Pikes Peak can be tremendously rewarding…or unmercifully cruel. Fortunately, for the Porsche teams, participating in the 93rd running of the Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, the rewards were satisfying.
Time Attack 1 Class
Jeff Zwart finally got his 8th win on the mountain in his BBi prepared GT3/GT2 Cup and Zwart set his fastest career time to the top with a 9:46.243. Zwart had run the car in 2013 and 2014, only to be thwarted by weather and some minor mechanical gremlins.
Time Attack 2 Class
In the more hotly contested Time Attack 2 class for lightly modified street cars, David Donner took his 5th Pikes Peak win driving the 2014 Porsche 911 Turbo S entered by Porsche of Colorado Springs. Donner had been in a week-long battle with veteran road racer and former Porsche factory driver Randy Pobst — driving a well-prepared 2009 Nissan GTR — with the two trading fastest times almost every run of ever day of practice leading up to race day. Alas, Pobst’s challenge came to a sudden halt when he missed a corner on the lower portion of the course and found his Nissan lodged against a bank nearly 100 yards from the course. No cliffs, trees, or boulders were encountered. Nonetheless, his Nissan was heavily damaged. The Penske mantra “to finish first, you must first finish” rang true once again. Raymond Guerrero, replaced his former Viper ride with a 2009 911 Turbo S to finish a solid second to Donner.
In Pikes Peak Vintage, local Chris Lennon and his 1973 Porsche 911 RSR gained the upper hand over his perennial competitor Ralph Christensen, driving a Cobra.
Porsche 918 Spyder
While not competing, another Porsche brought much attention to the event. Sheik Khalid bin Hamad Al-Thani of Qatar has shifted his attention from drag racing to Pikes Peak. He flew in his 918 for the event, spent a day receiving instruction from 2014 Time Attack 2 winner Fred Veitch and then took the mountain on race day as one of the sweep vehicles. It’s thought that he may return in 2016 with a full effort.
Finally, though not Porsche related, 2015 was a hallmark year for alternative technology. Rhys Millen drove a Latvian entered car to the first overall win on the mountain for an electric car. Though his time of 9:07.222 was a record for electrics, he was still almost a minute slower than the hill-record set be Sebastian Loeb in his super Peugeot of 2013.
Weather was once again a factor in the race. While those records to the top were allowed to stand, an afternoon storm moved in, keeping about a third of the field from racing past the half-way point. Final results were based on times set only on the bottom of the course.