FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, August 3, 2023
BEHIND THE WHEEL
PPIHC HALL OF FAMER JEFF ZWART WELCOMING, WISE, WINNER
Colorado Springs, CO – Sixty six drivers from around the world converged on Pikes Peak – America’s Mountain in June to test their skill, their courage and their horsepower on the 12.42 mile course. Many were veterans of the iconic race, a handful were returning Kings of the Mountain, and a group of 17 rookies arrived with raw talent, uncertain expectations and a list of questions. They were all fortunate to have the opportunity to race alongside PPIHC Hall of Famer, Jeff Zwart.
The Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, brought to you by Gran Turismo, is a hill climb like no other; known worldwide as a proving ground for manufacturers, a test of memorization, and one of the pinnacles of motorsports competition. Zwart has experienced the mountain from just about every angle, both behind the lens and behind the wheel.
In 1989, Zwart entered the Pikes Peak Production division in a Mazda, finishing fourth. He returned in 1994 as part of the Pikes Peak Open division where he drove his 1990 Porsche to a first place division finish. He repeated that pattern from 1996-1998, bringing the famous German marque to the mountain and standing atop the podium.
His only departure from the brand, aside from his rookie year, was in 2004 when he entered the Group O Rally division in a Mitsubishi Evo 8.
Perhaps one of the best ambassadors of the PPIHC, Zwart not only competes. but makes himself available on and off the mountain to coach and mentor other drivers. From set up, to optimal race line, to racing in rough weather, Zwart has a wealth of knowledge stored up and ready to share. For the past six years he has been the driving coach for the Porsche Pikes Peak Trophy by Yokohama – a one-make division that has included Travis Pastrana, Blake “Bilko” Williams, Tanner Foust, JR Hildebrand, Loni Unser, Kathryn Mead and local favorite, George Hess.
“Coaching this class on the mountain has taught me a lot and ultimately made me quicker on the mountain, shared Zwart. “To spend the days coaching and breaking down the nuances of going fast is certainly something that I can apply to my own driving.”
“I pull back the curtain on my own process that has worked for me for the last 20 years and I love seeing the competitors in this Porsche division taking on the same process.” – Jeff Zwart
Zwart has claimed seven division wins on America’s Mountain, and every one of those has been notched in a Porsche racing machine.
In 2010 he set a Time Attack record in the Porsche GT3 Cup car.
His fastest time, 9:43.921, was clocked in 2020 in the 2019 Porsche 935, one of three sub-10 minute runs Zwart has recorded to date.
He was inducted to the Pikes Peak Hill Climb Hall of Fame in 2018.
Driver and Director
Zwart began as a still photographer graduating from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena California in 1979. His early work was for Road & Track Magazine, which led to advertising campaigns for automotive companies including Porsche, BMW, Mercedes Benz, and virtually every other automotive brand. Zwart also channeled his enthusiasm for motorsport as a co-founder of RACER magazine in 1992.
Zwart continues to work as a commercial film director specializing in high action television commercials and films shot all over the world.
Zwart chronicled one of his Pikes Peak experiences, Porsche, the Road to Pikes Peak. He also directed superstar Ken Block’s drifting adventure on Pikes Peak in ClimbKhana.
GET TO KNOW JEFF ZWART
Three Things For Fans To Know:
“I live in Colorado.”
“I first came to Pikes Peak as a photographer for Road & Track magazine.”
“I have published six automotive photo art books on Porsche and racing – two of my favorite subjects.”
Pikes Peak Heroes:
Michele Mouton, Bobby Unser, Rod Millen
What makes the PPIHC different than racing anywhere else:
Racing against the elements and the mountain, which is always changing, and you get just one chance to make it to the summit.
Favorite Corner: 11 Mile
Some Racing Highlights:
- SCCA US Pro Rally Championship Open Class Champion 1990
- Panama – Alaska 1997 FIA Marathon 10,000 mile Rally, 2nd
- Baja 1000 Baja Challenge Class Champion 2004
- TransSyberia Rally 2007 – Moscow to Mongolia
- Drove the first 911 to complete the Mexican 1000 in the 50 year Baja history in 2017
- Also races locally in Colorado Hill Climb Association events
Favorite Track: Road Atlanta
Photos by: Scott Payne, Nathan Leach Proffer, Larry Chen, Luis Garcia, Jeff Zwart, PPIHC Archives
ABOUT THE PIKES PEAK INTERNATIONAL HILL CLIMB
First staged in 1916, the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is the second oldest race in America. The invitation-only event, often referred to as The Race to the Clouds is held annually on the last Sunday of June on Pikes Peak – America’s Mountain, near Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA. The famous 12.42-mile (20 km) course consists of 156 turns, boasts an elevation gain of 4,725 feet (1,440 m), and reaches a finish line at 14,115 feet (4,302 m) above sea level. The PPIHC’s six race divisions feature a wide variety of vehicles – from production-based Time Attack challengers to purpose-built Open Wheel racers and state-of-the-art Unlimited vehicles. The current race record was set in 2018 by Romain Dumas and Volkswagen in the all-electric I.D. R Pikes Peak – 07:57.148.