It’s Alive (II): Pikes Peak Hill Climb (eng)

Click here for the German version.


Rules are essential in motorsports. Where they are missing, things tend to go a bit over the top – remember Group-B Rallying in the 80s. 100 miles an hour, over gravel, with 600 turbo-bhp at your foot – not the safest concept in motoring history. Today, rules in most racing series restrain power output as well as downforce or weight, not only for safety, but also to open the competition to a wider range of teams.

But, sometimes, you wonder what it would be like without all these restraints. What would happen if engineers were allowed to put their wildest (and most monstrous) dreams on the track. There seems only one place where literally „anything goes“ that goes, and it is the annual Pikes Peak Hill Climb. It is basically a race up a mountain in Colorado, 20 kilometers in length, 1,4 kilometers in height. Like any motorsport, it has numerous classes, changing from year to year, but on top of all of them sits one that is simply called „Unlimited“.

And that’s what it is. Anything goes. Built whatever you can think of and race it. For example, after the end of Group-B, Walter Röhrl took his Audi S1 here, added huge wings on all sides of the car, and gave the mountain a proper go. In 2011, Japanese hill-climb legend Nobuhiro „Monster“ Tajima was the first to finish the 156 turns in under 10 minutes, riding a 900-horsepower Suzuki up the hill. Mind you, he was 60 years old. In 2012, an electric car, also from Suzuki, came close, finishing at 10 minutes 15 seconds. The annual event is far from being global business, but every now and then, it is worth to have a look at what happens at the Peak.

Like this year. Because Peugeot has announced that they will compete in the 2013 Pikes Peak Race, which is scheduled on June the 30th. As usual, when a large manufacturer enters a race series, they mean business. For starters, they got themselves a proper rally driver: Sebastian Loeb, who won the WRC title nine times before he dropped out this year – he got bored, presumably. Second, they built quite a car, a traditionally outrageous one:

208 T16

Just look at all the wings. Some numbers: 875 horses from a biturbo-V6, which is arranged in the middle of the car – the 208 T16 only shares its name with the road version of the 208. All that power goes to all four wheels, which will have to move less than a tonne, even with driver and petrol on board – the car itself is only 875 kg. Which is Lotus Exige territory, which boasts „only“ 200 bhp and still goes like stink.

All in all, it sounds like quite a package for quite a race. The Pikes Peak Hill Climb is maybe the most outrageous motorsport you can do today, and for that alone it should be hailed. How outrageous, well you might want to check out the result of „Monster“ Tajima’s cooperation with GoPro in 2011:

Image courtesy: Peugeot Sport

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3 Antworten zu It’s Alive (II): Pikes Peak Hill Climb (eng)

  1. Pingback: It’s Alive (II): Pikes Peak Hill Climb (ger) | Da vorne links

  2. notam18 schreibt:

    This is completely insane. I just drove up there today in at least 25 or 30 minutes. Okay, I only had a 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan and six other people sitting with me in the car but what he did is just crazy. Unfortunately, because of the ultra wide-angle of the GoPro, you don’t really get a feeling for how steep the road is. Above the timberline, it’s really really crazy.
    I talked to guy today who is working at Pikes Peak and he mentioned that „back then“, part of the road wasn’t paved yet, so they had to build a car for paved and unpaved roads. But in 2013, Peugeot only needs to build a car for paved roads since all the road is paved now.

  3. Benjamin schreibt:

    That’s right, they continously paved the road all the way to the top. In the 80s, most of it was actually gravel, so it was a completely different drive. The new tarmac means it is quite possible that Peugeot will set a new overall record.
    This, btw., they claimed in an interview already, hinting that it might even be possible to complete the climb in under 9 (!) minutes.

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