It’s that time of year again when some of the most insane vehicles and the maniacs that pilot them converge on a small town in Colorado. And while the town may be small, the reason for being there and the task that lie ahead surely is not. That’s because it’s quite literally a mountain to climb and the fastest vehicle to the top wins, bottom line. The course stretches over 12.3 miles of some of the most beautiful country you could ask for. However, visually appealing as it may be everywhere you look, don’t be mistaken, it’s also some of the most unforgiving country where if you make even the smallest mistake, it very well could be your last. But as with most things, the bigger the risk the bigger the reward, and I can only imagine that when you cross that finish line at over 14,000 feet it’s an experience and feeling that can’t be put to words.
A lot of the danger and exhilaration comes from the 156 turns scattered throughout the 12 mile stretch of canyon roads, which some of those corners have a sheer cliff face on one side. Granted it used to be a lot more sketchy, and probably more fun, back when they had gravel roads all the way up to the finish line. Now it’s tarmac to the top and while that took away a lot of the sideways sliding action you had when there was gravel, it also made lap times a hell of a lot quicker.
The current king of the mountain is Sebastien Loeb, who also happens to be the most successful driver in the World Rally Championship’s history. Loeb used a highly modified purpose built Peugeot 208 T-16 to put on quite a show at the 2013 Pikes Peak International Hillclimb. This bonkers little car was built for one thing and one thing only, to get to the top of that mountain as fast as physically possible. Weighing in at only 1,929lbs, this little Peugeot was just a featherweight. Except for it was packing the punch of Mike Tyson, Ivan Draggo, and Clubber Lang put together. If you’re not familiar with those last two, bless your heart and I highly recommend checking out the Rocky films.
It’s packing a 3.2L twin turbo V6 that’s putting out, are you ready for this, 875hp in a car that weighs less than half of something like a Bugatti Chron. That power is sent to all four wheels via a lightning-fast sequential gearbox and that equates to that next level of acceleration. Loeb used this insane machine to run a mind blowing 8 minutes 13.87 seconds which flat out embarrasses the previous record, beating it by a full minute and a half. And the record was previously held by Rhys Millen, who’s a legend in his own right, so it’s not like Loeb had a walk in the park.