Scion FR-S Will Race Pikes Peak International Hill Climb
Scion will once again return to the Colorado mountains to make a run up to 14,110 feet in this year’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, marking the fifth consecutive year the brand has sought to tackle the intimidating event.
The effort is a collaboration between SoCal-based speed shop and aftermarket-parts provider Evasive Motorsports, Japanese tuner GReddy Performance, and North American wheel-importer Mackin Industries, all of which will support a specially modified FR-S coupe race car in its bid to conquer the winding summit road. Other major sponsors include Scion Racing, Toyo Tires, Turn14 Distribution, Garrett and Sparco.
Piloting the lightweight two-door will be American time attack-driver Robert Walker, who will make his third attempt at the Peak this year. Walker’s previous runs include time behind the wheel of the 2013 Scion FR-S Evasive Motorsports Time Attack car, which debuted at the 2012 SEMA show and has seen competition in national and international time-attack events (you can check out HD in-car footage of last year’s run in the above video, which shows Walker’s 10-minute, 37.791-second blast up the hill in the Evasive Motorsports FR-S, a 22-second improvement over 2013).
Walker says that knowledge of the course gained from past runs is critical to success at Pikes Peak, given the dearth of practice available prior to the actual event: “We only drive the road at speed in its entirety once each year – on race day,” Walker said. “That can be intimidating to any driver. I’m counting on the experience the team and I have gained to give me a heads-up in the competition.”
Scion says its goal is to improve upon last year’s results, when superstar drift-fiend Ken Gushi took an FR-S to a third best-in-class finish.
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Why it matters
For 2015, the car at Walker’s command is the Mackin Industries FR-S, which debuted at SEMA in 2013 and has been modified for time-attack events. Last year, the car took home multiple podium trophies in various FR Street Class events throughout the U.S. It also graced the covers of several magazine covers. This will be the first time the car has seen competition at Pikes Peak, but it will fit in nicely with homologation set forth in the Time Attack 1 Class, which is reserved for production-based two- and four-wheel-drive cars with closed bodies.
One of the considerations in preparing for a run up Pikes Peak is the extreme altitude, which presents teams with a slew of interesting challenges. The low atmospheric pressure affects a variety of vehicle systems, hampering things like engine output, cooling and aerodynamics.
One of the considerations in preparing for a run up Pikes Peak is the extreme altitude, which presents teams with a slew of interesting challenges.
To counter this, the Mackin Industries FR-S has been extensively modified specifically for Pikes Peak. To help the powerplant perform as expected, a larger turbocharger was added, which should do well to compress the thin air making its way into the combustion chamber.
As an aside, it should be noted that turbos first came into use during World War I when they were fitted to Renault-powered French fighter planes to combat the power loss of high-altitude flying. What’s more, General Electric engineer Sanford Alexander Moss turbocharged a V-12 Liberty aircraft engine in 1918, and funny enough, brought it to Pikes Peak for testing, demonstrating the efficacy of turbocharging in boosting internal combustion output despite reduced air pressure and density.
Beyond the bigger snail, other mods include upgraded cooling for the engine and drivetrain, a custom-tuned, stand-alone ECU, an E85 fuel system, extensive weight cuts, and upgraded aerodynamics.
All told, the time-attack machine should be a good fit for the hill climb.
All told, the time-attack machine should be a good fit for the hill climb. Even though the vehicle is expected to make the 12.5-mile long run in around 10 minutes, which is significantly longer than the average circuit blast, the all-or-nothing tuning philosophy should still enable a comfortable fit. No fuel or tire savings expected here, just hammer down and all-out.
This year will be a good one for the PPIHC, with a variety of major high-visibility entries making the trip out to Colorado. Other notable competitors include Acura’s 2014 Honda HPD ARX-04b Le Mans LMP2 contender, which will make a preliminary run in anticipation of a shot at the outright record of 8:13.878 sometime in the future, as well as the 2015 Tajima Rimac E-Runner Concept_One, a megawatt-powered, all-electric one-off set to take the Electric Car Division by storm.
In case you were unaware, the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, alternately called “The Race to the Clouds,” is an annual, internationally recognized race event that pits a variety of vehicles (race cars, street cars, vintage vehicles, motorcycles, quads, and trucks) in a 156-turn, 4,720-foot climb to the top of the Pikes Peak mountain. Starting at mile 7 of the Pikes Peak highway, the event is self-sanctioned and has been run since 1916, making it the third-oldest motorsport event in the Western Hemisphere, behind the Indy 500 and Isle of Man TT. This year will be the 93rd running of the event. Previously consisting of both gravel and tarmac, the route was fully paved in 2011. Roughly 130 competitors are expected to take part. Race day is Sunday, June 28th.
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