I don't care what time you go to bed, an alarm at 2 a.m. is too early. But it is also the time you have to wake up if you want to catch Pikes Peak International Hill Climb practice. By 3:30 a.m. I was on the mountain, and right at dawn I heard the unmistakable roar of a Porsche 911, as it made its way up the lower half of the mountain. It was on.
I didn't come here to see 911s or McLarens or Acuras spew exhaust as they tore up the mountain. I came for an all-electric Volkswagen of the I.D. variety. While the I.D. Buzz is, for me, the most anticipated electric vehicle to come out of VW in the next few years, the I.D. R is definitely the coolest. Take a quick glance at it and you wouldn't guess you had just seen a Volkswagen. And if you close your eyes as it goes by, the sound it makes will convince you you were just passed by a fighter jet.
The I.D. R weighs less than 2,500 pounds, is powered by two electric motors, making 680 horsepower and has all-wheel drive. It looks like it belongs at LeMans rather than the summit of a 14,114-foot mountain. We'll have to wait until this weekend to see if the I.D. R, piloted by Pikes Peak champion Romain Dumas, breaks Rhys Millen's 2016 EV record of 8:57.118, but after seeing it rocket around the corners of the mountain in practice, I wouldn't bet against them.
For now, check out the video above and below. And if you're not in the vicinity of Colorado Springs on June 24, you can purchase the livestream of the race here for five bucks.Related Video: