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Volkswagen Just Set a New Record for the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb—In an Electric Car

An electric car just broke the course record at one of the hardest car races in the world.

At the 2018 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on Sunday, the Volkswagen I.D. R. driven by Romain Dumas laid down a track record, and the first-ever sub-eight-minute run with a time of 7:57.148. The previous record was 8:13.378 set by Sebastien Loeb driving a Pugeot in 2013. Even more impressive is the full minute Dumas shaved off the previous EV record of 8:57.118.

Pikes Peak is an annual automobile race in Colorado. The race covers 12.42 miles, 156 turns, and 4,720 vertical feet. Each competitor is only allowed one attempt at the course. Dumas described the challenge of the course as a function of its one-shot nature: “You cannot recover from any issue. It’s a lot of pressure. It means you have to have the perfect run…you only have one chance each year.”

Dumas, who has twice won Le Mans, the annual 24-hour race in France, and four times won Pikes Peak, says the latter is the hardest race, even compared to endurance events.

The weather conditions for Sunday’s race were not ideal. Dumas said he could have gone “even faster” if the track had been dry.