Pikes Peak International Hill Climb
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Pikes Peak International Hill Climb
Pikes Peak International Hill Climb
PPIHC Non-Dated Logo.png
Pikes Peak Course.svg
Location Colorado Springs, Colorado USA
38°50?N 105°02?W / 38.84°N 105.04°W / 38.84; -105.04
First race 1916 (1916)
Last race 2017
Circuit information
Surface Tarmac (and historically, dirt)
Length 19.99 km (12.42 mi)
Turns 156
Lap record 8:13.878 (Sébastien Loeb, Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak, 2013, Unlimited)
Randy Schranz rising above treeline at the 85th Race to the Clouds, 2007
Monster Tajima Electric Car displayed during 2013 PPIHC Fan Fest at Colorado Springs, USA
Sébastien Loeb's Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak in 2013
Suzuki Grand Vitara (aka. Escudo) at the 2006 Race to the Clouds

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 7.2%.[1] 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 asphalt from start to finish.

The race is self sanctioned and has taken place since 1916.[1] 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 130 competitors. The PPIHC operates as the Pikes Peak Auto Hill Climb Educational Museum to organize the annual motorsports event.


Early history

The first Pikes Peak Hill Climb was promoted by Spencer Penrose, who had converted the narrow carriage road into the much wider Pikes Peak Highway.

The first Penrose Trophy was awarded in 1916 to Rea Lentz with a time of 20:55.60.[2][3]

The event was part of the AAA and USAC IndyCar championship from 1946 to 1970.[4]

European involvement

In 1984 the first European racers took part in the PPIHC with Norwegian Rallycrosser Martin Schanche (Ford Escort Mk3 4x4) and French Rally driver Michèle Mouton (Audi Sport quattro), thereby starting a new era for European teams in the almost unknown American hillclimb. While Schanche failed to set a new track record, due to a flat right front tire, 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 Turbo-16.

Paving of the highway

The City of Colorado Springs began to pave the highway in 2002 after losing a lawsuit against the Sierra Club, which sued on account of erosion damage to streams, reservoirs, vegetation and wetlands downstream from the 1.5 million tons of road gravel deposited over several decades.[5][6] The local authority paved approximately 10% of the route each year after the order. The 2011 event was the last race with dirt sections, comprising approximately 25% of the course.[7]

Hill Climb champion Rod Millen warned at the time that paving the road would put an end to the race.[8] However, the 2012 race saw over 170 racer registrations by December 2011, compared with 46 at the same time the previous year.[9]

Emergence of electric vehicles

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 asphalt 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 asphalt 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.[10] Jeremy Foley flew off the road at Devil's Playground and totaled his Mitsubishi Lancer.[11] 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.

2013 saw the nine-minute barrier shattered by WRC legend Sébastien Loeb, with a time of 8:13.878, while Rhys Millen ended up second with 9:02.192, beating his own record by more than 44 seconds.[12]Jean-Philippe Dayrault finished third with a time of 9:42.740, and Paul Dallenbach fourth with a time of 9:46.001, making it four drivers to beat the record set only the previous year.

2015 was the first time in the history of the race that an electric car won in all classes. Second place was earned by an electric car, too. Already in 2014, electric cars were at the places 2 and 3.[13][14][15] In an interview with the winning driver, Rhys Millen, he said that he had lost power to the car's rear motor pack before the halfway point, and had expected his run to be 30 seconds faster.[16]

Nobuhiro Tajima's Suzuki SX4 during his record breaking 9:51 run in 2011
Ralph Murdock breaking the vintage class modified (RMVR modified) record with a time of 12:51.004 in a 1970 Chevrolet Camaro

Current racing classes

4-Wheeled Divisions & Classes

Unlimited Division

  • Anything goes in the Unlimited Division as long as it passes safety inspection and meets the PPIHC's general rules. The Unlimited Division features the most exotic vehicles, most of them built specifically for this race. These race cars have the best chance of setting a new overall race record. In 2013, Sébastien Loeb set a new record of 8'13"878 in a Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak, beating Rhys Millen's previous record.[17]

