Volkswagen breaks 20-year McLaren record at Goodwood


16 Jul 2019

Credit: Dominik Wilde

Volkswagen finally ended McLaren’s 20-year run at the top of the Goodwood hill’s timing charts at this year’s Festival of Speed, with the all-electric I.D. R setting a new benchmark.

The prototype car, which has been specially developed just to break records, already holds the best overall time at the legendary Pikes Peak, and is the fastest electric car to lap the Nurburgring. Now it has beat the time of 41.60s set by Nick Heidfeld in the McLaren MP4/13 Formula 1 car back in 1999.

In fact, Romain Dumas beat the record three times over the course of the weekend, setting a fastest time of 39.90s in qualifying for the timed shootout. Sadly, with the times shootout following a morning of rain, Dumas was unable to better the time further, nor was he able to set an official record. With his fastest times coming in practice and then qualifying, they don’t stand as official records.

Dumas in action on the first of three record-breaking runs at Goodwood – Credit: Dominik Wilde

The car does however still officially hold the EV record, which it claimed at the 2018 Festival, when the car was optimised for traditional hillclimbs – like Pikes Peak.

This year the car had been tweaked for a more ‘sprint’ setup, allowing it to tackle circuit records as well. The changes also better suited the Goodwood course.

“The Goodwood Festival of Speed Hillclimb is one of the most iconic Hillclimbs in the world. The track is so narrow and difficult to master, with zero room for error,” said Volkswagen Motorsport director Sven Smeets. “Dumas and the whole Volkswagen team performed flawlessly to set the record.

“A change is taking place in the field of production vehicles and in motorsport. Electric cars are becoming increasingly more powerful and it’s great to see them now rivalling combustion engines on track. To get an idea of how far we’ve developed the car, in 2018 we ran a 00:43.86 – this year we were almost three seconds faster.”