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Volkswagen’s electric racecar breaks 20-year-old Goodwood hill climb record

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Nick Heidfeld’s historic run has finally been bested

Image: Volkswagen

Update July 6th, 1:10PM ET: Dumas broke his own record on Saturday by laying down a 39.9-second run up the Goodwood hill. The post below was published on Friday.

The Volkswagen I.D. R electric racecar just broke a 20-year-old record at the annual Goodwood Festival of Speed hill climb. Driven by Romain Dumas, the I.D. R made the climb on Friday in just 41.18 seconds, which is a half-second clear of former F1 driver Nick Heidfeld’s hairy 41.6-second run all the way back in 1999.

The record-breaking performance comes just one month after Dumas smashed the electric vehicle record at Germany’s famous Nürburgring in the 680-horsepower I.D. R, taking the title previously held by the EP9 supercar built by Chinese EV startup NIO. Dumas also holds the record for the fastest run up Pikes Peak, which is the event for which Volkswagen built the I.D. R in the first place.

To be fair to Heidfeld, who made his record-setting run in a McLaren MP4/13 Formula One car, the I.D. R was explicitly designed for venues like Goodwood. You can see evidence of that in the video of Dumas’ run, too. The mighty racecar looks almost bored as Dumas slices up the Goodwood hill. Compare that to the video of Heidfeld slinging the 780-horsepower V10 F1 car up the hill 20 years ago, where every touch of the steering wheel makes it look like he’s about to careen through the hay bales.

This wasn’t Dumas’ first run up Goodwood in the I.D. R. He and Volkswagen brought the car to the festival last year and set the all-electric hill climb record as well as the third-fastest time overall (despite nearly losing the car after a dramatic slide through the dirt during an early run).

This time around, the Volkswagen I.D. R arrived at Goodwood in its new Nürburgring trim. The lower rear wing, plus the work the company did to revamp the internals of the car over the last year, appears to have given Dumas a historically potent competitor. He’s not done running it up the Goodwood hill, yet: by the time the weekend is over, don’t be surprised if Dumas puts a little more distance between him and the 20-year-old record he just broke.