Cargo vans are not the first priority when choosing a performance platform, but they have been used in racing series for many years with great success, including the famous Dajivan race in Japan. Ford took the format to a new level not long ago with an electric supervan, but the automaker has big plans for this year’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.
SuperVan 4.2 is the evolution of EV with a unique setup for hillclimb events. Ford says the new aero design produces up to 4,400 pounds of downforce at 150 miles per hour, and numerous spoilers and wings are made from lightweight carbon fiber. Further weight savings were achieved by reducing the number of electric motors from four to three and changing the battery to lithium polymer pouch cells.
The van’s three electric motors produce 1,400 horsepower, and Ford updated the van’s regenerative braking system with carbon-ceramic discs, so cutting weight didn’t mean cutting power. Magnesium forged wheels and Pirelli P Zero race tires come with new driveshafts for traction, and the interior has been further cleaned up to save weight.
This year’s Pikes Peak event has recently been threatened by snow packs, leaving hikers stranded in deep powder at the summit. Acura will be entering the event in his new Integra Type S and crazy NSX, while Leah Bullock will drive a Hoony Pegasus Porsche and run untimed in honor of his late father Ken Block It’s planned.
Ford has a long history in the mountains, dating back to the first runs on the hill climb. The inaugural event in 1916 was climbed by a Model T, and in other years many Fords made the summit. In 2009 the rally team rode an 800-horsepower Ford Fiesta, and last year Shelby entered the Mustang GT500SE to mark the event’s 100th anniversary.