FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 23, 2023
BEHIND THE WHEEL
COLE POWELSON EYES DIESEL RECORD, PREPS ENTRY FOR 2023 PIKES PEAK INTERNATIONAL HILL CLIMB
Colorado Springs, CO – On June 25 the green flag will drop for the iconic Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, brought to you by Gran Turismo. Cole Powelson (Salt Lake City, UT) returns to America’s Mountain with his sights set on capturing the diesel-powered record. The existing mark, 11:24.065, was set by Scott Birdsall in 2020, in the eye-catching 1949 Ford F1 truck, nicknamed “Old Smokey”. Back behind the wheel of “Frank the Tank,” a 2010 Nissan GT-R, Powelson’s 2023 objective is clear, stating, “We aim to be the fastest diesel-powered vehicle to ever tackle America’s Mountain!”
Known as the creator of the SIERRA race car brand, his builds have been piloted by other PPIHC drivers including Aaron Kaufman, Paul Gerrard, John McInnes and Greg Tracy, who recalled, “I met Cole when he first came to Pikes Peak. He had an absolute love for Pikes Peak, the racing community, and the other competitors. Cole’s ability behind the wheel and his skills as a race car builder are both at the top.”
Asked about his schedule during the past year, Powelson shared, “I have been flat out since our last run up the mountain! We were able to get the overall win with Global Time Attack at Buttonwillow and reset the AWD production car record at COTA in “Sydney” (sister GT-R to “Frank”). We were also able to spend lots of time racing SIERRA Cars on an ice track in Colorado this winter.” Powelson continues, “We’ve also built the first electric SIERRA and have been testing and preparing to bring it to the mountain this year.”
Aaron Kaufman is slated to drive the electric SIERRA Echo in the Unlimited division in June.
In 2022 he was back on the hill in the 2010 Nissan GT-R powered by a 6.0L Ford Power Stroke diesel engine, however, the run was cut short when a mechanical failure occurred just below Ski Area.
As Powelson focuses on his Pikes Peak effort for 2023, he shares what’s new, “The team has been making some solid upgrades. We have made a number of oil system and cooling improvements. And I’m so pumped to have teamed up with Riffraff diesel, and the guys at LYFE Motorsport to have another go. This team is unstoppable!”
Photo Credits: Larry Chen, Revvolution/Nathan Leach-Proffer, Corey Davis, Louis Yio
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.