Sickening onboard video shows just how sketchy Heaven's Gate road is
When we first heard that Volkswagen was taking its barnstorming electric ID.R up the Heaven's Gate road up Tianmen Mountain, we thought this could be the start of a Chinese Nurburgring or Pikes Peak – Asia's own iconic time trial road. Now that we've seen this video, we're not so sure.
Volkswagen, and badass driver Romain Dumas, set a record time for the iconic 99 turns road last month at 7 minutes, 38.585 seconds. We were a little underwhelmed by the video at the time. Now, a full dashcam video has been released of the run, and we are fully whelmed. Perhaps a little too whelmed.
Full-screen that sucker below, and put yourself in the passenger seat with Dumas as he makes his run. My stomach was lurching by ten seconds in, due to the prodigious acceleration of the ID. R. Then there's the bumpy, patchy, sketchy road surface; you can feel the car bouncing, sliding and crashing its way through the bumps, and hear the wheels spinning up as they bounce and float off the surface.
And as scary as that is, what's truly terrifying is how narrow and treacherous the road itself looks at race pace. Vertical cliffs on one side, vertical drop-off on the other, and all Dumas has to stop him going over the side, if he loses control on one of the mountain's many bumpy acceleration or braking zones, are a bunch of small concrete bollards.
This is no Nurburgring. This isn't even a Pikes Peak. This feels closer to watching the motorcycling madmen of the Isle of Man TT rubbing their shoulders against bluestone walls at speeds over 186 mph (300 kmh). The ID. R is a shockingly fast car, but faster ones are coming, and I don't want to see what a faster lap of Tianmen Mountain looks like. I just want my mommy. Romain Dumas, you're a bad, bad man.
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And can anyone explain to me the advantage of the two grip steering wheel on this type of course? They have to crank the wheel like rally drivers and I don't think your gonna see ant rally drivers using the rectangular steering whells. This guy has to let go, go hand over hand and find the grip again. It seems crazy! On a fast "relatively" straight track it makes tons of sense but in the mountains?