Pikes Peak is dominated by a bewildering number of classes – both for two and four wheels, not to mention sidecars as well. So we’ve picked out just five of the most important (and entertaining) classes to watch out for:
Unlimited: This is the class that Sebastien Loeb and Peugeot are entering and it does pretty much what it says on the tin. There are some rules, but they mostly govern safety equipment. Interestingly enough, the current Unlimited record is not the overall record. The Unlimited record still stands at ‘Monster’ Tajima’s time from 2011 in a Suzuki SX4: 9m51.278s.
Time Attack: This class is for cars that are based on two or four-wheel-drive road cars, but some serious modifications are allowed. Rhys Millen’s record-breaking 700-horsepower Hyundai Genesis Coupe falls into this category, setting the current course record of 9m46.164s last year.
Open: Similar to the above, but slightly fewer modifications are allowed and in more limited areas. Romain Dumas, who finished second to Millen last year, holds the class record: 9m46.181s, set in a Porsche.
Electric: Don’t laugh – electric cars are seriously fast at Pikes Peak, with the advantage of not losing any power at high altitude. The current electric record is 10m15.380s set by Fumio Nutahara in a Toyota last year: good enough for sixth-fastest overall.
Vintage: In relative terms, these are probably the slowest cars up the hill. However, they’re definitely among the most spectacular to watch. Anything built up to 1990 is eligible: for the most part the cars look like retired NASCARs and sound like nothing else on earth...
The five most recent people to beat at Pikes Peak
Sebastien Loeb is going to have to do something pretty special to beat these two guys: the last five winners at Pikes Peak. Both will be back to take the nine-time world rally champion on. Note how the times have been getting quicker and quicker though…
2012: Rhys Millen (Hyundai Genesis Coupe) 9m46.164s record
2011: Nobuhiro Tajima (Suzuki SX4) 9m51.2s
2010: Nobuhiro Tajima (Suzuki SX4) 10m11.4s
2009: Nobuhiro Tajima (Suzuki SX4) 10m15.3s
2008: Nobuhiro Tajima (Suzuki SX4) 10m18.2s