Electric Car Division

  • The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb recognizes the future of electric technology in the automotive industry and Pikes Peak as the ultimate proving ground to test and display it. While internal combustion engines gradually lose power as they near the Summit due to the lack of oxygen at high altitudes, these EV (Electric Vehicles) racers maintain the same amount of power at 14,115 feet as they do at sea-level. In an effort to allow EV constructors to showcase the engineering excellence of these truly unique vehicles there are 2 classes within the Electric Division.
Electric Modified Class
  • This class features the cutting edge of electric technology as it applies to racing.
Electric Production Class
  • This class features mass-produced EVs that are readily available to the public. Very few modifications are allowed.

Time Attack Division

  • A division for production based two and four wheel drive vehicles; this division features the Time Attack 1 Class and Time Attack 2 Production Class. Eligibility is restricted to close-bodied four-wheeled vehicles.
Time Attack 1 Class
  • This class features production based race vehicles with more modification and specialization than what is seen in the Time Attack 2 Class.
Time Attack 2 Production Class
  • This class features production based race vehicles with minor modifications allowed.

Pikes Peak Challenge Car Division

  • Established in 2014, the Pikes Peak Challenge Division encompasses a wide variety of class options.
Open Wheel Class
  • The traditional Pikes Peak racecars with appearances ranging from Indy style sprinters to dune buggies. Open wheel cars have competed in every Pikes Peak International Hill Climb since the inaugural race in 1916.
Pikes Peak Open Class
  • These cars may look like stock cars from the outside, but major modifications can be done to their engines, transmissions and suspension.
Pikes Peak Vintage Car/Truck Class
  • This class is exclusively eligible for vehicles manufactured in 1990 or earlier and have previously competed in PPIHC. Competitors can vary from Ford Mustangs and Chevrolet Camaros, to Datsun 240Zs and Porsche 911s.
Exhibition Class
  • In keeping with the mission statement of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, specifically to "demonstrate advancements in the practical application of motor sports technology," the race encourages competitors with vehicles that do not meet the technical specifications of PPIHC sanctioned divisions and classes to enter in the Exhibition Class. While there are no class records for this class because of its exhibition status, entries are eligible for recording an overall course record.

2-Wheeled Divisions & Classes

Pikes Peak Lightweight Division

  • Two-stroke and four-stroke engines are eligible. Single and twin-cylinder engines are allowed.

Pikes Peak Middleweight Division

  • Competitors are eligible to enter bikes with 1-4 cylinders and a displacement of up to 849cc.

Pikes Peak Heavyweight Division (Formerly known as Pikes Peak Open Motorcycle in 2013)

  • This is the top motorcycle division offered at Pikes Peak.

Pikes Peak Electric Motorcycle Division

  • There are 2 classes within the Pikes Peak Electric Motorcycle Division.
Electric Modified Class
  • This class features the cutting edge of electric technology as it applies to motorcycle racing.
Electric Production Class
  • This class features mass-produced EVs that are readily available to the public. Very few modifications are allowed.

Pikes Peak Challenge Motorcycle Division

  • Established is 2014, the Pikes Peak Challenge Motorcycle Division encompasses a wide variety of class options.
Pikes Peak 250 Class
  • These machines are usually factory built for racing with two-stroke and four-stroke single or twin cylinder engines.
Quad Class
  • Essentially four-wheeled motorcycles, these machines are limited only by tread width and the use of an ATV engine of 500cc or less.
Sidecar Class
  • Three wheels, two riders ("driver" and "passenger")
Pikes Peak Vintage Motorcycle
  • This division includes 650cc-750cc 4-stroke twin cylinder bikes that qualify for current AHRMA (American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association) events.
UTV/Exhibition Powersport
  • This division includes Utility Terrain Vehicles (UTVs) and other vehicles that don't fit perfectly in other Pikes Peak Divisions. While there are no records for this class because of its exhibition status entries are eligible for recording an overall course record.[18]

