It’s Race Week and the 101st Running of the Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, brought to you by Gran Turismo saw drivers shift to the next section of the mountain to test their skills and their machines in new territory. After a second morning of practice and qualifying sessions, drivers are one step closer to their one shot at the Summit on Sunday.
LOWER SECTION – Two of the most dominant names in recent PPIHC history posted the fastest times in qualifying, with three-time and defending King of the Mountain Robin Shute and his venerable 2018 Wolf TSC-FS atop the Unlimited division and overall standings. Shute’s third and final run clocked in at 3:24.711, more than 15 seconds ahead of any other driver in qualifying and more than 30 seconds faster than second in division Dan Novembre.
Reigning course record holder Romain Dumas and the all-electric 2023 Ford Performance SuperVan 4 posted the top time in the Pikes Peak Open division – a 3:39.939 in his third and final run, besting the 2022 qualifying record set by Rhys Millen in the 2016 E-Motion Porsche GT3R TT by nine seconds. James Clay (1995 BMW M3, 3:47.089) and Raphael Astier (2018 Alpine A110 GT4 Evo, 3:51.872) rounded out the top three division qualifiers.
Mirl Swan was the fastest rookie qualifier, posting a 4:01.501 to place third in the Unlimited division and sixth overall. Duncan Cowper, qualified sixth in division with a 4:21.370 in the Cowper Dax Rush Pikes Peak Special, while Lucy Block was 12th in the all-electric #430 Sierra Echo.
MIDDLE SECTION – The Porsche Pikes Peak Trophy by Yokohama division and Time Attack 1 lined up to see what the middle section had in store. After qualifying 1-2 on Tuesday, David Donohue and Jeff Zwart were again the fastest two drivers in Time Attack 1 as they worked their way up the mountain. Donohue’s 2019 Porsche GT2 RS Clubsport posted a 2:27.273 in his fourth of five passes, while Zwart’s 2019 Porsche 935/19 put up a 2:32.989 in his final run.
The Porsche Pikes Peak Trophy by Yokohama was incredibly close, with five of the six drivers posting top times within a three second span. Hayden Bradley, an event rookie and the youngest competitor in this year’s race, set the benchmark with a 2:54.729, with George Hess III just over half of a second behind. It marked the second day in a row that Bradley topped the division after he led the field in qualifying yesterday.
UPPER SECTION – After Randy Pobst topped the Exhibition division in the middle section on Tuesday, Tanner Foust led the group in the upper section on Wednesday with a 2:40.89 in his 2023 Radford Type 62-2. Pobst’s 2021 Tesla Model S Plaid was second in the division at 2:46.20, but top Open Wheel racer Codie Vahsholtz split the two with a time of 2:41.71.
Once again, Matt Mullins was the fastest rookie across the two groups, placing sixth overall and fourth in the Exhibition division with a 2:52.15 in the impressive 2023 BMW XM Label Red. Top Open Wheel rookie Sylas Montgomery was third in his division – exactly one second behind Mullins.
The Exhibition and Open Wheel classes will wrap up qualifying on Thursday in the lower section, while Unlimited and Pikes Peak Open will take on the middle section and Time Attack 1 and Porsche Pikes Peak Trophy by Yokohama will head to the top.