Lots of famous pilots – of both four wheels and two – are set to tackle the 2017 Pikes Peak Hill Climb. Learn a little more about them below.
Begin Press Release:
95th Running of The Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Slated for June 25th
~ Elite Field of Drivers and Riders Ready to Tackle America’s Mountain
The 2017 Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, brought to you by Gran Turismo, will spotlight a skilled and accomplished roster of veteran auto drivers and motorcycle racers who have recorded 96 total previous PPIHC class victories in the world’s most challenging motorsport hill climb. Riders and drivers from 17 states and ten countries have been invited.
“We believe our fans will really love the competitive field set for the 95thRunning of the Race to the Clouds,” said PPIHC Executive Director Megan Leatham.”Along with the legends of the race, we have a lineup of new stars who are sure to make their mark on America’s Mountain.”
Race fans who have come to the mountain for years to witness the fabled hill climb will see many familiar names from past editions of the PPIHC, includingNobuhiro “Monster” Tajima, Rhys Millen, and last year’s King of the Mountain, Romain Dumas.
2016 PPIHC King of the Mountain and Unlimited Division winner Dumas will defend his title in the Unlimited Division, where he recorded a winning time of 8:51.445, (the second-fastest time in the history of the race) on the way to becoming the first driver to win titles at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and Pikes Peak in the same year.
“Each Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is a real adventure. It’s a fantastic thrill when it culminates with a win, but always full of huge efforts and sacrifices,” admits Dumas. “It’s a hill climb, and by definition there are always unforeseen challenges and difficulties to overcome. Everything has to come together on race day and it’s never easy. That’s what I have learned from year to year, you have to plan for the unpredictable. The objective hasn’t changed. I want to win again, and even more so to defend my title as the 2016 champion. In addition to the climb itself, the competition will be really tough. The electric vehicles are very strong and we’ll have to have a perfect day to win. I can count on my team, which has vast experience there. The entire team is excited to return to Pikes Peak’s unique atmosphere.”
Auto Divisions – Classes
2016 PPIHC King of the Mountain and Unlimited Division winner Romain Dumas (France/Arzier, Switzerland) will be driving an open-cockpit prototype developed in partnership with French constructor, Norma. With the MXX RD Limited, he will be looking to capture his third win at Pikes Peak and get even closer to the all-time course record of 8:13.878.
A new rule for 2017 that eliminated fuel/power-source specific car divisions and classes, (the Electric Modified & Production Classes) has set the stage for two frequent champions to return to competition in the Unlimited Division with their electric vehicles.
2016 Electric Modified Class winner and electric record holder Rhys Millen(New Zealand/San Juan Capistrano, CA) will look to dethrone Dumas in his first race competing in the Unlimited Division since 2013. He will be seated in a 2015 EV pp03. He captured his class last year in a record clocking of 8:57.118, the third-fastest time in the history of the PPIHC.
2016 Pikes Peak Hill Climb Museum Hall of Fame Inductee and 7-time PPIHC King of the Mountain Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima (Tokyo, Japan)will also make his first return to competition in the Unlimited Division – where he has 9-division victories – for the first time since 2011 when he was the first to break the 10-minute barrier with a time of 9:51.278. The crowd favorite, now 66 years old, will be behind the wheel of his 2017 Tajima Motor E-RUNNER.
Dumas and Millen join Sebastien Loeb as the only members of the 8 Minute Elite Club with their blazing sub nine-minute course times.
Time Attack Division – Time Attack 1 Class
With 26 competitors, this is the largest class in recent PPIHC history. Pikes Peak Hill Climb Museum Hall of Fame inductee, and 2016 Time Attack 1 Class winner David Donner (Colorado Springs, CO) will return to defend his title in a 2013 Porsche GT3R.
Donner will be joined by the other four top-5 Time Attack 1 finishers from 2016 in Raphaël Astier (Roquevaire, France), Tim Hardy (Colorado Springs, CO),Robb Holland (Denver, CO), and Derek Boyd (Loveland, CO). Astier, a teammate of Dumas, will be driving a 2010 Porsche 911 GT3 RS.