Race Records

Current 4-Wheel Division & Class Records[19]
Division Class Year 2016 Name Vehicle Time 10:56:878
Electric Modified 2016 Rhys Millen e0 PP100 8:57.118
Production 2016 Blake Fuller Tesla Model S 11:48.264
Pikes Peak Challenge Exhibition 2015 Tetsuya Yamano Honda Electric SH-AWD with Precision All-Wheel Steer 10:23.829
Open Wheel 2015
Paul Dallenbach
Clint Vahsholtz
PVA Dallenbach Special
2013 Ford Open
Pikes Peak Open 2012
Romain Dumas
Peter Cunningham
2012 Porsche GT3 R
2017 Acura TLX GT
Vintage 2014 Ralf Christensson 1967 Ford Mustang GT350 10:46.000
Time Attack Time Attack 1 2013 Paul Dallenbach Hyundai Genesis Coupe 9:46.001
Time Attack 2 Production 2015
David Donner
Rhys Millen
2014 Porsche 911 Turbo S
2017 Acura NSX
Unlimited 2013 Sébastien Loeb Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak 8:13.878
New Records for 2016 listed in red.
Current 2-Wheel Division & Class Records
Division Class Year Name Vehicle Time
Pikes Peak Lightweight 2015
Codie Vahsholtz
Davey Durelle
2006 KTM SMR
2009 Aprilia SXV450
Pikes Peak Middleweight 2014
Eric Piscione
Codie Vahsholtz
2013 Ducati Streetfighter
2016 Husqvarna Supermoto
Pikes Peak Heavyweight (Open)
Pikes Peak Heavyweight
Jeremy Toye
Chris Fillmore
2013 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R
2017 KTM Super Duke 1290 R
Electric Motorcycle Modified 2013 Carlin Dunne 2013 Lightning Motorcycle LS-218 electric Superbike 10:00.694
Production 2014 Jeff Clark 2013 Zero FX 11:59.814
Pikes Peak Challenge Motorcycle Exhibition Powersport 2016 Jeremy Toye 2016 Victory Project 156 10:19.777
Pikes Peak 250cc 2013 Codie Vahsholtz 1996 Kawasaki KX 250 11:24.792
Quad 2016 Cyril Combes 2011 Suzuki KTM JF Prototype 11:05.664
Sidecar 2016 John Wood 1999 Shelbourne Superlite F2 11:26.644
Vintage 2012 Marc LaNoue 1969 Triumph Bonneville 12:39.782
New Records for 2016 listed in red.

Overall Winners

Ari Vatanen's 1988 Peugeot 405 T16
Rod Millen's Pikes Peak Toyota Tacoma

From Open Wheel Class, Unlimited Division (formerly 'Open Rally'), and Pikes Peak Open Class unless otherwise indicated.

