Jun 20

Pikes Peak Preview 2013

This weekend the 90th running of the Le Mans 24hr will be at the center of attention for any racing fan and gearhead.  Let’s not forget there is another event starting this weekend, with an even longer heritage, and it’s in the good old U.S. of A. Hit the jump for a look at the 91st running of the Pikes Peak Hill Climb.

Hill climbs have been a staple in motorsports since the motor was first added to the sport.  Many of them are grassroots events with rather loose regulation on what kinds of cars or motorcycles can be run.

The great grand daddy of all hill climbs, at least in the New World, is the Pikes Peak Hillclimb.  First run as an event to draw tourists to the Pikes Peak Highway, which winds it’s way to the top of the 14,115ft mountain.

In it’s 91 year history the Pikes Peak jillclimb has seen all manner of car test themselves against clock as they raced to the clouds.  For most of those years the road was at least partially dirt but in 2011 the final dirt section of the highway was paved over.  Many long time fans claimed the race would die.

Surprisingly, the paved course hasn’t killed the Pikes Peak Hill Climb, if anything it seems to have invigorated the race to the clouds.

This year there are a number of factory efforts in the Unlimited class (which really is absolutely unlimited) and some very interesting privateer entries as well.

The biggest news is that Peugeot is back with a dedicated Pikes Peak car and 9 time WRC champion Sebastien Leob at the wheel.  Many are picking Leob as a favorite to win the race.

Slightly overshadowed by the mega star power of Leob is Rhys Millen.  A long time competitor at Pikes Peak Millen is driving a Hyundai prototype that wouldn’t look out of place on the starting grid of a Rolex series race.

image courtesy: http://www.jph-dayraut.com/

My personal favorite is the MINI of Jean Phillippe Dayraut.  The French ice racer will  make his second attempt at an unlimited class win in the 900+ horsepower MINI.  Are you curious to hear what a 900hp MINI sounds like? Wonder no more.

Lets not forget Monster Tajima.  He’ll be driving a further evolution of his record setting 2011 car, cheekily called a Toyota GT86.  I’m pretty sure there is absolutely nothing under the hood that is even remotely Toyota GT86.

More interesting is the insane car that Monster will pilot in the electric class.  With the potential to be nearly as fast as the unlimited cars its a pretty amazing piece of tech, not to mention that it looks crazy.

We’ll try and keep you updated with news from the mountain over the course of the next week so keep an eye on the site and I’ll leave you with a few more images from Pikes Peak 2013.

For more on Pikes Peak check out their official website: http://www.ppihc.com/