100th Running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb
Fourteen Newcomers to Compete June 26th
Colorado Springs, CO – The Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, brought to you by Gran Turismo, introduces race fans around the world to a talented group of Pikes Peak Rookies. While they are considered rookies on Pikes Peak – America’s Mountain, their racing experience elsewhere shines. Five of the six competition divisions feature these eager men and women.
“One of the enduring legacies of this historic race is the mix of hill climbers who bring decades of experience, along with the first-time drivers,” shared PPIHC Executive Director, Bob Bodor. “We are excited to watch them compete on June 26th.”
With over 200 hours of high-level driving training from Honda and experience in rally and autocross events, Hubers is equipped to take on America’s Mountain. He competed at the Lake Superior Performance Rally, placing 5th in his class and 30th overall in his 2017 Maxxis Honda Civic.
Asked about competing in the 100th Running Hubers shared, “I have to say, I’m truly thankful to be participating in the 100th Running. Few racing events have such a longstanding history and being a part of such an important milestone makes it extra special.”
Gunnar Jeanette arrives at Pikes Peak with more than 20 years of racing experience, beginning when he was 16-years old. Jeannette won the 2010 and 2011 American Le Mans Series and at the age of 18 became the youngest person to finish this race. He has been featured on various television shows and in national magazines such as his appearance on MTV’s True Life “I Live on the Edge” and USA Today’s 2003 post-Le Mans coverage issue.
Levi Shirley, a 30-year-old off-road racer has built a notable reputation. In 2011 and in 2014, Shirley was named the Ultra 4 Sportsman of the Year and won three titles in the 2014 Ultra 4 Europe Series. Shirley continues to prove himself as a top contender recently finishing in 8th position at the 2021 Ultra 4 King of the Hammers, and in 3rd place in the 2021 Every Man Challenge.
PIKES PEAK OPEN DIVISION
A Colorado Springs resident, Jimmy Ford is a third-generation racecar driver with a passion for adrenaline. Ford first raced dirt bikes at the age of seven, later moving to the Colorado Hill Climb Association where he notched ten championships and set 15 records. His 1994 Ford Bronco was built by John Wells and raced by Leonard Vahsholtz on Pikes Peak in the mid-1990s – both Wells and Vahsholtz have been recognized for their achievements on the mountain with inductions into the Pikes Peak Hill Climb Hall of Fame. Ford describes his driving style as, “Everything rolled into one – aggressive, cautious, rowdy, on the edge, but most importantly smooth…because smooth is fast.”
Twenty-six-year-old Jonathan Meyer, son of Pikes Peak veteran David Meyer, is ready to conquer the mountain. Following driver training at the Ron Fellows Driving School in Las Vegas, Nevada, Meyer has been competing since 2012. As a quad racer in the Colorado Hill Climb Association series in 2012, Meyer won Rookie of the Year and notched two first place finishes. Since 2017 he has competed in Time Attack events at Pikes Peak International Raceway.
By way of Cape Coral, Florida, Eduardo Vertiz is a Peruvian racer who brings over 20 years of professional experience. During his years in rally events, Vertiz captured three national championships. In 2021 Vertiz took first place at the Homestead 300 and placed 2nd in the Mount Washington Hill Climb. After many years of preparation, Vertiz shared, “I have watched Rhys Millen’s in-car videos over 400 times. If you want to be fast you want to learn from the best. I have admired this race since I was a kid and always dreamed of competing and representing my country, Peru.”
PORSCHE PIKES PEAK TROPHY BY YOKOHAMA
Jonny Lieberman’s love for cars and racing started at an early age when his father drove him around Malibu in his Datsun 280Z. When asked what made him enter this iconic hill climb, he shared, “I’ve lost track of the number of friends I have who have competed at Pikes Peak – Randy Pobst, Andrew Comrie-Picard, Robb Holland, Justin Bell, Jeff Zwart, just to name a few, and they all talk about racing against the mountain in hushed, almost reverent tones. As an experience junkie, figuring out why they love Pikes Peak so much has massive appeal. The fact that it’s the 100th Running is the cherry on top.” Lieberman has a large following in the industry as a reputable author for MotorTrend, one of America’s leading automobile magazines.
