Ford has given its electric Supervan an upgrade to take on the 2023 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.
The Blue Oval's UK division has a tradition of turning Transit vans into hot-rodded Supervans. For the fourth Supervan, Ford decided to go all-electric. The project debuted as the Ford Pro Electric Supervan ahead of the 2022 Goodwood Festival of Speed, after which Ford announced plans to tackle Pikes Peak. But it had to get the Supervan ready for that challenge.
Rechristened the Ford Supervan 4.2 (for the second version of the fourth van), the modified van got an exterior overhaul to accommodate new aerodynamic aids, compensating for the thinner air at Pikes Peak, where the course climbs from 4,725 feet above sea level to 14,115 feet. In between are 156 turns that make maximizing downforce essential.
Ford Supervan 4.2
A large carbon-fiber rear spoiler and front splitter are the most noticeable changes, helping to generate more than 4,400 pounds of downforce at 150 mph, according to Ford. The Supervan also underwent a weight reduction, although Ford isn't saying how much the final product weighs. The bodywork, which is based on the European-market E-Transit Custom, is also clad in a new livery for Pikes Peak.
As with the original build, Ford turned to Austrian rallying firm STARD for the Supervan 4.2's motors. The number of motors was actually reduced from four to three, bringing output down from the previous 1,972 hp to about 1,400 hp. All-wheel drive was retained, with one motor powering the front wheels and two motors powering the rear wheels. This was determined to be the optimal setup for Pikes Peak.
At Pikes Peak, certain corners limit the amount of power that can be put through the front wheels, Mark Rushbrook, global director Ford Performance Motorsports told Motor Authority. So the fourth motor would have just been adding weight and using additional energy to generate power that can't be used consistently.
Ford Supervan 4.2
To harness all that power heading into the many corners, a revised 600-kw regenerative braking system is paired with carbon-ceramic rotors, which sit behind magnesium forged wheels wrapped in Pirelli P Zero tires.
The Supervan 4.2 will be driven by current Pikes Peak record holder Romain Dumas. The French driver posted a still-unbeaten time of 7:57.148 in 2018 behind the wheel of the Volkswagen ID.R special. The Supervan isn't expected to set a new record, but it should record a quick time nonetheless.
The 2023 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is scheduled for June 25. Ford claims its history with the event goes back to 1916, when a Model T made the climb in 28:03.