Volkswagen has revealed that it carried out the testing for the electric motor on its I.D. R Pikes Peak record-breaking car in a Golf GTi TCR car earlier in the year.
The German marque recently blitzed the famous hillclimb circuit in a record-breaking time of 7 minutes 57.148 seconds – and the development work on the motor was carried out in a TCR car.
The project was given the green light in September 2017, when development work on Volkswagen’s first fully electric race car commenced.
In order to speed up the development process, engineers converted a Golf GTi TCR car to run with electric power, giving the touring car a twin-engine electric drive system capable of around 400 kW (544 horsepower).
“We used this car for around 15 days in January 2018 to gather data at the Volkswagen test site in Ehra-Lessien. Being able to use the test site was a great help,” explained project engineer Fabrice van Ertvelde.
Development driver Dieter Depping added that the testing allowed Volkswagen engineers to gain more of an understanding about their new drive system by cooperating with engineers in the touring car department.
“It was all about researching the basics,” said Depping. “The electric drive system was a new area of activity for Volkswagen Motorsport.
“We had to understand how the individual components work together in a race car, and what the ideal configuration would be.”
In the end the final I.D. R car became the first-ever car to break the eight-minute barrier in the world famous event, with Romain Dumas at the wheel.
Volkswagen sister-brand CUPRA earlier this year unveiled an all-electric version of its TCR car, on which the Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR is based.
CUPRA are the only brand to yet commit to the new-for-2019 E-TCR series, with other brands understood to also be in discussion to compete in the revolutionary new touring car series.