500kW combined, two batteries and a fancy regenerative system

Volkswagen's assault on the Pikes Peak International Hillclimb is less than two weeks away, and the trickle of information about the I.D. R is becoming a flood. After detailing its aerodynamics package, VW has provided a peek under the bonnet... well, into the battery and motors, anyway.

Battery power is provided by a pair of interlinked lithium-ion batteries mounted either side of the driver's cockpit. They're tasked with feeding the two motors, one on each axle, producing a combined 500kW of power and an undisclosed amount of torque. It seems odd, the decision to not supply torque figures, but we'd suggest it's just VW keeping its cards close to its chest.

Torque vectoring means that power can be shuffled from wheel to wheel as required for maximum grip, while regenerative braking will help slow the car on the way up the 20km-long hillclimb.

Volkswagen credits a tricky brake-by-wire system for its regenerative braking performance, arguing Romain Dumas shouldn't feel the difference between conventional and regenerative braking through the pedal during his timed run.

“It was a massive challenge for our whole engineering team. We had no experience of electric drivetrains to call on in a racing context, a very short timeframe of seven months for development, and we were only able to test on the actual route at the end of May,” said Marc-Christian Bertram, head of electronics at Volkswagen Motorsport.

Beyond the one record-chasing run up the hill at Pikes Peak, VW is planning to use the lessons learned during the R's development in its production I.D. vehicles, the first of which will debut in 2020.

Dumas is aiming to best the 8:57.118 marker laid down by Rhys Millen in 2016. We'll know how he went on June 24.