Leob’s benchmark from 2013 seems impossible to beat

The 95th running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is set to commence on June 25, a day that will most certainly provide plenty of intense and spectacular racing. The entry lineup is once again as diverse as it gets with 53 cars spread over six classes and 30 motorcycles over five divisions, but will we finally see a new record being set for the iconic race course?

The quickest time from start to finish dates back to 2013 when French ace, Sebastien Loeb, completed the course in an incredible 8:13.878 minutes in a beefed-up version of the Peugeot 208, called the T16 Pikes Peak. And, "incredible" is not just a fancy word, as not only has this record survived for almost four years, it also looks unbeatable. Last year’s best time in Unlimited Division was set at 8:51.445, a whopping 38 seconds behind Loeb’s all-time record! Is this going to change in 2017?

Continue reading for the full story.

The Unlimited Division

Will the 2017 Pikes Peak Bring New Records?
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The main contender here, at least based on last year's performance, is French driver Romain Dumas.

There’s no easy answer for such a question, but in order to get a better idea of who will attempt a new record we have to take a closer look at the Unlimited class. For those of you who aren’t very familiar with Pikes Peak, this is the category that brings the most extreme vehicle to the "Race to the Clouds."

The main contender here, at least based on last year’s performance, is French driver Romain Dumas. In 2017, Dumas won the division behind the wheel of a Norma M20 RD Limited open-cockpit race car, clocking a 8:51.445-minute time. It was the second-fastest time in the history of the race, but almost 38 seconds behind Loeb’s record. Needless to say, 38 seconds is a lot, but you can never know what will happen in this day and age, as vehicle development progresses at an amazing rate. If anything, Dumas will most definitely achieve a better performance this year and at least come closer to Loeb’s record.

Nine more competitors will take part in this year’s Unlimited Division, including a few other prototype cars like the Ediger Eagle 2, Enviate Hypercar PP1800, and Palatov D1PPS. And surprises could come from either of them. Spectators will also see heavily modified versions of the Nissan GT-R, Porsche 911 Turbo S, Chevrolet Camaro, and Ford Focus in this class. A 9185 Audi Quattro S1E2 will be driven by David Rowe in the same division.

What Else Is On?

In Time Attack 1 Class, the record also dates back to 2013, when Paul Dallenhbach scored a 9:46.001 performance.

Other divisions are also waiting for updated records. In Time Attack 1 Class, the record also dates back to 2013, when Paul Dallenhbach scored a 9:46.001 performance in a Hyundai Genesis Coupe. The division is heavily competitive and includes 24 drivers, one of which is 2016 winner David Donner. Also a six-time Pikes Peak winner, Donner will return to defend his title and improve last year’s 10:00.813 lap. Time Attack 1 will also see Pikes Peak star Rhys Millen race for the win after capturing the Electric Modified Class in 2016 and Time Attack Combined in 2012.

In the Time Attack 2 Production class, the record sits at 10:26.896 minutes since 2015. It was set by David Donner in a Porsche 911 Turbo S and will be contested by only two entrants this year, Robert Prilika in a 2009 Chevrolet Corvette and Blake Fuller in a Tesla S P90D.

The record is even older in the Open Class, having been set in 2012 by Romain Dumas, who booked a 9:46.181-minute benchmark.

The record is even older in the Open Class, having been set in 2012 by Romain Dumas, who booked a 9:46.181-minute benchmark in a Porsche GT3R. There are ten entries this year, half of which are vintage cars like the 1970 Porsche 914, 1973 Porsche 911 RSR, 1978 Porsche 911 SC, 1969 Chevy Camaro, and 1989 Nissan Skyline GT-R.

Eight competitors have lined up for the Open Wheel class, which includes both modern and older vehicles. The record here stands at 9:36.496 minutes and was set by Paul Dallenback, driving his very own PVA Dallenbach Special in 2015. Highlight entries include 2016 winner Clint Vahsholtz (who also has 22 wins at PPIHC), veteran Spencer Steele, and 2016 second place finished Dan Novembre.

Finally we have the Exhibition class, which includes only two vehicles. One of which is the Faraday Future 91, a preview of the company’s first production vehicle that has a massive 1,050-horsepower electric motor and four-wheel steering. The second entry is a

spec, powered by a V-6 rated at 500 horsepower. There are no records to be broken here, but it will be interesting to see how quick the Faraday Future makes it to the finish line.

The 2017 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb will take place Sunday, June 25.

Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
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