Pikes Peak Hillclimb – Open Division
156 turns in 12.42 miles. 4,721 feet of elevation gain. Finish line altitude at 14,110 feet. With stats like that we could only be talking about one motorsport event, the Pike’s Peak International Hillclimb. The Pike’s Peak Hillclimb, aptly nicknamed the Race to the Clouds, has been testing drivers and their vehicles since 1918. Every July the faithful arrive at the mountain to take another shot at knocking off a record without skidding off the mountain in the process.
At 9,390 feet, the altitude of the starting line for the Pike’s Peak Hillclimb, a race engine is already producing 30% less power than it would at sea level. This is due to the thinner air at altitude. Supercharging or turbocharging certainly help the effort, but by the time even a forced induction engine reaches the finish line, 4,721 feet later, that engine is 42% down on power compared to sea level.
Carl Fausett, owner of 928 Motorsports, knows this well and he shows up with the right equipment for his attempts on the mountain. As his company’s name suggests, Carl has a fascination with the Porsche 928, so it is no surprise that his vehicle of choice for Pike’s Peak is a supercharged version of the venerable 928. The pressure fed, 5.1 liter V8, running a Bell Intercoolers liquid/air intercooler system, develops 450 hp and Carl uses every bit of it in the race to the top.
A wide variety of vehicles show up every year to compete, ranging from quads and motorcycles to big rig trucks. Fausett competes in the Pike’s Peak Open Division, a class based on street cars and requiring street car bodywork, but allowing extensive modifications to the suspension and drivetrain. In this class Carl goes head-to-head with some serious challengers, many bringing with them much newer technology and all-wheel drive. Regardless, the rear-wheel drive 928 always turns in a good effort, finishing third in class in 2007 and Carl gives the fans a great show as he claws and slides his way to the top of Pike’s Peak.