The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb has changed a few times since it began back in 1916. What started as a showcase of what cars can do slowly morphed into the most unique USAC IndyCar race of the season. Then, it became the most prestigious single stage rally in the world, one won first by Group B monsters and then by specials built in their style long after the class ended.
In the past two decades, gradual paving slowly removed dirt from the equation entirely. That led to an era of closed-fender specials of both electric and gas-powered varieties, most notably including the Volkswagen I.D. R that set the course record back in 2018. While some elements of each of those eras still make up the hill climb’s massive and eclectic field, the fastest cars in the field are currently privately-built, sports car-like specials.
Robin Shute, driver of The Sendy Club’s Wolf, has been the class of the field throughout this latest era. He proved that again today, setting the fastest time to take overall victory in the 100th Pikes Peak International Hill Climb with a time of 10:09.525. That’s a 25 second gap on second place, Exhibition class winner David Donner in a mostly-stock 911 Turbo S. Time Attack class winner David Donohue finished the overall podium in third in a 911 GT2 RS Clubsport, while Open Wheel class winner Codie Vahsholtz finishing fourth overall in the 2013 Ford that won the event in 2014.
Substantial fog slowed the field significantly, with Shute finishing nearly a minute off his 2019 race-winning time of 9:12.4 in the TSC Wolf. That also meant Donner came up just short of his goal of retaking the production car record from the Bentley Continental GT’s 10:18.4, finishing with a final time of 10:34.5 in the Porsche. Among other finishers, the most interesting might be Rod Millen. The 1998 and 1999 winner finished eighth in the same Tacoma that won the race in those years, although his time of 11:06.1 was significantly off his winning time of 10:07.7 in 1998 even with the help of significantly more paved course.
Photo by STEPHEN SULLIVAN VIA FACEBOOK