Up in the air – Volkswagen Motorsport breaking new technological ground with the aerodynamics of the I.D. R Pikes Peak

I.D. R Pikes Peak generates more downforce than the actual weight of the car

At first glance, it is clear to see that the I.D. R Pikes Peak has been developed for extreme conditions. The aerodynamic aspect of Volkswagen’s first fully-electric racing car is also uncompromisingly designed to tackle the most famous hill climb in the world. The relatively open regulations gave the engineers far more leeway, with which to design the chassis and rear wing of the I.D. R Pikes Peak, than in other racing disciplines.

During the winding 19.99-kilometre drive to the summit of Pikes Peak near Colorado Springs (USA), a top speed of around 240 km/h is reached.

New components were often produced in quick time on a 3D printer. “We printed about 2,000 parts. In doing so, we saved a lot of time,” says Dr. Hervé Dechipre, who, as a CFD engineer at Volkswagen Motorsport, is responsible for the aerodynamics on the I.D. R Pikes Peak.

The electric engine on the I.D. R Pikes Peak does need to be cooled efficiently. However, the need for fresh air is far less than in the case of a combustion engine. Furthermore, it is not necessary to guide any intake air to the two electric engines, which together generate 500 kW (680 PS). This made it possible to reduce the size of the necessary inlet ports in the chassis, which are always a big drawback from an aerodynamic point of view. In contrast, the thin air at altitude has a negative effect on the efficiency of the cooling.


In the meantime, the findings from the development phase have been optimised in great detail in comprehensive tests. The first test run on the original route in the USA is planned for the end of May. Driver Romain Dumas and the Volkswagen Motorsport team then begin the final phase of their preparations for the “Pikes Peak International Hill Climb 2018” on 24 June. The goal is to break the record in the class for electric prototypes, which currently stands at 8:57.118 minutes.

Source : Volkswagen

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