Porsche Motorsport North America with Pirelli Tire conquered the legendary Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on Sunday, June 27, with a record-breaking run by Jeff Zwart in the Luminox Watches Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car shod with Pirelli P Zero racing tires.
After obliterating the qualifying record earlier in the weekend by 18 seconds, Zwart broke the existing Time Attack class record by a massive 38 seconds in his official race-day run up the famous 12.42-mile mountain course on Sunday.
The victory was Zwart's seventh triumph on the 156-turn hill climb layout, and he literally left the field of two- and four-wheel drive competitors in the dust.
The P Zero tires that Zwart used for his record run were the same wet-weather Pirellis that have been successful in Grand-Am Rolex Series GT competition since 2008. The rain-tire application supports the versatility of the industry-leading products and the unique nature of the iconic event.
Zwart's 2007 GT3 Cup car, which was updated to 2010 specifications, was the only Porsche competing at Pikes Peak. It was also the fastest production-based car of the event, and Zwart's time of 11:31.095 was the sixth fastest overall behind three Unlimited Class and two Open Wheels cars, which all produced at least 600 horsepower.
Nobuhiro Tajima won the hill climb overall in a turbocharged eight-cylinder Suzuki 4WD race car in the Unlimited Class. "It was a perfect day and the perfect combination of the right tires on a great car," Zwart said. "I was amazed at the way the Pirellis handled the transition from asphalt to gravel to asphalt to gravel. The predictability of the tires and feedback from the car was extremely good in very different situations going up the mountain. "
The legendary hill climb course begins at 9,390 feet, finishes at the 14,110 foot summit of Pikes Peak. It features a surface which is paved near the beginning and the end and, for the most part, run on gravel.
"The tires maintained perfect wear and temperature throughout the climb. This was key as the single most difficult section is near the top of the mountain because of the high-speed asphalt section that notoriously wears out tires before you transition to the fastest gravel section. I was able to transition to the high speed gravel without hesitation as I had complete grip, control and acceleration through the slow speed corners to finish the strong run."
The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is the second oldest motorsports race in America, behind only the Indianapolis 500, and a long-standing tradition in Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak Region. First contested in 1916, this past weekend marked the 88th running of the "Race to the Clouds."