Jun 12, 2011 5:03 PM by Jordan Mason
Colorado Springs, June 12----------Drivers and racers from ten nations, France, Italy, Japan, Spain, New Zealand, Sweden, Mexico, Australia, Great Britain and the USA, will challenge the terrain and the altitude during the world's most famous hill climb- the 89th Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, on Sunday, June 26.
It all began in 1916 and this one could be special.
A field of 194 drivers and racers is set for the thrills and unexpected twists and turns in America's second oldest motor sports race at 9:00 a.m. The race is staged on a 12.42 mile course with 156 turns. It begins at 9,390 feet and ends at the famous mountain's 14,110-foot summit above Colorado Springs.
http://director.usacracing.com/ppihc/files/pdfs/competitor_list.pdf (Roster of competitors)
It's the most spectacular and unusual event on a loaded summer calendar of sports events in Colorado Springs, the home of the United States Olympic Committee and almost 50 major sports organizations, ranging from archery to wrestling.
Journalists and broadcasters have been accredited from Romania, Great Britain, Australia, France, Japan, New Zealand and the United States to cover the race this year.
It begins on Friday, June 24, in downtown Colorado Springs with the race Fan Fest, with some 35,000 fans on hand from 5:00-10:00 p.m. The free admission evening includes a chance to see the autos and motorcycles, along with their drivers and racers, enjoy live music, a chili cook-off, motorcycle jumpers, even the Denver Bronco cheerleaders.
Hollywood film star Paul Walker (Fast And Furious), will drive the Official Pace Car, a Porsche 911, from the start line on Race Day, with Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach buckled in the passenger seat.
Much attention will be focused on the autos in the Unlimited Division, where five-time champion Nobuhiro Tajima of Japan returns in another crack at the Peak's elusive ten minute barrier. Tajima set the record of 10:01.408 in 2007.
The defending King of the Mountain will take the wheel of his 910hp Suzuki SX4 Hill Climb Special again, but he faces the toughest competition he has had in the storied race, including Rhys Millen, Paul Dallenbach, Dave Carapetyan and France's Jean-Philippe Dayraut. (British RallyCross champion Mark Rennison withdrew on June 8.)
Dacia will enter the Unlimited field with a purpose-built 850hp prototype, the Duster 'No Limit', driven by three-time Trophée Andros champion Dayraut.
Dallenbach's PVA-03 features turbo charging, tuning and engineering expertise, boosting the formally normal-breathing engine's power output from 745 hp & 650 lb-ft to a stunning 1307 hp & 1206 lb-ft.
Rhys Millen will return to the mountain for the 19th time and another attempt to crack the storied ten-minute barrier in the loaded division after finishing third last year. He'll be behind the wheel again of his upgraded, improved, 750hp 2011 Hyundai Genesis RMR PM580.
Carapetyan, who won the Pikes Peak Open class three times in a row, will make his debut in the Unlimited field driving a 2011 Rally Ready Mitsubishi Evolution 959, especially constructed this spring to challenge the mountain.
A huge story this time involves the return of Rod Millen, one of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb's living legends, to compete in the Time Attack 2WD division. Millen, who turned 60 this spring, won the overall championship in the race five times and earned eight class championships. He captured the Unlimited crown five times alone - 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998 and 1999, and held the record on the Peak at 10:04.06 (1994), until it was broken by Tajima.
The New Zealander, who lives in Huntington Beach, California, will drive a Hyundai Genesis Coupe developed by his son's team at Rhys Millen Racing. It's his first appearance since 1999 on the mountain.
Stephan Verdier, the durable French Rally Cross star and two-time Pikes Peak rally class winner, has entered the Time Attack 4WD field with his 2011 Subaru Impreza WRK STI 123. Verdier won the Rally Class on the Peak in 2005, the last time he came to Colorado Springs, driving a Subaru WRX to the title in a time of 12:17.6.
Led by 17-year-old Savannah Rickli of Littleton, Colorado, there are women entered in this year's event who could become the event's first "Queen of the Mountain," She and navigator Rebecca Greek took third in the rugged Time Attack 2WD Division last year with a clocking of 13:58.232 in their Mini Cooper S. In taking third, Rickli became, at 16, the youngest female competitor ever to finish the race. Her main problem will be going up against Rod Millen in his return, along with defending champion and seven-time winner Jeff Zwart and 2010 runnerup Ken Stouffer.
Christy Carlson, a 30-year-old driver from Papillion, Nebraska, will pilot her 2002 Subaru WRX in the Time Attack 4WD Division in her first try on the Peak. She's a meteorologist and storm chaser, whose passion for severe weather and climate studies led to a Bachelor's in Meteorology/Climatology from the University of Nebraska, then on to getting a Masters in Professional Meteorology from the University of Oklahoma.
The 31-year-old SCCA solo and Rally cross driver learned how to drive fast chasing tornadoes and is currently working full-time for the Air Force Weather Agency and also pursuing a Ph.D. in Meteorology/Climatology through the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Returning to seek another crown on America's Mountain are defending champions Clint Vahsholtz (Super Stock), Spencer Steele (Open Wheel), Keith Davidson (Vintage Race Cars), Jeff Zwart (Time Attack 2WD), Joe Prussiano (Motorcycle 450 CC), Davey Durelle (Motorcycle 250CC), Gary Trachy (Motorcycle 750 CC), Greg Tracy (Motorcycle 1205 CC), Michael Coburn (Motorcycle Quad Modified), David Hennessy (Motorcycle Sidecar), Leeland Sinclair (Motorcycle Supermoto 450 CC), and Ikuo Hanawa of Japan (Electric Auto Exhibition Powersport). Carapetyan (Pikes Peak Open) has moved to the Unlimited field this year.
Advance ticket sales are running at a record pace right now, and race officials are urging fans to purchase their tickets soon to avoid congestion at the toll booth on Race Day.
Ticket prices begin at $40.00, with a Family Four-Pack available at $125.00 and VIP admission priced at $80.00. Tickets, limited camping permits and all other race information is available at www.ppihc.com