The team behind the electric Volkswagen ID.R has found its latest peak to scale. Quite literally, as next month the 671bhp 500kW prototype is heading to China seeking to set the record for the ascent of the famous Tianmen Shan Big Gate Road on Tianmen Mountain.
This is a 10km route made up of short sprints and no fewer than 99 hairpins. It’s regarded as one of the most demanding mountain roads in the world, and is located in breathtaking landscape that attracts millions of tourists every year. The route is currently open to buses only, and ascends from 650ft to 4265ft above sea level, culminating with Tianmen Cave, a stunning natural rock arch known as ‘Heaven’s Gate’.
The record attempt, the ID.R’s fifth, is part of Volkswagen’s effort to boost electromobility in the vast Chinese market, with its fully-electric ID. range to be launched in China next year. And underpinning the importance of the record effort, the ID.R prototype is getting a new paintjob for it, as it’ll be kitted out in bright red, following on from the ID.R’s light grey color used in 2018 then the blue used for its Nürburgring and Goodwood record-setting efforts this year. The car also gets a logo made up of a silhouette of Tianmen Mountain and its 99 hairpins, plus the motto ‘Race the Future’.
Volkswagen is also hopeful that setting a mark there with the ID.R will encourage other electric vehicles to follow suit on the Chinese route. “We hope that the ‘ID.R China Challenge’ will make Tianmen the place to develop electric cars, in order to achieve new dimensions,” said Volkswagen China’s CEO Dr Stephan Wöllenstein, who also is a member of Volkswagen Passenger Cars’ management board.
“The pioneering ID.R is the ambassador for our fully-electric ID. family, which will be launched in China from 2020,” Wöllenstein continued. “I think we have come up with a spectacular livery for the ID.R for its ‘China Challenge’ in September. The ID.R’s records have allowed us at Volkswagen to demonstrate our passion for e-mobility and its potential in a diverse range of conditions. The ID.R is the ﬁrst member of the ID. family to take to the roads of China.”
This Chinese record attempt follows on from the ID.R in 2018 setting an all-time record on Pikes Peak in Colorado, smashing by 16 seconds the previous ‘Race to the Clouds’ mark which was set by a prototype with a conventional combustion engine. And this year the ID.R set the lap record for an electric vehicle at the famous Nürburgring Nordschleife, and shortly afterwards beat the 20-year-old record for the hillclimb course at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, a mark held previously by Nick Heidfeld in a McLaren MP4/13 Formula 1 car. The ID.R had also set the electric record there the year before.