You know what’s great? America. America is a great place, not because we are a nation of freedom, capitalism, and sports fans who enjoy watching football that requires the use of your hands. It’s a great place because each year, a few very talented and dedicated people decide to drive up a mountain with about as much protection as Clinton had with Monica Lewinsky — as fast as they can.
Over the weekend, our friend and talented photographer Dillan Miller captured the 2015 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on behalf of The Driver’s Syndicate. Now in its 93rd running, the race to the clouds is the second oldest annual motor sports race in America and was founded in 1916. Hosted on Pikes Peak, a mountain near Colorado Springs, CO, the race is 12.42 miles long and has 156 turns — most of which are on cliff’s edge.
The hill climb begins at an altitude of 9,390 ft. and finishes at the 14,115 ft. summit. Because of this elevation, the race is a true testament to each team’s ability to engineer a competitive car or motorcycle that can perform under changing and often erratic conditions — this year’s competition saw temperature changes from the mid-80s to below freezing, including a bit of snowfall.
A basic understanding of altitude and elevation tells us that even with mild changes in oxygen levels, drivers experience a loss in strength and reaction time. Considering that the PPIHC has nearly 5,000 ft. of elevation change, combustion engines lose an average of 30% in power due to atmospheric differences.
This race, and others like it, capture the true spirit of motor sports: the desire to go faster and the spirit of competition. As an automotive enthusiast and as an American, I’m proud to see this race continue — especially with the ever-increasing sanctions on motor sports we are seeing internationally.