Another Run at the Hill - PPIHC's 101st Running
Since Pat joined our team in 2020, we've had our own in-house field reporter for The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb every June. This yearly race is one of Colorado's most iconic events, both as a grassroots icon of motorsport and one of the most grueling races on the planet on a manufacturer level. We're happy we can share some of Pat's stories! Join us as we cover Another Run at the Hill for the 101st running of The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb brought to you by Gran Turismo.
We've covered the hill climb before, during the 99th running. Be sure to check out that earlier blog. This time, Pat got his first experience of the race's start line - sitting at just under 10,000ft. The event brings about some of the broadest range of racecars on earth, from home-built classic BMWs and open wheelers to manufacturer-backed, purpose-built racers like the all-electric Ford Supervan 5, which had a run at the overall course record, but came up a bit short this year.
Either way, we're a restoration shop first and foremost: so we're all about the more historical and classic vehicles up on the hill. Of course, the iconic moment for the hill and collector cars was in 1960, when a Ferrari 250 GTO (chassis #0756TR) driven by original owner and racer Dick Morgansen ran the hill in a white-out blizzard. Since then, Ferrari hasn't been as common of a name around the mountain. In modern times, there's been a huge push for Porsches, but even back in the 60s and the heyday of the sports car class, drivers like Bobby Donner drove the Porsche RS61s to the summit with bravery and guts shared by the drivers today.
As we get back to the 2023 running, there were a few classics we wanted to highlight. One car that didn't receive much coverage was the 1967 Camaro driven by local racer Tommy Boileau. This is a car that has run the mountain multiple times under Tommy's tenure on the mountain since 2019. This year, the team ran into issues throughout practice week, and a late accident during one of the final practice days meant the car was unable to run, but it should be back in action for 2024.
Being our man on the ground is a classic enthusiast; Pat was working with the Aweida family, who ran a mid-80s Audi 4000 and hung around with David Hackl, driving a similar-era Audi Quattro up the hill. The classics still have their place at Pikes Peak, even if they're running with a bit more modern mechanicals. The last car we wanted to give a shoutout to was a longtime icon of the mountain over the past 7 or 8 years. The 1949 Ford F1 truck driven and built by Scott Birdsall had made an impressive name for itself, holding the overall diesel record on the hill. Unfortunately, during this year's run, Scott lost brakes going into one of the most dangerous corners of the race; the car was launched 175 feet and rolled somewhere between 7 and eight times. Unfortunately, 'Ol Smokey' was lost in the accident, but we're incredibly happy to see Scott is ok and taking it in stride, posting "Does anybody need a roll cage built?" just a few hours after the accident. Below is the in-car video footage of the final run at the hill for Ol Smokey. Warning: the in-car crash footage is shown, but Scott is quick to hop out.
We love covering this unique event and hope we can continue to send Pat off for a week full of fun each June. Thanks for catching up with some of the classic Colorado car fun; we'll be back next week covering some Porsche peculiarities. In the meantime, if you have a classic needing that final touch, a collectible looking to find the next owner, or an extensive detail to refresh your classic, give us a call at 303-761-1245, or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.