It’s all good and well that the Ford Mustang Mach-E 1400 can create tremendous clouds of tire smoke when thrown around Ford’s proving grounds. That’s not too hard to do. But there’s a better way to get to know whether all that high-torque sorcery going on in that car means anything at all. That way is hill climbing.
When it comes to figuring out how power delivery, chassis stiffness, downforce, and grip interact, the hill climb is the ultimate test. There’s a reason that the Pike’s Peak is such hallowed ground for racing enthusiasts. If your car can make it up those twelve miles and 156 turns, it’s a respectable piece of machinery by anyone’s standards. And you know what kinds of cars tend to do best there? The ones that were conceived to be as hard-core as possible. The wild ones.
The Audi Quattro S1. The Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport. An 850-horsepower Dacia Duster with some GT-R parts slapped on. These are the kind of machines that make mincemeat of the vaunted Pike’s Peak Hill Climb. They’re outrageous. They’re showy. They get pushed to the limits of their drivers’ nerves out on that mountain road, trying to claw tenths of a second away from the thin atmosphere, the tightest curves, and the clutches of gravity itself. And they can do it because they’re incredible machines.
But these days? It’s electric power that rules the hill. Acura teased everyone with an electric-only NSX hill climb car at Pike’s Peak in 2016 and Volkswagen utterly obliterated the record in the iD.R prototype two years later. Batteries might be heavy, but the kind of acceleration and grip offered by electric motors driving all four wheels is simply unparalleled. I can only imagine the Gs pushing and pulling driver Romain Dumas’s body as he pushed the iD.R up the mountain.
That car is cool, but it needs company. My thought is that this new Mach-e from Ford and their friends at RTR. is the car to finally join the iD.R up in the clouds. It’s got power. It’s got grip. It’s unencumbered by thin mountain air leaving the fuel mixture lean. It’s perfect for the job. Now all Ford needs to do is find a driver. Maybe Ken Block is the man do it.