26 PIKES PEAK INTERNATIONAL HILL CLIMB
RECORDS BREAK AND A NEW KING IS BORN AT THE 96TH ANNUAL PIKES PEAK INTERNATIONAL HILL CLIMB
This year, Acura fielded four entries, set two records, and won the open class. An ’18 TLX GT earned bragging rights as not only best in the Open class, but third overall and the fastest production-based vehicle that competed with an overall time of 9:27.352. The TLX GT sports a J35 V-6 with a pair of turbos, among many other supporting mods. The TLX GT was only beaten by two purpose-built prototype race cars (more on that in a moment).
The second record nabbed by Acura was for the TLX A-spec to a time of 10:48.094—a new front-wheel-drive course record. The TLX A-spec had a similar setup to the GT, with a 3.5-liter V-6 pumping out 500 hp (thanks, turbo!) with a limited-slip differential and some aero mods.
A ’19 Acura RDX raced in the Exhibition class, but due to inclement weather, which is something of a calling card for Pikes Peak, it was forced to run on a shortened course.
Since forced induction and electric motors are the power-adders of choice for the high-elevation race, Acura’s NSX contender did quite well, setting a new hybrid record along the way. The Time Attack 1 Class NSX posted a time of 10:02.448, which was good enough to land it in fourth place in its class.
So, who took the coveted “King of the Mountain” title? Volkswagen, with its all-electric I.D. R Pikes Peak prototype race car. The car weighed just over 2,400 pounds and packed about 670 hp of instant-on electric power. To give you an idea just how much power that is, the automaker not only took first overall, but shattered the course record set in ’13 by more than 16 seconds! VW’S run of 7:57.148 was set by driver Romain Dumas in the prototype that was developed in a mere 250 days.
“Since this week’s tests, we have known that it was possible to break the all-time record. For it to come off, everything had to come together perfectly—from the technology to the driver. And the weather had to play ball, too,” Dumas explained. “That everything ran so smoothly is an incredible feeling, and the new record on Pikes Peak is the icing on the cake.”
The Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is an event like no other: 12.42 miles, 156 turns, and a climb that starts at a dizzying 9,390 feet and climbs to more than 14,000 feet. To make up for the powerrobbing elevation, forced induction, and electric motors are mainstays for serious competitors.