Time Attack Division – Time Attack 2 Production Class
Heated competition will take place in this class, featuring a head-to-head duel between Internal Combustion Engine, Robert Prilika (Castle Rock, CO) and Electric Motor Blake Fuller (Sarasota, FL). Prilika has placed 3rd in Pikes Peak Challenge – Pikes Peak Open in 2013 and 2016 and will drive a 2009 Chevrolet Corvette. Fuller won the Electric Production Class last year setting a new class record of 11:48.264. He is seeking to break his own record this year in a 2016 Tesla Model S P90D.
Pikes Peak Challenge Division – Pikes Peak Open Class
The 2016 winner Layne Schranz (Birmingham, Alabama) will return to defend his class title after joining the 9 Minute Club with a run of 9:53.071. Schranz will be joined by 2016 Time Attack 2 Production Class winner Nick Robinson(Delaware, Ohio) who will be piloting a 2017 Acura TLX.
Pikes Peak Challenge Division – Open Wheel Class
2016 winner Clint Vahsholtz (Woodland Park, CO) is ready to add yet another class title. Vahsholtz is the winningest driver in PPIHC history with 22 class victories plus three 2-wheeled King of the Mountain titles. Vahsholtz will be challenged by PPIHC veteran Spencer Steele (Denver, CO) who missed race day in 2016 after a crash during practice, and by 2016 2nd place class finisherDan Novembre (Colorado Springs, CO) who returns to Pikes Peak in the 2016 Novembre MAC Autosport Special.
Pikes Peak Challenge Division – Exhibition Class
Look for a battle between two electric car builders partnered with American start-up technology companies focused on the development of intelligent electric vehicles, with Faraday Future set to take on UnpluggedPerformance, the world leader in premium performance upgrades for Tesla vehicles.
Faraday Future has been invited to compete with their FF 91, a preview of the company’s first production vehicle unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show this past January. The FF 91 will be driven by PPIHC rookie Robin Shute(Gardena, CA), 2016 Formula Car Challenge Triple Crown National Champion and Formula Pro Mazda winner.
Unplugged Performance will enter a 2017 Tesla Model S P100D with 2011 Formula Drift Champion Daijiro Yoshihara (Japan/Hawthorne, CA) behind the wheel.
Rookies to watch:
RJ Gottlieb (Santa Monica, CA) – Pikes Peak Challenge Division – Pikes Peak Open Class
After being invited to compete in the 100th anniversary of the PPIHC in 2016, and having completed a successful testing session on Pikes Peak in early June, Gottlieb and Big Red returned to California for further testing. Sadly, the car was badly damaged due to an engine fire forcing Gottlieb to withdraw from the race. Big Red is a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro that Hot Rod Magazine called the “Baddest Camaro ever!”
David Sterckx (Belgium/Los Angeles, CA) – Time Attack 1
2001 Belgian Gr N Rally National Champion, 2013 Rally America Champion SP, Former X Games and Global Rallycross competitor. Originally from Belgium, David has been racing for over 15 years on road courses, and rally events. In 1999, he witnessed the San Remo Rally (WRC) and decided that he wanted to give rally a try. One year later, he finished third at the Belgian Gr N Rally Championship. He currently races in the Rally America National Championship along with his co-driver Karen Jankowski. This season they are leading in the Super Production class and are third in the overall National Championship standings. In 2012, he took first place at the Rally America Rallycross with the best qualifying time, won all his heats and won the final! That same year, he placed third in the Rally America Championship Super Production Class.
David Donohue (West Chester, PA) – Time Attack 1
The son of racing legend Mark Donohue has firmly established himself as a champion racing driver with an impressive resume that includes time spent in Touring Cars, Prototypes, NASCAR Stock Car and the Craftsman Truck Series. He was an integral part of the Brumos Racing family, driving a Brumos Racing Daytona Prototype in every Rolex Sports Car Series race from 2003 through 2010. In 2009 he co-drove to victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. David and co-driver Darren Law joined Action Express Racing in 2011, sharing three podium finishes and a 3rd place finish in DP driver points. David returned to Action Express Racing in 2012 with an all-new Corvette Daytona Prototype finishing 4th in points. David was the 2013 Rolex-24 hour GX class winner in Napleton Racing’s Porsche Cayman.