At the age of 61, Gilles Nadeau is ready to check the Pikes Peak Hill Climb off his bucket list. Nadeau started his racing career by attending Porsche driving schools and competing in track days and sprint races. He has competed in a 14-hour enduro race at Road Atlanta and in 2021 completed five races for FEL Motorsports. When asked about Pikes Peak heroes, Nadeau offered, “They’re all my heroes, you need guts to run Pikes Peak.”
Loni Unser, a fourth-generation racer from one of the most prominent names in auto racing, will compete for the first time in the Race to the Clouds. Daughter of Johnny Unser, granddaughter of Jerry Unser Jr., and great-granddaughter of Jerry Unser, Loni Is looking to add her name to Unser lore. In 2018, Loni finished 4th in the NASA Rocky Mountain Season. In 2021, Loni competed in the World Racing League in a Porsche Cayman securing several podium finishes and wins. She has been a strong contender in the Mazda MX-5 Cup becoming the first female to finish back-to back races at St. Petersburg in the top ten.
TIME ATTACK 1 DIVISION
Matus Huska is an experienced driver and proud representative of Slovakia. At the tender age of 4, Huska’s father introduced him and his brother to motorcycle racing in hopes of keeping them out of trouble. Since then Huska has developed a passion for racing. In 2021, Huska won the GTSU class for the NASA Rocky Mountain Region in his 2011 Audi TTs, the same vehicle he will be competing in on Pikes Peak. Listing Finland’s Ari Vatanen as his Pikes Peak hero, Huska shared about this year’s race, “My goal is to place mid-field or higher, but the field is very competitive with amazing machines and drivers, so we will see.”
A native of France, Nicolas Lapierre brings a rich competition history. Since 2013, Lapierre has appeared in the 24 Hours of Le Mans seven times, garnering three 1st place finishes in the LMP2 class. In 2018 he was the IMSA overall winner at Sebring. Lapierre will be behind the wheel of a 2017 Alpine A110 Coupe GT4 when he takes on the 14,115’ challenge of Pikes Peak. Fans will appreciate that Lapierre can speak fluent French, Italian and English.
Traveling all the way from Paris, France, Philippe Marion hopes to complete his journey at the summit of America’s Mountain. His hill climb racing career began in 1990 with the French Hill Climb Championship. He has completed 15 seasons in the event. In 2018, Marion was runner up in the Open GT class and in 2019 was runner up in the GT Sport class. At 63 years old, Marion will line up on the grid in a 2007 Porsche 911 GT2.
Henry Hill will premiere his Wolf racecar on Pikes Peak in June. If the car sounds familiar, it is the same type raced by two-time King of the Mountain, Robin Shute. Hill has competed in both NASA and SCCA Pro Competition Series. He enjoys all types of motorsports, from drifting to off road racing. He has also built a race simulator.
Takashi Oi began his racing career in 1985 in a one-make series, finishing third. Building from that experience, he founded a driving school in the late 1990s. Oi is also known for his work at Best Motoring and his creation of a video game. He competed consistently in the All Japan GT Championship, in the Super Taikyu series, and has extensive Porsche racing experience in the Porsche Carrera Cup. He also participated in endurance racing at Nürburgring. Most recently, he ran in the Sepang 1000km, finishing second and in FSW2, finishing 3rd.
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 automobile categories feature a wide variety of vehicles representing multiple forms of motorsport; everything from production-based Time Attack challengers to purpose-built Open Wheel racers and state-of-the-art Unlimited vehicles take on America’s Mountain pursuing victory. The 100th Running of this iconic motorsport event will take place on June 26, 2022.