Field Of 88 Set For 97th Pikes Peak Hill Climb

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The Pikes Peak Int'l Hill Climb will begin at the end of the month. (PPIHC photo)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The 97th edition of the Broadmoor Pikes Peak Int’l Hill Climb presented by Gran Turismo will begin marching up Pikes Peak on Sunday, June 30.

Roughly 7,000 racing fans from as many as a dozen countries and 44 states will watch from designated spectator areas on the 14,115-foot mountain as 88 competitors from 17 countries, including 29 rookies, take on the challenge of the world’s most famous hill climb.

Pikes Peak is the second-oldest motorsport race in America (1916), behind only the Indianapolis 500 (1911).

Competitors on the Peak will come from the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Belgium, France, Japan, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, China, Brazil, Germany, Northern Ireland and the Czech Republic.

The Race to the Clouds is still basking in the glow of the fabulous performance last summer by French driver Romain Dumas in the 2018 Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak, toppling the old mark of 8:13.78 set by Sébastien Loeb of France in 2013.

Dumas careened up the 156-turn, 12.42 mile course to the summit in a jaw-dropping time of 7:57.148 to establish a new course record and earn Autoweek’s Moment of the Year.

“We never know what incredible moments each year will become part of the race’s history,” said PPIHC Executive Director Megan Leatham, “We have an awesome lineup of competitors from around the world coming to Pikes Peak again this summer to take on the mountain, so buckle up.”

Pikes Peak has seen champions since 1916 who are part of American motorsport history —Ari Vatanen, Parnelli Jones, Mario Andretti, Rick Mears, Michèle Mouton, Nobuhiro Tajima, Bobby Unser, and Malcolm Smith, just to name a few.

This year’s Indy 500 winner, Simon Pagenaud, finished second on Pikes Peak in 2013 in the Exhibition Class.

While it’s unlikely that Dumas’ mark will be eclipsed this year by a talented stable of drivers, everyone will be watching the decorated veteran Rhys Millen, as he attempts to break the Time Attack 2 Production record in the Exhibition Division.

The time to beat is David Donner’s 10:26.896 set in 2015, driving a 2014 Porsche 911 Turbo S.

Millen, 46, a New Zealander who moved to the USA in 1990, and son of Pikes Peak legend Rod Millen, will be competing for the 24th time in the race, this time in a jazzy, luxurious Bentley Continental GT coupe sporting the Bentley 100th anniversary livery.

He’ll also be seeking his 13th championship in his race history, which began in 1992 with a title in the Open Division.

In 2015, he was named “King of the Mountain” after breaking the electric modified record with a time of 9:07.22 — a record he topped the following year by 10 seconds (8:57.118). His fabulous life includes stunt driving for commercials and movies, the latest a sizzling spot for Hankook Tires, seen by millions.

Other notables entered this year include Paul Dallenbach, Greg Tracy, Liam Doran, William Au-Yeung and Robin Shute.