As a precursor to the upcoming Speedhunters coverage from Pikes Peak, enjoy this on-board video of a practice run up the lower-half of the course courtesy of Paul Dallanbach’s Unlimited-class, 1,400hp home-built monster.
First run in 1916, the Pikes Peak International Hillclimb in Colorado Springs is the second oldest continuous motorsport event in the US, younger only than the Indy 500. 2012 sees the 90th running of the Race To The Clouds: it follows the same 156-turn, 12.4-mile course as ever, but the big change for this year is that the entire course has been laid with tarmac, breaking up some of the challenge of its previously mixed-surface course.
That said, it’s not like the PPIHC has suddenly become a walk in the park, unless that park happens to be at an altitude of 9,390 feet. The course snakes its way up a further 5,000 feet to a final height of 14,110 feet: over 4km up. By that stage the driver will be as short of air as the straining engine: power will be down by 30 percent in the thin air at the summit, sapping precious tenths at every turn.
The wildfires that caused horrific damage to the region during June and July have been contained, and racing at Pikes Peak is back on the agenda. Almost 200 drivers from around the globe will be taking part in this year’s delayed event, participating across 16 classes: everything from single-seaters through bikes, sportscars and super-modifieds will be taking on the mountain.
The 10-minute barrier was finally breached by, of course, Pikes Peak specialist Nobuhiro ‘Monster’ Tajima, and times are set to tumble further this coming weekend with the first runs on the new smooth surface. The event kicks off today with the first early morning practice sessions; the race itself is on Sunday, August 12. It’ll never be the same as it was, but it will be even faster.