Pikes Peak Hill Climb - VINTAGE DIVISION


Photo by Susannah Kay, The Gazettey
The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is the second oldest motor sports race in America. The race is run on a 12.42 mile course with 156 turns that begins at 9,390 feet and finishes at the 14,110 foot summit of Pikes Peak. As the drivers climb toward the summit, the thin air slows reflexes, saps muscle strength, and robs engines of 30% of their power.

Here's a great video about Jess Neal and Morgan Combes as they attempt to make it to the top of the treacherous 12.5 mile course in a 1971 Plymouth 'Cuda. 

If you watch closely, the cameras really capture the treacherous drop-offs and the sudden changes at the end of the tree line at 12,000 feet. View the in-car version here. For a map of the course, use this link. 
Here I am in the "Garden of the Gods" demonstrating the lightness of the aluminum A8 body

Watching the video brought back memories of my visit to Colorado in 1996, and my drive up the road to the summit of Pikes Peak

I recall the trip rather vividly for two reasons. First, despite the fact it was the the last week of July and the temperatures at the hotel very Summer-like, there had been heavy snow at the summit overnight. Very odd to need to turn on the heater and dodge snow plows at this time of the year. It was even odder at the summit where we had to navigate through a foot of snow wearing shorts and tee-shirts. 

Secondly, I had been invited to Colorado by Audi  to preview the all new space frame A8, drive the pre-production models and compare the new flagship against competitive vehicles. The unbelievable road course had been planned by a movie location director, so the entire trip was one stunning location after another.