This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Pikes Peak International Hillclimb. 100 racers from all over the world will showcase their talent by racing to the clouds on June 26th. This year’s race stands to be the most important in recent years with competitors showcasing their engineering capabilities by bringing forth some of the most revolutionary racecars. Some of the cars are powered solely by electricity while others such as the Enviate are built specifically to attack the mountain boasting F1 level aerodynamics testing the limitations of grip through thin air on treacherous mountain roads.
Pikes Peak has progressed over the years, starting life as a dirt road hill climb and eventually being paved to the smooth surface it is today. Times have changed and as have the cars, the current record holder Sebastian Loeb ran an 8:13.87 two years ago and It is the record to beat. With the magnitude of cars that are climbing up the mountain this year I’m sure there won’t be a lack of competition trying to dethrone Mr. Loeb’s screamin’ fast time. Rhys Millen, the current electric class record holder will be returning to defend his blazing 9:07.222 from last year. Pikes Peak to the US is what Isle of Mans is to the UK, it’s dangerous, fabulous, and fantastic. The mountain is 12.42 miles long consisting of 156 corners with an elevation change of 4,720 feet.
It may seem easy but the level of engineering required to conquer Pikes Peak is no small feat. When you’re at the summit of 14,110 feet, your 300 hp becomes 180 hp. Your vehicle’s aerodynamics are also affected. The downforce you make at the top is roughly 60% of what you would make at sea level. As an example the Enviate is a custom chassis vehicle built with aerodynamics in mind. It will produce 10,000lbs of downforce and 1,400hp at sea level, when you’re near the finish line the vehicle would be making closer to 6,000lbs of downforce. It takes hours of number crunching effort along with months of trial and error to put together a Pikes Peak Racecar, all for less than 10 minutes of glory as the pilots try their best to set a new record for others to beat. Welcome to Pikes Peak Racing, it’s a glorious sport. What cars are you excited to see challenge the mountain? Who are you excited to see race? Will the public opinion of electric vehicles change after every major racing organization incorporates electric race cars?