The all-new Range Rover Sport has been confirmed as the official Pace Car for this Sunday’s 91st running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. Known as the Race To The Clouds, the annual event on America’s Mountain in Colorado, USA, is famous for its spectacular location and unforgiving nature, with much of the 12.4-mile course lined by sheer drops down the mountainside.
As the course-opening car, the Range Rover Sport will revisit the scene of its own record-setting run earlier this month, when it powered to a new best time up the hill for a production-standard Sport Utility Vehicle and broke the long standing record for any type of production-standard vehicle. The Range Rover Sport negotiated the 12.42-mile course, which has 156 corners and ascends from 9,390 feet (2,860m) above sea level to 14,110 feet (4,300m), in just 12 minutes 35.61 seconds – an average speed, from a standing start, of 59.17 mph (95.23 kph). The record was set in a Range Rover Sport powered by a 510PS 5.0-litre supercharged petrol V8 engine, the vehicle altered from production specification only in the fitment of a roll cage and harness seatbelts to meet racing safety requirements.
On the record run, the Range Rover Sport was driven by Pikes Peak specialist Paul Dallenbach. This Sunday, the Pace Car will be driven by veteran motorsports competitor and official Gay Smith, of Colorado Springs. Smith was the 1974 Rookie of the Year on Pikes Peak and has served on the event’s Board of Directors for 20 years.
This year’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb has attracted 157 competitors (70 cars and 87 motorcycles), with drivers and riders from 16 nations. The entry is headlined by World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb.
Timed runs start on Sunday 30 June at 08.00 Mountain Daylight Time (BST – 7 hours, GMT – 6 hours). For the first time, the event is being broadcast to fans around the world via the Internet, on RedBull.TV.
Internet visitors can also, starting from this weekend, watch a newly-released four-minute documentary film about the Range Rover Sport’s record run at Pikes Peak earlier this month, with spectacular views from inside and outside the vehicle:
The Pikes Peak car and motorcycle hill climb competition is held annually on a 12.42-mile (19.99 km) section of the road that runs up to the summit of Pikes Peak Mountain, 14 miles north-west of the town of Colorado Springs.
First run in 1916, Pikes Peak is the USA’s second-oldest motorsport event. Some of America’s most famous racing drivers – Mario Andretti, Bobby Unser, Rick Mears, and Al Unser – have won the competition, as have internationally acclaimed rally drivers such as Michele Mouton, Ari Vatanen, Per Eklund and Stig Blomqvist.
Developed alongside the highly-acclaimed Range Rover, the all-new Range Rover Sport delivers the brand’s best-ever on-road dynamics together with class-leading, genuine Land Rover all-terrain capability, while presenting customers with a more assertive and muscular exterior, more luxurious interior and the flexibility provided by the option of occasional third row seating.
Exploiting Land Rover’s breakthrough lightweight suspension design and innovative dynamic chassis technologies, the All-New Range Rover Sport’s first-in-class aluminium architecture achieves a weight saving of more than 420kg.