Volkswagen has confirmed its plans to return to the Pikes Peak International Hillclimb in 2018.
After a series of teasers on Twitter running with the tagline ‘1Score2Settle’ – a reference to the last time it competed in the famous Colorado hillclimb – the company officially announced it would be taking an all-wheel drive electric racer to the event.
Its last attempt, conducted in 1987, involved a Golf GTI hatch with an engine on each axle for all-wheel drive. Although the car showed good pace, mechanical problems forced its retirement.
Details about what will follow in the twin-engined GTI’s tyre tracks are scarce at the moment, save for a few teaser shots. But the teaser suggests the car will be a serious racer, with a pod-style cabin, tall rear wing and ankle-snapping splitter on the nose.
Electric cars have proven successful at Pikes Peak in past: although internal combustion vehicles swept the podium this year, EVs owned the top two steps of the podium of the hillclimb in 2015.
The course finish line is 14,110ft (4031m) above sea level, giving electric cars – which aren't affected by the thin air – an advantage over air-breathing internal combustion engines. Then again, the thin mountain air didn't seem to slow Peugeot and Sebastien Loeb down when they shattered the record in 2013.
"The Pikes Peak hill climb is one of the world’s most renowned car races. It poses an enormous challenge and is therefore excellently suited to proving the capabilities of upcoming technologies," said Dr Frank Welsch, Member of the Board responsible for Development.
"Our electric race car will be equipped with innovative battery and drive technology. The extreme stress test on Pikes Peak will give us important findings that will benefit future development, and it will showcase our products and their technologies."