Pikes Peak: What You Should Know

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Pikes Peak: What You Should Know. Automakers participating directly in racing is a long-standing practice that stretches back to the invention of the automobile. The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is an excellent example.

The competition, which is challenging and has a long history, has become a must-attend event for manufacturers ranging from Porsche and Audi to Subaru and Acura, all of which want to overcome its twists and turns.

Pikes Peak: What You Should Know

Pike’s Peak: The Race to the Clouds

Pikes Peak is a mountain in Colorado that is accessed via a winding and sometimes perilous road that extends from its base to the summit. It was recently paved but was previously entirely gravel, and it has a reputation for the dangers of driving on it at high speeds.

The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, which began in 1916 and was nicknamed as The Race to the Clouds due to the summit’s high altitude, is the second-oldest car race in the United States, following the first Chicago Times-Herald event in 1895.

Although the distance traveled on the road utilized in competition is slightly under 12.5 miles, drivers ascend an incredible 4,720 feet from start to finish at the top, which is more than 14,000 feet above sea level. No other racecourse in the world has this elevation change.

Each year, approximately 100 competitors compete in the Hill Climb, which costs $1,000 each day. Racers can test their talents against the mountain and attempt to create a new record time for up to five days.

Pikes Peak: What You Should Know

Racing is separated into classes, ranging from Unlimited, which has no design or horsepower limits, to Exhibition, which frequently features car company prototypes. For example, Acura entered four vehicles in the 2023 Hill Climb competition, including two Integra race cars and an exotic-looking NSX Type S Active Aero Study.

The reasons why automakers flock to Pikes Peak

The International Hill Climb is extremely demanding, not only on the skills of the drivers competing on a course with over 150 twists and no guardrails, but also on the machinery. As a result, there are two key reasons why manufacturers visit Pikes Peak.

Pikes Peak: What You Should Know

The exposure from such an exhibition is appealing to performance vehicle manufacturers. It’s also an opportunity to show off odd machines that may not fit into other motorsports categories. This was a factor when Audi and Peugeot rally cars entered the Pikes Peak race after Group B, a racing class, was discontinued in the mid-’80s.

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The Hill Climb challenge also provides an opportunity for improvement

“For a premium performance brand like Acura, the racetrack is the ultimate proving ground,” stated John Ikeda, vice president and Acura brand officer. “Racing, especially at an event as technically demanding as Pikes Peak, drives our focus on delivering world-class engineering, driving dynamics and technology into the vehicles Acura customers drive every day, especially as the brand enters the electrified era.”

Pikes Peak: What You Should Know

Many types of vehicles compete in Pikes Peak

The electrification of many automakers’ fleets has resulted in an emerging trend at Pikes Peak. Pikes Peak, the only high-level motorsports event in the United States where gas, diesel, and battery-powered vehicles compete side by side, has emerged as a new testing ground for electric-vehicle engineering innovation, elevating the profile of new EV initiatives.

The current Hill Climb record is held by an all-electric Volkswagen ID. R.