"The most im­pres­sive car I’ve ever driven in com­pe­ti­tion.” As state­ment’s go, it’s a bold one. When you learn it was ut­tered about a car that was cob­bled to­gether in un­der nine months and came from the mouth of a man whose more usual daily driver over the past few years has been a Porsche 919 Hy­brid LMP1 car, you sit up and take no­tice. Yep, Ro­main Du­mas, a man who won Le Mans twice driv­ing the Porsche, said those words about this, the VW ID R Pikes Peak.

Why? What makes it so spe­cial? The an­swer to that be­gins with the event it com­peted in. The Pikes Peak hill­climb in Colorado is not like most rac­ing events. Most rac­ing events are gov­erned around the need to keep the rac­ing close, of­ten to the detri­ment of in­ge­nu­ity and in­no­va­tion. The Pikes Peak Un­lim­ited class is dif­fer­ent, the rules are… un­lim­ited. And so’s the event it­self, a 12.42-mile, 156curve course that starts at the al­ti­tude of many Alpine sum­mits and climbs a ver­ti­cal mile from there.

To con­quer it, VW cre­ated the world’s fastest be­spoke hill­climb car. Pow­ered by elec­tric­ity not only to defy oxy­gen star­va­tion at al­ti­tude, but also de­velop the in­stant torque nec­es­sary for tele­port-level ac­cel­er­a­tion. Six hun­dred and sev­enty bhp, 1,100kg in­clud­ing Ro­main, ca­pa­ble of hit­ting 100mph from a stand­ing start in 3.7secs. Ul­tra-pre­cise in both its en­gi­neer­ing and dy­nam­ics, with wings to glue the fat slicks to the road and re­gen­er­a­tive brak­ing to har­vest en­ergy. So com­plete, so honed that surely the ID R is now the tem­plate for suc­cess at Pikes Peak – cer­tainly it’s hard to see a way back to the podium for the in­ter­nal com­bus­tion en­gine.

So at­tuned are car and event that you be­gin to won­der if the chal­lenge was made for the car, or the car for the chal­lenge. Con­sid­er­ing Pikes Peak has been around since 1919 and the ID R for only 250 days prior to this year’s event, we al­ready know the an­swer to that. Con­clu­sion? A fit­ness for pur­pose that fully de­serves the ti­tle of TopGear’s

Race­car of the Year.

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