The Pikes Peak is internationally known for the mountain car race that hosts every July, the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC), also known as Race To The Clouds, is a mountain race for racing cars and motorcycles on Pikes Peak, a mountain range in the Rocky Mountains in the state of Colorado.
The race was organized Spencer Penrose, who had converted the narrow carriage road into the much wider Pikes Peak Highway . Originally the race took place on the 4th of July (Independence Day), in 2009 the 87th edition of the classic was held on July 19th. In 2010 and 2011 the races already took place on the last weekend of June. In 2012, the 8th of July was scheduled as a race day, but the forest fire Waldo Canyon Fire forced a shift, so it took place on August 12th.
The race distance is 19.99 kilometers (12.42 miles), the track includes 156 corners. The launch is at 2,862 meters, and 1,439 meters of elevation difference are covered with an average of 7% slope of the road. On the way to the summit at 4,301 meters (14,110 feet) above sea level, the vehicles with internal combustion engines lose about one third of their power due to the thin altitude air. In the first years, the slope was graveled for the most part and had individual paving stone passages, which were later paved. In 2001, on the initiative of environmentalists began to occupy the previously unpaved sections with asphalt, since August 2011, the entire racetrack asphalted. Thus, the PPIHC was held at its 90th edition 2012 for the first time over a fully paved route.
The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is considered a challenging race as it provides limited training opportunities for the participants. Thus, the qualifying runs are held only on one section, while the race on the Pikes Peak consists of a single scoring run.Record winner at Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is the American Bobby Unser. He was able to win the race a total of 13 times.In 1981, a class was included in the program with the Open Rally Category, whose vehicles mostly came from the predominantly held in Europe World Rally Championship.
In 1985, Michele Mouton became the first woman to win the overall title with her Audi as the first Open Rally Category car. The year before, she (along with her Italian co-driver Fabrizia Pons as track record reader) and the Norwegian Martin Schanche were the first Europeans to try out Pikes Peak.
The Pikes Peak Race has appeared in several video games. Gran Turismo 2 contains a shortened, not faithful interpretation of the unpaved track . Also in Colin McRae: Dirt and DiRT Rally, both from the Colin McRae Rally racing game series.
It is the third oldest official car race still active in the United States, after the Mount Washington Hill Race (1904), and the Indianapolis 500-mile race (the first event of which was held in 1911).
The event was made famous thanks to Jean-Louis Mourey’s documentary Climb Dance, starring Ari Vatanen and the Peugeot 405 T16 Pikes Peak. This five-minute film has been awarded at various American festivals.
The 2015 edition crowns for the first time an electric car, the eO PP03 Drive Rhys Millen in 9 min 7 s12.
Today, the race is divided into fifteen categories. From motorbikes to cars, quads and trucks, every vehicle is represented. The most famous and spectacular category is the Unlimited category, where monsters with more than 1,000 horses compete. The difference in altitude, and therefore air pressure, is such that it significantly influences the power of the engines between departure and arrival.
The PPIHC operates as the Pikes Peak Auto Hill Climb Educational Museum to organize the annual motorsports event.