The Race to the Clouds – A Very Dangerous Hillclimb

Hillclimbing is one of the oldest forms of Motorsport, originating from Nice, France in 1898. The following year saw a Hillclimb event emerge in the UK in which 40 drivers contested a 325 yard climb at Richmond-upon-Thames. Today, hillclimbing is a drastic, defiant, and accessible branch of motorsport

Source: RealClassics
Source: RealClassic

One of the hillclimbs that is world famous is Pikes Peak International Hillclimb, the second oldest Motorsport event in America. It is a longstanding tradition in Colorado Springs. It’s a 12.42 mile course with 156 turns that climbs a total of 4725 feet.

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The altitude of the climb, rising from 9,390 feet to Pikes peak’s summit at 14,115 provides both a physical and mechanical challenge. At that altitude, the air is thin enough to sap muscle strength and decrease an engine’s output by 30%. The deprivation of oxygen leaves drivers breathless and engines hot. The following spectator footage also shows the danger present at such a deadly climb:

The current record for the climb was achieved in 2013 by the uncontainable Sebastien Loeb, who the an 875bhp Peugeot. The onboard footage really gives you both a sense of speed but also that getting it wrong in some areas of the climb would definitely be fatal:

Whilst the above example is a record-breaker with seemingly limitless expenditure behind it, the openness of the Pikes Peak Hillclimb allows daredevils and racers to enter the climb with very open entry requirements.

One driver said,

“The Pikes Peak Hill Climb is one of the largest grassroots races on the planet. It’s one of the last events where you can build your own car, of your own design, and show up and race it without any previous competition experience. They say you need to state previous competition experience to be considered for the race, but there are drivers there who have never held a competition license. 

Check out some of the most iconic cars to win Pikes Peak below:

Would you be ballsy enough to try the Pikes Peak Hillclimb out? 
It takes guts, but more than anything, a deft hand on the wheel. Your ability could be the difference between life and death.

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