Porsche aims for the production car record at Pikes Peak

We are just under one week away from the 100th running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, and Porsche is racing in style this year! Previous Pikes Peak champion David Donner is going to once again be running a 911 Turbo, this time a 2022 Porsche 911 Turbo S with the lightweight package equipped, and he’s aiming for the production car record at the mountain. That record—a 10 minute 18.488 second run—currently belongs to a Bentley Continental GT, which racing legend Rhys Millen set in 2019. Donner previously held the record back in 2014 when he raced a 991-generation 911 Turbo S, and he’s anxious to get that record back not only for himself, but for Porsche. The whole campaign is backed by Porsche collector Jim Edwards, and sponsored by the upscale Porsche magazine 000 founded and published by friend of FlatSixes, Pete Stout.

Sponsor, Pete Stout: “Enthusiasts know a fast time on Pikes Peak much like they know a fast lap time on the Nordschleife. The variables on the 14,115-foot mountain present a unique challenge, as do the risks. With no way to practice the full course, you get one shot every 12 months – if the weather cooperates. When it comes to international intrigue, I’d put Pikes Peak up there with Le Mans, Monaco, and the Isle of Man TT. Now consider the fact that you can still race a street-legal car at Pikes Peak on Sunday and drive it to lunch on Monday, much as you might have with an early 911 in the first golden era of the sports car. Many of us think of the Turbo as a luxurious 911,” continues Stout, “but the earliest Turbos were fairly light cars that homologated the 934 and 935 for Group 4 and Group 5 racing. The article explored what the first 911 Turbo was like to drive in the context of the 1973 Carrera RS. The Lightweight Package for today’s Turbo S removes 80 pounds, making a fast car even faster. Champion Porsche have done a fantastic job preparing this car, and we can’t wait to see what Donner can do with it at Pikes Peak.”

Driver, David Donner: “Jim volunteered a new car and I volunteered to drive. His ability to see the big picture and how to make things happen, along with a huge dose of optimism, have made this project a lot of fun. I’ve always gone to Pikes Peak to win or set a record – the stakes are too high unless you’re there to prove something and can do so professionally,” he says. “My family’s history with Porsche at Pikes Peak stems from my father, Bob Donner, who won three times in Porsche Spyders in 1960, 1961, and 1962. My last three wins here have been with a Porsche, so it would be meaningful to make it four. The connection with 000 began in 2020, and none of the contacts or logistics to put a winning team together would have existed without its involvement. We still have a lot to accomplish in testing, but we’re looking forward to joining a huge grid of technologically advanced race cars and world-class drivers for the 100th.”

Car owner, Jim Edwards: “Pikes Peak is an iconic American event,” he says. “Who wouldn’t want to be part of the 100th running? I bought my first Porsche in 1961 and have owned many over the years, and whether racing or displaying them, it’s always fun to watch wide-eyed kids come up to look at them. They know a Porsche when they see one.”

This 911 Turbo S Lightweight was ordered fresh from the factory from Champion Porsche in Florida, and before it even set tire to the road, it was transferred to Champion’s race department to be prepared to do battle on the mountain. The car got all the required safety equipment to run at the PPIHC, and was presumably given a few minor details, like more aggressive alignment settings to shave some seconds. Once finished, the car was treated to a unique art car livery with the theme “print isn’t dead” using hi res images from 000 Magazine’s recent feature about the birth of the 911 Turbo.

The 100th staging of the Pikes Peak International Hillclimb takes place on 26 June.

Bradley Brownell

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