Motorcycle Divisions – Classes
Pikes Peak Challenge Division – Quad Class
This class is shaping up to be anyone’s race to win with one of the most competitive classes of the 2017 race, with 4 of the 5 invited competitors having previously stood on the PPIHC Quad podium. Last year’s 2nd and 3rd place finishers return in Chris Wagner (Colorado Springs, CO) and Theo Bernhard(San Rafael, CA) who won the class in 2014. Mike Ell IV (Raymore, MO)is also a past winner.
Pikes Peak Challenge Division – Electric Motorcycle Class
Like the Quad Class, the Electric Motorcycle Class should be extremely competitive with a very talented and experienced field. The 2014 Electric Motorcycle Class winner Jeremiah Johnson (St. Petersburg, FL),has teamed up with the UK’s University of Nottingham to design and build his new machine.
Team Buckeye Current from The Ohio State University will return with the UK’s Robert Barber (Bury,UK), the 2016 third place finisher. Barber will represent the USA this year. The 2015 class winner and 2016 2nd place finisher Yoshihiro Kishimoto (Ichinomiya-City, Japan) will return as well.
Pikes Peak Challenge Division – Exhibition Powersport Class
In the popular Exhibition Powersport Class, Travis Newbold (Arvada, CO)withBottpower, a small Spanish motorsport engineering company from Valencia, Spain, looks to be a contender for the 2-wheeled title of King of the Mountain returning to Pikes Peak after placing 2nd overall in 2015.
Pikes Peak Heavyweight Division
After earning the honor of 2-wheeled Rookie of the Year and placing 2nd overall among motorcycles, Cycle News’ Road Test Editor Rennie Scaysbrook (Australia/Costa Mesa, CA) is an early favorite in the Heavyweight Division and for King of the Mountain honors. He will be riding a 2017 KTM 1290 Super Duke 1290 R. Scaysbrook finished second in the Heavyweight Division last year.
A top contender to challenge Scaysbrook is PPIHC rookie and KTM Factory Rider Chris Fillmore (Corona del Mar, CA) who will be competing on the same bike as Scaysbrook, a 2017 KTM Super Duke 1290 R. This is a big-power bike from those “Race Ready” folks in Austria previously known for competitive dirt bikes. The newest design of the LC8 V-twin, first introduced in 1999, now displaces 1,301 cc and is rated at 177 hp and 106 lb.-ft. of torque. Nope, that’s not a typo – 177 horsepower at the crank.
Pikes Peak Middleweight Division
2016 Pikes Peak Middleweight Division winner Kris Lillegard (Houston, TX) will return to defend his title, facing tough competition from the 3rd generation of the legendary Vahsholtz family in 2016 4th place class finisher and current Pikes Peak Lightweight record holder Codie Vahsholtz (Woodland Park, CO).
Pikes Peak Lightweight Division
2016 Pikes Peak Lightweight Division winner Davey Durelle (Elizabeth, CO) will set his sights on one more championship run. Durelle, recently inducted to the Colorado Motorsports Hall of Fame is the winningest motorcycle competitor in PPIHC history with 17 class victories, 6 titles of King of the Mountain, 8 motorcycle division/class records and one motorcycle course record to his name.
Rookie to watch:
Brandon Ward (Ft. Carson, CO) – Lightweight Division
A soldier in the U.S. Army, Brandon, is the son of Jeff Ward, a 7-time AMA motocross champion, 1999 Indy 500 runner-up, and 2-time X Games Moto X SuperMoto gold medalist.
The full competitor list can be found online at: www.ppihc.com
For all 2017 race-related details, including ticket information, camping permits and Pikes Peak Speedweek information, stay in touch at: www.ppihc.com