Volkswagen and Romain Dumas achieved a tremendous feat when they teamed up to set a new record at the Pikes Peak Hill Climb in late June with a run of 7:57.148. While we all eagerly await footage taken from the cockpit of the electric ID R race car, for now, we can appreciate the run via aerial footage.
It's not really settling, though, because this is tremendous video. While the action on the ground is amazing, we can't help but come away wildly impressed with the work of the helicopter pilot and camera operator. Tracking the VW ID R on the hill must have been tough work considering how quickly it can rocket away from corners, yet the car only disappears from the camera's view a handful of times, and that's mostly due to the cover of trees, not because they couldn't track the car.
Watching the car from the air provides a fresh vantage point on both the hill itself and the tough challenge that Dumas tackled. The run features 156 turns set across 12.42 miles with a finish line 14,115 feet above sea level. Some might scoff at the fact that the event now features a fully paved course, but Dumas and VW have achieved something wonderful.
The prior record was set in 2013 by Sébastien Loeb in a Peugeot 208 rally car. Loeb rocketed from start to finish in just 8:13.878. Rhys Millen also posted a brilliant drive when he set the electric-vehicle record in 2016 with a time of 8:57.118. When Dumas not only shattered the EV record but also set the fastest time ever, he opened the door for future EV attempts by other manufacturers.
While auto enthusiasts might miss the noise that comes with a car powered by an internal combustion engine, the ID R has its own eerie, ghostly, whine. It sounds like jet airplanes taking off from a haunted airport. There's also no denying the ferocity of the electric powertrain. Even when captured from the air, the footage appears to be slightly sped up at times.
It's not, though. It's just an amazing machine driven by a man pushing himself and his vehicle to the limit.
Watch it and see.