This year's overall Pikes Peak win was taken by a group of friends who found themselves short of a team when Faraday Future pulled out of competition last year. With no factory backing, they bought themselves a car, tuned it up and took an 11-second victory.
There was no Volkswagen I.D. R looming over proceedings at the 2019 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, so at no point was there any threat to the shockingly fast sub-eight-minute overall record the VW team set last year.
Instead, the race was taken out by a plucky British driver, working with a team of buddies out of a home garage. According to an Autocar interview, seasoned racer Robin Shute and his team enjoyed working with each other so much when they ran the Faraday Future team in 2017, that when Faraday declined to continue racing its 1,000-hp electric luxury SUV, they bought their own car and worked on it as a passion project.
Referring to themselves as "Sendy Club," the team got hold of a Wolf GB08 out of Canada, and a HPD Honda Racing 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder engine, to which they fitted a Borg Warner turbo. The final power figure was around 600 horses – at least, at the bottom of the hill – the team estimated it'd lose about a hundred horses due to the thinning air at the top of the track. Weight was a stunning 518 kg (1,142 lb), giving it a power-to-weight ratio around that of an early 90s F1 car.
The team also stuck "Dave the Duck" in the car – according to KRDO, Dave is a regulation rubber ducky that had accidentally been sealed to the car at the summit of Pike's Peak in a previous race. Thus, he's only fully inflated at that altitude and has sat around looking sad and deflated at sea level for the last 12 months. He became somewhat of a mascot for the team.
In the end, there were no real challengers. Shute, Dave and the GB08 led the first section split by more than seven seconds, and extended their lead in the second and third sections before a badly misfiring engine slowed them down dramatically on the final sprint to the finish line, torpedoing any chance of a sub-nine-minute time.
Still, Shute's 9:12.476 was some 11 seconds clear of Raphael Astier in second place, and enough to claim overall victory as well as the Unlimited class as Astier took out the Time Attack 1 class and third-placed Peter Cunningham won the Pike's Peak Open class. The Open Wheel class victory went to Paul Dallenbach, at 6th overall.
Check out Shute's run in the video below.
Pike's Peak 2019 Results: Cars
- Robin Shute, GBR, 9:12.476, 2018 Wolf TSC-Honda
- Raphael Astier, FRA, 9:23.721, 2017 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Turbo
- Peter Cunningham, USA, 9:24.433, 2019 Acura TLX GT
- David Donohoe, USA, 9:33.404, 2016 Porsche 911
- Layne Schranz, USA, 9:40.630, 2015 Chevrolet SS
- Paul Dallenbach, USA, 9:44.630, 2006 PVA 003 Dallenbach special
- Clint Vahsholtz, USA, 9:48.716, 2014 McLaren 650S
- Greg Tracy, USA, 9:55.011, 2019 Palatov D2EV
- Tim Hardy, USA, 10:02.384, 1987 BMW E30
- James Robinson, USA, 10:07.940, 2019 Acura NSX
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