Pikes Peak International Hill Climb
The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC), also known as The Race to the Clouds, is an annual automobile and motorcycle hillclimb to the summit of Pikes Peak in Colorado, USA. The track measures 12.42 miles (19.99 km) over 156 turns, climbing 4,720 ft (1,440 m) from the start at Mile 7 on Pikes Peak Highway, to the finish at 14,110 ft (4,300 m), on grades averaging 7%. It used to consist of both gravel and paved sections, however as of August 2011, the highway is fully paved and as a result all subsequent runnings will be on tarmac from start to finish.
The race is on the FIA International Events Calendar and has featured competition from United States rally sanctioning body SCCA ProRally in 2004 and Rally America in 2005. It has taken place since 1916, making it the second oldest motorsport event in the United States of America. It is currently contested by a variety of classes of cars, trucks, motorcycles and quads. There are often numerous new classes tried and discarded year-to-year. On average there are 150 competitors.
The first running of the Pikes Peak Hill Climb was promoted by Spencer Penrose. Penrose had finished widening the narrow carriage road into a much wider "Pikes Peak Highway." He decided to encourage tourists to visit by creating a race to the clouds.
The oldest current class is the Open Wheel division which has been run since 1916 and has been won by such names as Mario Andretti, Al Unser, Bobby Unser, and Robby Unser (the current class record holder, achieving 10 minutes 5.85 seconds in 1994). On July 4, 1966, Bobby Unser won the event overall for the eighth time in ten years. The event was part of the AAA and USAC IndyCar championship from 1946 to 1970. First in the Stock Car class was Nick Sanborn Jr in an Oldsmobile Toronado. The overall record is held by Nobuhiro "Monster" Tajima from Japan who clocked a time of 9 minutes 51.278 seconds on June 26, 2011 driving the 910 hp mid-engined Suzuki SX4 Hill Climb Special, breaking the previous record (set in 2007 by himself) by more than ten seconds. The winning time in 1916 was 20:55.40, set by Rea Lentz.
In 1984 the first European racers took part in the PPIHC with Norwegian Rallycrosser Martin Schanche (Ford Escort Mk3 4x4) and French Rally lady Michèle Mouton (Audi Sport quattro), thereby starting a new era for the in Europe by then almost unknown American hillclimb. While Schanche failed to set a new track record, due to a flat right front tyre, Mouton (together with her World Rally Championship co-driver Fabrizia Pons from Italy) won the Open Rally category, but also failed to break the current overall track record.
In 1989, an award-winning short film about the 1988 event was released by French director Jean-Louis Mourey. The film, titled Climb Dance, captured the efforts of Finnish former World Rally Champion Ari Vatanen, as he won the event in a record-breaking time with his turbocharged Peugeot 405 T16.
The 2011 running was the last running of the Pikes Peak Hill Climb that had dirt sections of the course, for approximately 30% of the route, as Colorado Springs is being forced by a Sierra Club lawsuit to pave the road all the way to the summit. The paving project was completed in August, 2011.
The likes of Hill Climb champion Rod Millen have warned that paving the road will put an end to the race. However, the 2012 race saw over 170 racer registrations by December 2011, compared with 46 at the same time in 2011. Registration for the 2012 event had to be stopped to allow management of all the registrations they have received. Consideration was made to create a qualifying system for the 2012 race, and to run the 2013 race as a two-day event.
The 2012 race saw numerous unusual occurrences, namely a larger field than ever before and the longest race day in the race's known history. The 2012, 90th running of the race was the first time the race has been run on all tarmac and saw the toppling of several records, notably the overall record, being set by first Romain Dumas in the Open Division only to be overturned later in the day by Rhys Millen, son of the famed Rod Millen, in the Time Attack Division. Nobuhiro Tajima, the 2011 winner and at the time overall record holder, running in the Electric Division saw a surprising upset when his car caught fire in the lower portion of the course causing a DNF. One of the unusual highlights, and proof that tarmac has changed the race; Mike Ryan spun his big rig in a hairpin in a section called the "W"s, slamming into the guard rail, he then managed to execute a three point turn and continued on course, at which point he broke his old record by 5 seconds. The race also saw the first ever motorcycle to achieve a sub 10 minute time with Carlin Dunne in the 1205 Division riding a Ducati pulling out a 9:52.819 (only a bit over a second slower than the 2011 overall record).
Due to the race's postponement, weather also caused issues. Towards the end of the raceday, freezing rain and snow closed in on the summit, causing a race stoppage and the eventual relocation of the finish line to Glen Cove.
