VW ID R To Take On Absolutely Insane Chinese Road

Volkswagen has announced the next place it will be taking its ID R fully electric race prototype: China’s absolutely insane Tianmen Shan Big Gate Road.

Driver Romain Dumas will return to his seat behind the wheel of the ID R for a timed run up the north China mountain pass after the Frenchman successfully broke the record at Pikes Peak last year with the EV.

According to the highly relevant website DangerousRoads.org, Tianmen Shan Big Gate Road is located within the Tianmen Mountain National Park in China’s Hunan Province, is about 6.8-miles long (10.9 kilometres) and contains 99 turns.

“Tianmen has a mystical status in China, where it is known as ‘Heaven’s Gate’,” said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Sven Smeets. “The route is one of the most extraordinary and difficult roads in the world – another special challenge for the ID. R. Our goal is to set a new milestone for electric vehicles and, in doing so, to support Volkswagen’s E-strategy in China, which is really picking up speed this year.”


Because no one has ever completed a timed run up the 99-turn road before, Volkswagen China plans to set up a virtual gaming competition where participants will be able to set their own time on the course. It’s not yet clear what platform the gaming competition will be hosted on.

Dumas is prepared for a challenge when the Volkswagen Motorsport team heads to China, saying he only knows the road from photos and a few videos.”

“The route is very winding, extremely narrow in places, and very uneven,” he said. “It is certainly going to be a special experience. I am looking forward to this new challenge.”

This won’t be the first time someone has driven up Tianmen Shan Big Gate road in anger. Rather unsurprisingly, Red Bull has already visited the road, sending drifter Federico Sceriffo up the mountain with his drift car back in 2013.

VW will make the trek to northern China with the ID R in September of this year. The next outing for the vehicle will be at the Nurburgring Nordschleife this summer, where Dumas will attempt to break the 12.9-mile circuit’s outright lap record for electric vehicles, which currently stands at 6:45.90.