Astride the beast with two engines
Volkswagen is heading to the notorious Pikes Peak hillclimb with a one-off monster. Michael Taylor drove the one they tried last time
This car was within a thousand metres of knocking off Walter Rohrl’s wicked Group B-inspired Audi Quattro at Pikes Peak in 1987, and then it died. Now it’s back, as wicked and nasty and loud and horrifying as it was back then. And we’ve driven it. Something about old racing cars makes them frightening to their core. It’s not even that you might crash them, but that modern fingers, conditioned to dual-clutch paddles, could miss a gear and destroy a gearbox or the valve train, and there’s often no spare in existence. But crashing them is, for the wise, always in the mind as well. The evolution of the roll cage has been a wonderful thing and now there are monster side-intrusion bars, big diagonals, neck restraints in the seat and even netting to stop flailing hands. They didn’t do that sort of thing in 1987. They threw in some scaffolding as best they knew how, from experience, rather than bunging in support where the computer told them to, based on exacting geometry. This was engineer...