fact that the race track on Pikes Peak is a normal road, where both the weather and road conditions are more frequently subject to change."
Dumas spoke of his Pikes Peak effort in 2016 to Motor Sport, stating that Porsche previously told him to "do a little less Pikes Peak, a little less rally and concentrate a bit more on testing the LMP1."