|Electric||Fumio Nutahara||Toyota Motorsport TMG EVP002||2012||10:15.380||116.9 km/h|
|Production Electric||Chad Hord||Nissan Leaf||2011||14:33.429||82.4 km/h|
|Open Wheel||Robby Unser||ADT/Speedway Chevy||1994||10:05.850||118.8 km/h|
|Pikes Peak Open||Romain Dumas||Porsche GT3R||2012||9:46.181||122.8 km/h|
|Super Stock Car||Clint Vahsholtz||Mustang||2011||10:55.603||109.8 km/h|
|Time Attack||Rhys Millen||Hyundai Genesis Coupe||2012||9:46.164||122.8 km/h||Overall|
|Unlimited||Nobuhiro Tajima||Suzuki SX4||2011||9:51.278||121.7 km/h|
|Vintage||Jess Neal||Plymouth 'Cuda||2012||12:03.858||99.4 km/h|
|250cc||Jason Archuleta||Yamaha YZ250||2012||11:41.015||102.6 km/h|
|450cc||Travis Newbold||Honda CRF450X||2012||11:06.618||107.9 km/h|
|750cc||Gary Trachy||TM 660 SMX||2012||10:40.753||112.3 km/h|
|1205cc||Carlin Dunne||Ducati Multistrada 1200||2012||9:52.819||121.4 km/h||Overall|
|Sidecar||John-Thomas Wood||Suzuki Windle F2||2012||11:41.406||102.6 km/h|
|Vintage||Marc LaNoue||Triumph Bonnie||2012||12:39.782||94.7 km/h|
|Quad Modified||Steve Tutt||Honda TRX450R||2012||11:40.521||102.7 km/h|
Current racing classes
- Car and truck
- Unlimited – "Anything Goes" This class is for anything assuming it passes technical inspection.
- Open Wheel – The traditional Pikes Peak race car. These range from Indy style cars to buggies.
- Mini Sprint – Small bore Open Wheel category. Smaller and lighter with no more than 220 cu in (3.6 L) engines and no forced induction.
- Super Stock Car – Traditional tube-frame stock cars. Must be less than 10 years old.
- Pro Trucks – Purpose-built tube-frame off-road pickups and SUVs.
- Pikes Peak Open – Cars or trucks that look like a stock vehicle from the outside, but retain little of the original design.
- Time Attack 4wd – Production based AWD or 4wd vehicles
- Time Attack 2wd – Production based 2wd vehicles.
- HPSS (High Performance Showroom Stock) – These are stock performance vehicles with upgraded safety features.
- Exhibition Car/Truck – Cars and trucks that don't fit into standard categories. Often these categories feature advances in alternative fuels or technologies.
- Vintage (RMVR) – New category for 2008
- Vintage Modified (RMVR Modified)
- Motorcycle and quad
- Motorcycle 1205 CC
- Motorcycle 750 CC
- Motorcycle 450 CC
- Motorcycle 250 CC
- Motorcycle Vintage
- Motorcycle Sidecar
- Quad Modified
- Exhibition Powersport
|1981||Bud Hoffpauir||Wells Coyote Special Roadster||13:10.100|
|1982||John Buffum||Audi Quattro||12:20.520|
|1983||John Buffum||Audi Quattro||12:27.910|
|1984||Michèle Mouton||Audi Sport Quattro||12:10.380|
|1985||Michèle Mouton||Audi Sport Quattro||11:25.390|
|1986||Bobby Unser||Audi Sport Quattro SL||11:09.220|
|1987||Walter Rohrl||Audi Sport Quattro||10:47.850|
|1988||Ari Vatanen||Peugeot 405 Turbo 16||10:47.220|
|1989||Robby Unser||Peugeot 405 Turbo 16||10:48.340|
|1993||Nobuhiro Tajima||Suzuki twin engine||10:44.220|
|1994||Rod Millen||Toyota Celica AWD Turbo||10:04.060|
|1996||Rod Millen||Toyota Celica||10:13.640|
|1997||Rod Millen||Toyota Celica||10:04.540|
|1998||Rod Millen||Toyota Tacoma||10:07.700|
|1999||Rod Millen||Toyota Tacoma||10:11.150|
|2001||Yutaka Awazuhara||Suzuki Vitara||11:01.770|
|2004||Stig Blomqvist||Ford RS200E||5:16.800*|
|2005||Koichi Horiuchi||Mitsubishi FTO||11:34.570|
|2006||Nobuhiro Tajima||Suzuki Sport||7:38.900*|
|2007||Nobuhiro Tajima||Suzuki XL7||10:01.408|
|2008||Nobuhiro Tajima||Suzuki Sport Co. Ltd. XL7||10:18.250|
|2009||Nobuhiro Tajima||Suzuki SX4||10:15.368|
|2010||Nobuhiro Tajima||Suzuki SX4||10:11.490|
|2011||Nobuhiro Tajima||Suzuki SX4||9:51.278|
|2012||David Donner||Palatov D4PPS||10:04.652|
- Course shortened
AAA/USAC IndyCar championship years (1946–1970)
- Race to the Sky
- Shelsley Walsh Speed Hill Climb
- Giants Despair Hillclimb
- Mount Washington Hillclimb Auto Race
- PPIHC race overview, http://www.ppihc.com/info/
- Competition Press & Autoweek, July 23, 1966, Vol.16, No.29, Pages 1, 3.
- CNN, April 15, 1999, http://articles.cnn.com/1999-04-15/nature/9904_15_pikes.peak.enn_1_settlement-clean-water-act-toll-road?_s=PM:NATURE
- "Denver Uphill Battle". Westword. 1997-06-12. Retrieved 2012-06-09.
- Daniel Chacón (2011-12-20). "Pikes Peak hill climb could expand to 2-day race". Colorado Springs Gazette. Retrieved 2013-06-01.
- "Pikes Peak International Hill Climb to run Aug. 12". Colorado Springs Gazette. 2012-07-03. Retrieved 2013-06-01.
- "Mike Ryan Sets New Pikes Peak Record!". DesignEngineering.com. Retrieved 2013-06-01.
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