The Pikes Peak International Hillclimb is a rare opportunity to compare a range of electric and internal combustion racers on the same course. Although battery-powered entrants have impressed in recent years, they were few and far between this time around, making 2017 a win for old-school technology.
Electric cars finished first and second at Pikes Peak in 2015, and crept under the eight minute mark for the first time last year, but electric cars were wildly under-represented at the pointy end of this year's event. With no entry from hillclimb legend Nobuhiro Tajima, and Rhys Millen running in a Hyundai Genesis instead of the eO EV from last year, the highest placed electric vehicle was actually a motorbike.
Having set out to challenge itself in a motorsports environment, the best Faraday Future could manage was 40th place in its pre-production FF91, which completed the course in 11:25.082. Although that seems slow compared to the race winners, it's actually 23 seconds faster than a Tesla Model S managed last year.
Overall victory went to Romain Dumas for the second year in a row. He reached the 4.3-km (14,000-ft) high summit of Pikes Peak in 9:05.332. Although he was driving a revised version of the Norma MXX RD Limited from last year, that time is actually 15 seconds slower than his winning time last year. Dumas attributes the drop in pace to an issue with his car's spark plugs.
"It's difficult to put words to this victory," says Romain Dumas. "The primary objective was to win, which is what we did and it's never easy here. Never. I even questioned whether I'd get to the summit … The second objective was to get closer to the outright record. After the practice days, we had a decent idea of what kind of overall time was possible. But unfortunately, this will remain a hypothetical time after the broken spark plugs, and that's disappointing."
Second place went to Peter Cunningham in a heavily modified Acura TLX GT (9:33.797), while Clint Vahsholtz took third in his 2013 Ford Open (9:35.747). The fastest two-wheeler to make it up the mountain was Chris Fillmore on a KTM 1290 Super Duke R (9:49.625), while Robert Barber was the quickest rider on an electric motorcycle, reaching the top of the mountain in 10:55.500.
You can check out the full list of finishers here.
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