Year Winner Car Time
1981 United States Bud Hoffpauir Wells Coyote Special Roadster 13:10.100
1982 United States John Buffum Audi Quattro 12:20.520
1983 United States John Buffum Audi Quattro 12:27.910
1984 United States Bill Brister 1981 Wells Coyote 11:44.490
1985 France Michèle Mouton Audi Sport Quattro S1 11:25.390
1986 United States Bobby Unser Audi Sport Quattro E2 11:09.220
1987 Germany Walter Röhrl Audi Sport Quattro E2 Pikes Peak 10:47.850
1988 Finland Ari Vatanen Peugeot 405 Turbo 16 10:47.220
1989 United States Robby Unser Peugeot 405 Turbo 16 10:48.340
1991 United States David Donner Donner-Dykstra Chevy 11:12.420
1992 Japan Nobuhiro Tajima Suzuki Swift 12:51.630
1993 United States Paul Dallenbach Davis Chevrolet 10:43.630
1994 New Zealand Rod Millen Toyota Celica AWD Turbo 10:04.060
1995 Japan Nobuhiro Tajima Suzuki Escudo 7:53.000*
1996 New Zealand Rod Millen Toyota Celica 10:13.640
1997 New Zealand Rod Millen Toyota Celica 10:04.540
1998 New Zealand Rod Millen Toyota Tacoma 10:07.700
1999 New Zealand Rod Millen Toyota Tacoma 10:11.150
2000 Sweden Per Eklund Saab 9-3 11:21.580
2001 Japan Yutaka Awazuhara Suzuki Vitara 11:01.770
2002 Sweden Per Eklund Saab 9-3 11:13.200
2003 United States Paul Dallenbach 2000 PVA-01 11:34.700
2004 Sweden Stig Blomqvist Ford RS200E 5:16.800*
2005 Japan Koichi Horiuchi Mitsubishi FTO 11:34.570
2006 Japan Nobuhiro Tajima Suzuki Sport 7:38.900*
2007 Japan Nobuhiro Tajima Suzuki XL7 10:01.408
2008 Japan Nobuhiro Tajima Suzuki Sport Co. Ltd. XL7 10:18.250
2009 Japan Nobuhiro Tajima Suzuki SX4 10:15.368
2010 Japan Nobuhiro Tajima Suzuki SX4 10:11.490
2011 Japan Nobuhiro Tajima Suzuki SX4 9:51.278
2012 New Zealand Rhys Millen Hyundai Genesis Coupe 9:46.164
2013 France Sébastien Loeb Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak 8:13.878
2014 France Romain Dumas Norma M20 RD 9:05.801
2015 New Zealand Rhys Millen eO PP03** 9:07.222
2016 France Romain Dumas Norma M20 RD 8:51.445
2017 France Romain Dumas Norma M20 RD 9:05.672

*Course shortened
**Electric modified class

AAA/USAC IndyCar championship years (1946-1970)

See also


  1. ^ a b PPIHC race overview, "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-07-27. Retrieved . 
  2. ^ "All Time Kings of the Mountain" (PDF). PPIHC.org. 
  3. ^ Pikes Peak History - PikesPeak.us.com
  4. ^ Competition Press & Autoweek, July 23, 1966, Vol.16, No.29, Pages 1, 3.
  5. ^ Gazette, The (30 September 2011). "Paving completed on Pike's Peak road, 13 years after Sierra Club suit". denverpost.com. 
  6. ^ "CNN - Settlement reached in Pikes Peak suit - April 15, 1999". www.cnn.com. 
  7. ^ "Paving Pikes Peak". PPIHC.org. 
  8. ^ "Denver Uphill Battle". Westword. 1997-06-12. Retrieved . 
  9. ^ Daniel Chacón (2011-12-20). "Pikes Peak hill climb could expand to 2-day race". Colorado Springs Gazette. Retrieved . 
  10. ^ "Mike Ryan Sets New Pikes Peak Record!". DesignEngineering.com. Retrieved . 
  11. ^ "Jeremy Foley's Pikes Peak Crash Story In Detail: Video". Motor Authority. Retrieved . 
  12. ^ "8:13.878--Sebastien Loeb vaporizes the Pikes Peak record". Retrieved . 
  13. ^ "Electric power lights up Pikes Peak". www.gizmag.com. Retrieved . 
  14. ^ TEGNA. "Electric car wins title at Pikes Peak race". KUSA. Retrieved . [permanent dead link]
  15. ^ Yoney, Domenick. "Rhys Millen wins Pikes Peak under all-electric power". Autoblog. Retrieved . 
  16. ^ The Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (2015-06-28), Rhys Millen Wins Pikes Peak First Electric Car Victory, retrieved  
  17. ^ Red Bull (2013-07-02), Sébastien Loeb's Record Setting Pikes Peak Run - Full POV, retrieved  
  18. ^ "2016 Race Divisions and Classes | PPIHC". www.ppihc.com. Retrieved . 
  19. ^ "PPIHC Race Records" (PDF). www.PPIHC.com. PPIHC. Retrieved 2017. 

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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