VW’s crazy electric car breaks F1 record at the Goodwood Festival of Speed


After smashing records at Pikes Peak and the Nüburgring with the ID R electric vehicle, Volkswagen and Romain Dumas added a third notch to their belts this past weekend. The setting couldn’t have been more different from Colorado’s high-speed, high-altitude mountain or the racetrack they call the Green Hell: the team went to Goodwood in England, a genteel country estate that’s home to the annual Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Part garden party, part car show, the Festival of Speed is also a competitive event, with a 1.15-mile (1.87km) hillclimb up past Goodwood House. In 1999, the McLaren Formula 1 team and driver Nick Heidfeld ran the course in just 41.6 seconds. That was fast enough to make Lord Charles March, the organizer, decide it was time to stop timing F1 cars up the hill. That record stood for two decades.

VW and Dumas took the ID R to Goodwood in 2018, hoping to beat Heidfeld’s record. They managed to set the fastest time of the day but were more than a second adrift. This year, fresh with success at the Nürburgring, it was time to try again. The car was modified a little from when I saw it in June. The Goodwood course covers less than a tenth the distance of either Pikes Peak or the Nürburgring, so the team stripped out some batteries to bring the overall weight (including Dumas) down below 2,204lbs (1,000kg). The active aerodynamic system on the rear wing was also left at home, and tire partner Bridgestone brought along a particularly sticky rubber compound.

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