FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 20, 2023
BEHIND THE WHEEL
SCOTT BIRDSALL READY TO EMBRACE THE MOUNTAIN AND DEFEND DIESEL RECORD IN 2023 PIKES PEAK INTERNATIONAL HILL CLIMB
Colorado Springs, CO – On June 25 drivers from twelve countries will line up to challenge the 14,115′ summit of Pikes Peak – America’s Mountain over a 12.42 mile course. Among them, it will be hard to miss diesel-diehard, Scott Birdsall. Making his fourth appearance, Birdsall is gearing up for the 101st Running of The Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, brought to you by Gran Turismo in June.
Birdsall first entered the Race to the Clouds in 2019 in his highly anticipated diesel-powered 1949 Ford F1 nicknamed “Old Smokey.” However, a weather-shortened course didn’t allow him to an opportunity to reach the summit. His return in 2020 saw Birdsall on the podium when he captured 3rd place in the Exhibition division and clinched the Diesel Fuel Record in 11:24.065.The previous record was held by Germany’s Uwe Nittel when he made his record setting run of 11:37.149 in 2015 in the Exhibition division driving a 2016 Mercedes Benz C300 d 4 MATIC.
Forced to withdraw due to mechanical issues in 2021, Birdsall returned in 2022 behind the wheel of the 2022 CG/Superlight LMP-1 hoping to defend or improve his diesel fuel record. Unfortunately, the mountain decided no records would be set and shrouded itself in heavy fog all day. Birdsall finished 13th in the Exhibition division. “Even though our result wasn’t nearly what we wanted, we learned a ton about what worked on the car, and what didn’t,” said Birdsall. “The weather on Pikes Peak is wild. You can encounter several weather systems on a run. I try to test in different types of weather, but with this LMP-1 car, there are only 2 setups we use on the mountain. First is our dry setup which is a full power tune, sticky Toyo prototype slicks, and a fairly stiff suspension. Second, is our intermediate/wet setup that uses a mild tune, Toyo rain tires, and softer suspension settings.”
Old Smokey also returned in 2022 with veteran driver and TV personality Aaron Kaufman putting it through its paces. Kaufman finished in 12th just edging Birdsall.
For drivers and their sponsors, Fan Fest, a 10-block race-themed street festival in downtown Colorado Springs, is one of the highlights of race week. “Hill Climb fans on and off the mountain are amazing. Next to the race, Fan Fest is my favorite part of race week. It’s awesome to get to see how important the race is to the fans and really sets this race apart from anything else,” shared Birdsall.
Asked about the importance of sponsorship in his Pikes Peak effort, Birdsall said, “Sponsors are a really big deal for me. I am lucky enough to work with some of the best companies in the racing and automotive space. Partners like Amsoil, Toyo Tires, DDP, S&S, and Fleece not only provide financial support and world class components, but give me some of the best race and tech support I could ask for.”
With one year under his belt in the LMP1, Birdsall revealed some of the car’s new features for 2023, “This year, we gave up the compound Garrett turbo setup in favor of a single Garrett paired with a Roots-type supercharger to relieve the car of some drive pressure and turbo lag. We have changed suspension, added chassis rigidity, and increased cooling capacity. There’s some other voodoo as well, but we’ll show those cards during race week.”
Get to Know Scott Birdsall:
Three fun facts:
- I love chocolate.
- I hate spiders.
- I feel most alive on the mountain.
That’s a tough one. Either Elk Park, or coming into Picnic Grounds
How many Pikes Peak summit donuts do you typically eat during Race Week?
“Summit house donuts are a rite of passage! I don’t eat any during the week, but I definitely indulge in a few on race day, and I buy a bunch to bring down to the team after the Parade of Champions.”
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.