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Making history in 41 seconds - Electric cars shine at Goodwood Festival of Speed

Published by Mr. C

Romain Dumas at the wheel of the Volkswagen ID.R
Credit: Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen smashed the Goodwood Festival of Speed course record today in their all-electric ID.R race car. After setting a blindingly fast time up the hill in 2018, the team returned this year with a plan to crush a long standing record Nick Heidfeld set in an F1 car way back in 1999.

The time to beat was 0:41.60 and on Thursday the car managed to get close with a 0.43.63 run. This was faster than their own time last year but still shy of the figure required. The initial pace wasn't a concern though because the weather still looked promising for Friday, Saturday and also for Sunday's ultimate shootout. Plenty of time to slowly dial in the car and improve.

That script was torn up today however when one supremely impressive run by Romain Dumas dropped the bar to 0.41.18. Crushed it.

A change is taking place

The ID.R has been setting records since its creation last year. First beating the outright time for the Pikes Peak International Hill climb and more recently beating the electric vehicle lap record on the Nürburgring.

Ahead of the weekend VW looked upon this particular challenge as a battle of the technology concepts - electric drivetrain versus petrol engine.

In Goodwood, we want to show that the electric drivetrain in the ID.R can mix it with Formula 1

- Sven Smeets, Volkswagen Motorsport director

There is no question that the team demonstrated exactly what this incredible technology is capable of. Electric propulsion is faster, cleaner, quieter and just plain better than the petrol engine.

Enjoy this hill climb. Don't blink.

Past, welcome to the future

Goodwood is synonymous with the past. The name alone conjures up images of old men wearing tweed blazers, flat caps, braces and cravats, so it is especially pleasing that the electric cars are able to shine at this particular country garden party in Chichester.

As it turns out the Festival of Speed has somewhat reinvented itself as a showcase for the current and the future of transportation. Look beyond the ID.R and you'll find demonstration runs from Honda's next generation city car the Honda E and the first all-electric Aston Martin the Rapide E.

Additionally, Extreme E, which describes itself as a radical new concept of electric racing, launched their electric SUV the Odyssey 21. Volvo too picked the event to debut their first fully-electric volume production car, the Polestar 2.

It is notable for motorsport fans that both the Rapide and the Odyssey use technology developed by Williams Advanced Engineering, a company who are achieving truly amazing things in the world of sustainable transport.

There are very likely even more amazing stories about the electrification of transportation developing around the grounds of Goodwood House and this is only day two. The ID.R likely isn't done yet either, they have time to set a new benchmark that could last for another 20 years.