Words by Brian Hannon. Photography by Nathan Leach-Proffer, Kenta Young, Tim Kim, Corey Davis, and Joel Chan.
It takes a different breed of racer to tackle this mountain. You must be prepared to push yourself mentally and physically to overcome challenges not found on regular racing circuits. Focus must be on the road ahead and not the alpine trees or the sheer drops just feet away. As the heart races traversing the switchbacks, air is constantly disappearing making the physical exertion that much more challenging.
There also exists a unique kinship among the competitors. They come from different racing backgrounds and even different countries (over 16 this year!), but the theme coursing through the paddock is that of mutual respect for one another. While it may appear they are racing against each other, a pair of common opponents exists for all: the mountain and the clock.
Mike Skeen may have been a rookie on the mountain this year with his Nissan GT-R, but we can tell he gets it. He said, "I think that is one of the most interesting parts of this event. The time spent at the top of the hill (even on practice days) really gives drivers a lot of time to talk and there is a strong sense of camaraderie in the paddock.”