When Ford entered an electric van into this year's Pikes Peak Hill Climb, it intended to set a record by completing the course under the nine-minute mark in the Open Class competition. The existing SuperVan 4.0 was the starting point for the updated vehicle, but the Blue Oval had to modify the EV for the gruelling 12.5-mile course.
The transition from SuperVan 4.0 to 4.2 required the company to cut 400 kilograms from the prototype, but it still weighed over 2,000 kg. Ford Performance engineers had to optimise nearly every aspect of the vehicle for the run, including ride height, brakes, and suspension.
Gallery: Ford SuperVan 4.2 Pikes Peak Record
The SuperVan 4.2 isn’t as powerful as the 4.0, making 1,400 bhp for the run with a triple-motor setup. The 4.0 has four motors that pump out 1,972 bhp, but the lack of power didn't stop the 4.2 from achieving Ford's targeted time.
Ford only had six weeks to prepare the updated van for testing, and things didn't go as planned. The test runs damaged a small part of the SuperVan's transmission, forcing the team to make changes ahead of the official run. Pikes Peak isn't a race track. It's a public road with all the imperfections of one, which isn't the optimal surface for racing.
On the day of the race, the Ford completed the course in 8 minutes, 47.682 seconds, crushing the previous class record of 9 minutes, 24.433 seconds set in 2019. While Ford and the team were quite ecstatic about the result, the SuperVan failed to win the overall race. A 2018 Wolf TSC-FS in the Unlimited class completed the hill climb in 8 minutes, 40.080 seconds.
Racing driver Romain Dumas, who holds the record for the fastest-ever Pikes Peak hill climb run, piloted the van up the course. He was the overall winner in the Hill Climb in 2014 and 2016, and Dumas won Le Mans twice. His experience helped him navigate the 156-turn course with its 1,440 metre (4,725-foot) elevation change, qual to about four-and-a-half Eiffel Towers stacked end-to-end.
Check out the Supervan 4.0: