This past weekend, Colorado Springs — home of Altia’s headquarters — hosted the 96th running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. This is an annual invitational automobile and motorcycle hill climb to the summit of Pikes Peak that is held on the last Sunday in June.
The race course is a 12.42 mile (19.99 km) public toll-road with 156 total turns. The total course climb is 4,720 ft. (1,440 m.) — from the 9,390 ft. (2,862 m.) start line at the Mile 7 marker on the Pikes Peak Highway all the way to the 14,115 ft. (4,300 m) finish line at the mountain’s summit.
Increasing elevation is what makes this race so challenging. As drivers climb toward the top of the Peak, the thin air slows their reflexes and depletes their mental and muscle strength. Additionally, vehicles are put to the test. The thin air robs internal combustion engines of up to 30% of the power they are capable of at race start. Competitors and vehicles need to be in top shape and condition just to finish the race.
This year, the Volkswagen I.D. R — and electric vehicle driven by Romain Dumas — not only won the race, but also landed a new track record with a time of 7:57.148! The previous record of 8:13.378 was set in 2013 by a Pugeot driven by Sebastien Loeb. Even more impressive? The VW electric racer driven by Dumas shaved a full minute off the previous EV record of 8:57.118.
For more information about the Race to the Clouds and this year’s competitors, check out the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb website. Want to learn more about the winning vehicle? Check out this great Car and Driver article.