Words by Brian Hannon. Photography by Corey Davis, Joel Chan, Nathan Leach-Proffer, Kenta Young, Tim Kim, and James Harris
Most professional racing series have no idea of how cushy the week leading up to their main event is. They roll into town on Thursday to begin setup, dial the cars and drivers in with a few practice sessions on Friday, qualify on Saturday and then race on Sunday. And most of their days start well after the Sun has shown its face in the morning sky.
Not so with the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. Since the race takes place on the Pikes Peak Toll Road, one of the most popular tourist attractions in Colorado, racers and officials have to clear the road by 9 a.m. so tourists can complete their leisurely drive to the peak. Thanks to that time constraint, the race teams’ days start well before dawn.
Monday starts the week with a mid-day tech inspection, but Tuesday through Friday feature practice and qualifying sessions that begin at 5 a.m., necessitating wake up calls well before 3 in the morning to ensure they are on the mountain and ready to run.
The days don’t end after practice as the teams continue to tweak their settings for optimum performance, sometimes even hitting up local dynos for last minute tunes that can last well into the night. Yeah, those other racing series really have it easy!