The Tianmen Mountain Big Gate Road will feature 99 corners and ascend 1,100 metres along its 11km length, guaranteeing an adrenalin filled drive.
A motorsport expedition to China: On 2 September, Volkswagen will take on the Tianmen Mountain Big Gate Road - a road shrouded in legend. The goal is to set a record time with the fully-electric ID.R. Opened in 2006, after eight years of construction, the Big Gate Road has already taken on mythical status.
With a total of 99 corners, the Tianmen Mountain Big Gate Road meanders up the mountain like a flying dragon With 99 tight corners, the road winds its way roughly 11 kilometres to 'Heaven's Gate' - a natural, 131.5m arch in the cliﬀs on Tianmenshan, or, 'Heaven's Gate Mountain'. The locals speak respectfully of the route, which meanders up the mountain like a ﬂying dragon.
Romain Dumas, who has already set records with the fully-electric ID.R on Pikes Peak, at the Nurburgring-Nordschleife, and at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, will tackle this extremely tricky road at speeds ranging from 25 to 230km/h.
The 99 corners on Big Gate Road are a real test: Virtually every single one of them is a tight hairpin, with nothing more than a few concrete blocks separating the road from the precipitous mountainside. The sections of road appear to be stacked on top of each other as they wind rhythmically upwards.
At the top of the Tianmenshan mountain is a natural, 131.5m arch known as the 'Heaven's Gate' The surface of the road is made of concrete slabs, which provide suﬃcient grip but make for an extremely bumpy ride. Turn 88, with its radius of only six metres and a road width between ﬁve and six metres, is a bottleneck, which can probably only be taken at about 25km/h. In contrast, the 660bhp Volkswagen ID.R will hit roughly 230km/h on the longest section.
Anyone who does not happen to be attempting to break a record or, on any other day, taking a tourist bus up Big Gate Road, can check out the breath-taking route from the cable car - the longest in the world.
The cable car route runs from the nearby Zhangjiajie station to 'Heaven's Gate' and the temple on Tianmen, which was originally built during the Tang dynasty. Also worth checking out are the kilometres of paths built along the rock face around the mountain top, including sections with glass ﬂoors. Seven escalators inside the mountain, or 999 steps at a gradient of 45 degrees on the mountain side, lead to the heart of the natural arch.