On Sunday June 30, sixteen rally cars will chase the clock up the most famous mountain course in motorsports, Pikes Peak in Colorado. The 97th running of the Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC) will begin practice on Tuesday, June 25 with the contest to crown the fastest to the peak scheduled to begin up the 12.42-mile, 156-turn Pikes Peak race course on Sunday. Porsche is represented in four different divisions with 10 different cars. Included is the one-make Porsche Pikes Peak Trophy by Yokohama.
In March 2019, Porsche Motorsport North America (PMNA) and the PPIHC announced the continuation of the Porsche Pikes Peak Trophy by Yokohama division for a second year. Seven drivers will contest the class in the Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport with full support of PMNA, RennsportOne (RS1), Porsche Colorado Springs and Yokohama. Six entries using model year 2016 Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MRs and a single 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport from 2019 will be balanced to compete in the class. Included in the seven entries are 2018 class winner Travis Pastrana (Davidsonville, Maryland) and last year’s runner-up, IndyCar driver J.R. Hildebrand (Boulder, Colorado). Pastrana, a three-time AMA Motocross and Supercross Champion, X-Game winner and stunt performer set the high mark for the class in its first appearance with a time of 10-minutes, 33.897-seconds up to the 14,115 foot high finish line. The class includes Colorado Spring’s George Hess III and four Pikes Peak rookies with Phil Bloom (Nantucket, Massachusetts), Marc Bunting (Monkton, Maryland), Gustav Lundh (Sweden) and Blake Williams (Australia). A well-known sports car racer, Bunting has the lone 2019 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport in the class.
Matching the one-make Porsche class in size are seven Porsche 911-based cars entered in the Time Attack 1 Division. Among the international drivers list are entrants from France, Japan and the United States. Raphael Astier (France) has entered a 2017 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car outfitted with a turbocharger to enhance performance at the higher elevations of the course. His countryman William Cavailhes will make his debut at Pikes Peak with a 2008 Porsche 911 GT3 RGT while Japan’s Akio Kobayashi returns with a Porsche 911 GT3. A 2013 Porsche 911 GT3 R is the vehicle of choice for Christian Schmitter of France. Monroe, Wisconsin’s Donald Wickstrum will have a normally aspirated 2013 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car for his rookie appearance in Colorado while Colorado Spring’s own Fred Vetch brings a 2001 Porsche 911.
David Donohue is the sole entry in the Pikes Peak Open Division. The 24 Hours of Le Mans class winner who has also earned two Rolex 24 At Daytona victories and an IMSA Championship, piloted a specially prepared Porsche 911 GT3 R to the Time Attack Division win last year with a time of 9:37.152. The West Chester, Pennsylvania-resident returns with a Porsche 911 to seek the win in the “Open” Division. A single entry in the Exhibition class is brought by Christopher Lennon. The Boulder, Colorado-resident brings a class-winning 1973 Porsche 911 RSR EV to Pikes Peak, now completely converted with a fully electric drivetrain.
Porsche History. Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.
The history of Porsche in international motorsports is well known. It is not a surprise that, much like the first production Porsche to roll out of the iconic brand’s “factory” was raced in a hill climb just weeks later, the first Porsche cars to come to North America were also immediately raced. Within years of the first Porsche 356 coming to the United States, the lovers of the German marque were facing “America’s Mountain”, Colorado’s Pikes Peak, in their Porsche road cars. Porsche debuted in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in 1958, and like most things motorsports, the brand has made its mark at the “Race to the Clouds” capturing 25 class victories and twice turning the quickest time for the overall win.
Bill Paine was the first to drive a Porsche 356A up the Mountain in 1958, it was in 1960 when Robert Donner Jr. and Mike Collins each earned the first titles for Porsche in two different classes with variants of the Porsche Type 718 RSK. It would not be until 1976 when future four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Rick Mears raced a Porsche-powered buggy up Pikes Peak for the first overall title. The feat would be repeated once more in 1981 when a Porsche 914 powered buggy driven by Gary Lee Kanawyer gave the Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen automaker its last overall win in Colorado. No Porsche was entered between 1964 and 1970.
Jeff Zwart, eight-time Pikes Peak International Class Champion, is renowned for his prowess on the rally scene, particularly his mastery of the legendary Hill Climb. All of his victories have come in Porsche 911s, from all-wheel-drive rally cars, to stock 911 GT2 RS models and custom turbocharged 911 GT3 Cup cars. Zwart was named to the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Hall of Fame in 2018.
Porsche reinforced its hill climb heritage again in 2018 participating in four of the six Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC) Divisions earning victories in two classes. Travis Pastrana won the first Porsche Pikes Peak Trophy by Yokohama division while Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona-winner David Donohue won the Time Attack Division, Time Attack 1 class in a Porsche 911 GT3 R.
Overall Wins. 2 – 1976, 1981
Class Wins. 25 – 1960 (2), 1961, 1962, 1976, 1981, 1994 – 1998, 2002, 2010, 2011, 2012 (2), 2014 (2), 2015 (2), 2016, 2018 (2).
Porsche 911 Wins. 17 Class Victories – 1994 – 1998, 2002, 2010 – 2011, 2012 (2), 2014 (2), 2015 (3), 2016, 2018
Most Class Wins In A Single Year. 3 – 2015 – Pikes Peak Challenge Vintage (Christopher Lennon, 1973 Porsche 911 RSR), Time Attack 1 (Jeff Zwart, Porsche 911), Time Attack 2 (David Donner, Porsche 911 Turbo S)
Career Porsche Victories, Drivers.
Jeff Zwart, 8 (1994-’98, 2002, ’10, ’15)
Robert Donner Jr., 3 (1960 – ’62)
John Heavey, 2 (2011, ’12)
David Donner, 2 (2015, ’16)
Mike Collins, 1 (1961)
Rick Mears, 1, Overall (1976)
Gary Lee Kanawyer, 1, Overall (1981)
Vincent Beltoise, 1 (2014)
Fred Veitch, 1 (2014)
Christopher Lennon, 1 (2015)
David Donohue, 1 (2018)
Travis Pastrana, 1 (2018)