We reported on Volkswagen building the special electric sports car to attack the record for this year’s Pikes Peak hillclimb in America in our second issue. As was perhaps expected, Romain Dumas smashed the record by over 16 seconds. A veteran of the hillclimb competition, Dumas had always said he wanted to get under the eight-minute mark for the race and so was pleased with the 7mins 57.148sec time! It is an impressive achievement and there are various film clips of this available on You Tube that are worth the watch… the only thing missing is any noise from the near silent electric engine, but the speed it pulls from the tight hairpin corners is staggering.
PIKES PEAK TRIUMPHS
Of course, this was a purpose-built electric supercar, so how about tackling the same course with a standard supercar SUV? Bentley did exactly that with its Bentayga, driven by Rhys Millen. It broke the production SUV record with a time of 10mins 49.9seconds, which when compared to Volkswagen’s supercar is impressive. The Bentayga has a 600hp, 900Nm W12 engine, and to celebrate Bentley is planning to produce a Limited Edition model. Again, you can follow this on some You Tube footage, but if you are interested, after watching these two manufacturers compete on the recently laid and now perfectly smooth tarmac, check out Climb Dance, (www.youtube.com/ watch?v=UEuZG37gFdM) a film of Ari Vatanen’s 1988 drive in the Peugeot 405 T16 when the course was still all gravel and dust. You’ll find yourself hanging onto the sides of your chair at times, especially when he shields his eyes from the low sun with one hand, while sliding the car with the other. It’s an astonishing demonstration of car control at very high speed!