Article by Ryan Randels. Photography by Corey Davis, James Harris and Ryan Randels.
Yesterday, the race up Americaís Mountain officially began! It marked the first official Pikes Peak International Hill Climb practice and qualifying session where the competitors had an opportunity to record their times via the official timing body and assess the strengths and weaknesses of the teamsí vehicles. As valuable tuning and tinkering time wears thin, weíve now entered crunch time, just four days away from the main event. Many of the competitors have participated in sanctioned (and private) but officially untimed practice sessions over the past month, but yesterday marked the first mandatory practice day.
While providing the competitors with valuable practice time on the mountain, these sessions also double as qualifying by keeping track of the time for every single run. After all three practice sessions, organizers will then analyze the overall times to determine if any competitors should be cut from the race. With such a high level of competition this year, neither we, nor the PPIHC staff, expect many drivers, if any, to be cut.
Competitors are separated into three different run groups based on class, which they will remain with for the remaining three days of practice. The entire PPIHC course is then divided into three sections: bottom, middle, and upper. Each group spends one entire practice session (5 a.m. to 9 a.m.) per day at each section of the course. The PPIHC practice schedule is shown below.
Practice/Qualifying Day #1: June 26
Upper Section: Pikes Peak Open, Open Wheel, Electric, Exhibition, Pikes Peak Vintage classes
Middle Section: All Bike divisions, including Exhibition Powersport classes
Lower Section: Time Attack and Unlimited classes
Practice/Qualifying Day #2: June 27
Upper Section: All Bike divisions, including Exhibition Powersport classes
Middle Section: Time Attack and Unlimited classes
Lower Section: Pikes Peak Open, Open Wheel, Electric, Exhibition, Pikes Peak Vintage classes
Practice/Qualifying Day #3: June 28
Upper Section: Time Attack and Unlimited classes
Middle Section: Pikes Peak Open, Open Wheel, Electric, Exhibition, Pikes Peak Vintage classes
Lower Section: All Bike divisions, including Exhibition Powersport classes
Yesterday, we focused our photographers photogs on the Time Attack and Unlimited classes at the bottom of the mountain. With such high-profile competition, we couldnít help but start our official coverage with this run group.
Unlimited Division PPIHC Wednesday Practice Session
According to PPIHC.com, anything goes in the Unlimited Division as long as it passes safety inspection. The Unlimited Division features the most exotic vehicles, most of them built specifically for this race. These racecars have the best chance of setting a new overall race record. In 2011 Nobuhiro Tajima finally broke the elusive 10-minute barrier, setting an overall course record with a time of 09:51.278. Tajima broke his own previous record of 10:01.41, which had been set in 2007.
Time Attack Division PPIHC Wednesday Practice Session
According to PPIHC.com, this division is for production-based two- and four-wheel drive vehicles. Eligibility is restricted to close-bodied four-wheel vehicles. The new overall course record was set last year in 2012 by Rhys Millen in his modified Hyundai Genesis Coupe with a time of 9:46.164.
Pikes Peak International Hill Climb 2013 Wednesday Practice Results
Team Revvolution will be on the mountain every day of practice this week to report all the details of the session. Each day we will cover another run group so that we can provide maximum exposure for the competitors and details of the race. Keep checking back regularly, as we plan on posting an article per day highlighting the practice sessions!