Dumas got every corner right. Like Volkswagen got every aspect of the I.D. R right.
The two things that stood this car out against anything else on the mountain are the mind-blowing acceleration from the batteries and the downforce generated by a 2.4-metre wide rear wing.
“Battery technology is evolving all the time,” said Demaison. “When we started the project in September, our American supplier was working on a prototype with more power for less weight. By January, we began to run this battery in parallel to the original, but we went with the evolution. What we needed was power, not so much energy density; we needed full power for 20 kilometres, not something with charge and range for 300 kilometres.”
Ultimately, the I.D. R only had enough battery for 80% of the hill, the remaining 20 came from re-generation under braking. But the battery’s biggest edge over internal combustion was its ability to deliver 100% power throughout – even in the thin air of the 14,000ft finish line.
It was that thin air – 40% less dense at the finish than it would be at sea level – which shaped the car’s aero; if the battery was tech-driven, the wings were all about biggest being best.
“If you have a lot of downforce down here,” said Demaison, “you can still have some up there… the bigger the wing, the more aero you can get. It’s simple.”
As simple as driving up a hill…
Photography courtesy of Volkswagen