Pikes Peak International Hill Climb

Pikes Peak International Hill Climb

The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC), also known as the The Race to the Clouds, is an annual automobile and motorcycle hillclimb to the summit of Pikes Peak in Colorado, a distance of 19.99 km (12.42 miles) over 156 turns, climbing m to ft|1439 from the start at Mile 7 on Pikes Peak Highway at m to ft|2862 on grades averaging 7% over both gravel and paved sections.

The race is on the FIA International Events Calendar and has featured competition from United States rally sanctioning body SCCA ProRally in 2004 and Rally America in 2005. It has taken place since 1916 and 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.

The first running of the Pikes Peak Hill Climb was promoted by Spencer Penrose. Penrose had finished widening the narrow carriage road into a much wider "Pikes Peak Highway." He decided to encourage tourist to visit by creating a race to the clouds.

On average there are 150 competitors. The oldest current class is the Open Wheel division which has been run since 1916 and has been won by such names as Mario Andretti, Al Unser, Bobby Unser, and Robby Unser (the current class record holder, achieving 10:05.85 min in 1994). The overall record is held by Nobuhiro "Monster" Tajima from Japan who clocked a time of 10:01.408 on July 21st 2007 driving the 1000 hp mid-engined Suzuki XL7 Hill Climb Special, breaking the previous record (set in 1994 by Rod Millen) by less than three seconds. The winning time in 1916 was 20:55.40, set by Rea Lentz.

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 T16.

The 2006 race was on July 1, a change from the more common July 4 (Independence Day) running, as was the 2007 race on July 21.

Current records

*1994: The Open wheel division record was set by Robby Unser at 10:05.85. He was driving a 1993 ADT/Speedway chassis powered by a Chevrolet engine.
*1994: Bobby Regester achieved the record time of 11:39.17 in the Super Stock category. He was driving a 1993 Chevrolet Camaro.
*2000: Per Eklund achieved the record time of 11:21.58 in his Saab 9-3 Viggen 4x4 while racing the Pikes Peak Open category.
*2002: Bruce Canepa, Tandem axle Semi, stopped the clock in 13:57.83, breaking his year-old record of 13:59.96 in his 1999 Kenworth.
*2003: Jeri Unser broke the Electric Vehicle record with a time of 14:33.12, in the Compact Power ER3. The previous year's electric record was set by Tim Eckert at 15:18.6 in the car's predecessor, the ER2.
*2006: Mike Ryan topped his old record for the Single axle Semi division with a time of 12:43.67.
*2006: Charles McDowell set the first record in the Pro Trucks category. His 2006 Ford F150 Pro Truck got him to the top in 14:32.97.
*2007: The overall fastest time on the mountain was achieved by Nobuhiro Tajima at 10:01.408. He was in a Suzuki XL7 Hill Climb Special while racing the Unlimited category. He beat the previous record set by Rod Millen set 13 years before in 1994 of 10:04.06.
*2007: The Mini Sprint record was broken by Todd Cook. He ran 11:37.62 in his 2000 Wells TCE Coyote despite a spin on the way up, bettering his own record set in 2005.

Current Racing Classes

Car and Truck
*Unlimited - "Anything Goes" This class is for anything assuming it passes technical inspection.
*Open Wheel - The traditional Pikes Peak race car. These range from Indy style cars to buggies.
*Mini Sprint - Small bore Open Wheel category. Smaller and lighter with no more than 220ci (3.6 L) engines and no forced induction.
*Super Stock Car - Traditional tube-frame stock cars. Must be less than 10 years old.
*Pro Trucks - Purpose-built tube-frame off-road pickups and SUV's.
*Pikes Peak Open - Cars or trucks that look like a stock vehicle from the outside, but retain little of the original design.
*Time Attack 4wd - Production based AWD or 4wd vehicles
*Time Attack 2wd - Production based 2wd vehicles.
*HPSS (High Performance Showroom Stock) - These are stock performance vehicles with upgraded safety features.
*Exhibition Car/Truck- Cars and trucks that don't fit into standard categories. Often these categories feature advances in alternative fuels or technologies.
*Vintage- New category for 2008

Motorcycle and Quad
*Motorcycle 1200 CC
*Motorcycle 750 CC
*Motorcycle Supermoto
*Motorcycle Quad 500
*Motorcycle 450 CC
*Motorcycle 250 CC
*Motorcycle Quad 450
*Motorcycle Vintage
*Motorcycle Sidecar
*Motorcycle/Quad Exhibition

External links

* [http://www.ppihc.com/ Pikes Peak International Hill Climb website]
* [http://www.pikespeakcolorado.com/ Pikes Peak Colorado website]
* [http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3368948773832597270 Climb Dance at Google Video]

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