Colorado Springs—–Driver Simone Faggioli of Italy and superstar motorcycle rider Chris Fillmore head up an accomplished roster of competitors for the 97th running of the Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, brought to you by Gran Turismo, on June 30.
Faggioli soared to a blistering 8:37.230 clocking as a rookie in the Unlimited Class last year, behind only the extraordinary all-time record 7:57.148 established by Romain Dumas of France in his Volkswagen I.D. R on America’s Mountain. The Italian driver returns in a loaded Unlimited lineup that also features Switzerland’s Fabien Bouduban, who was third last year.
Motorcycle star Chris Fillmore (Oxford, MI), the fastest rider in race history, will try to become the first triple record holder in Pikes Peak history when he competes in the Lightweight Division. He owns motorcycle records in two divisions, (9:49.625) Heavyweight Division, 2017 and (10:04.038) Middleweight Division, 2018.
The world’s most famous hill climb is still basking in the glow of the fabulous performance last summer by Dumas in his VW Electric auto. It was ranked third in the world among Autoweek’s Top Ten motorsports stories of 2018. More than 7,000 spectators from 23 countries and more than 40 states were on hand to see Dumas stage one of the most dramatic moments in the history of the race.
“We never know what amazing moments will become part of the race’s history,” said PPIHC Executive Director Megan Leatham, “and we have a wonderful lineup of competitors from around the world coming to Pikes Peak this summer to take on the mountain, so buckle up.”
View the 2019 Competitor List here.
“A good fictional character once said, “I just wanna go fast.” That’s a noble pursuit, yet when you delve into the world of racing, you come up against so many rules and regulations in most series prohibiting you from so much that you just want to tear your hair out. Not so much at Pikes Peak,” said Stef Schrader of Jalopnik.com last year. “It’s the ultimate display of human ingenuity and a captivating madness all in one. It draws you in. The enthusiasm is infectious. They aren’t just here to run the cars—they’re here to suck you into this madness with them.”
Here’s a look at some of the top competitors for the 2019 Race to the Clouds:
Simone Faggioli, Italy – Unlimited: Second in the prestigious Unlimited Division last year with a fabulous 8:37.230 clocking behind only the record 7:57.148 recorded by Romain Dumas. He’s a ten-time European mountain champion and will be behind the wheel of a 2018 Norma M20 SF PKB, the same auto that he piloted last summer on America’s Mountain to the fantastic sub-nine minute finish, third fastest in PPIHC history, and Rookie of the Year honors.
Fabien Bouduban, Switzerland – Unlimited: A member of the Faggioli Racing Team who took third last year in the Unlimited Division with a clocking of 9:28.254 in a 2018 Norma M20 SF PKB identical to Simone Faggioli’s auto. He will drive the same car this summer in his second trip to Pikes Peak.
David Donohue, West Chester, PA – Pikes Peak Open: The champion in Time Attack 1 last year with a time of 9:37.152 driving a 2017 Porsche GT3 R, he’ll race a 2016 Porsche 911 this summer as he moves over to Pikes Peak Open. Donohue took second on Pikes Peak in 2017 in Time Attack 1. Son of racing legend Mark Donohue, David won the 1998 24 Hours of Le Mans GT2 Class and was second in 2000. He won the 2009 Daytona 24 Hours race on the 40th anniversary of his father’s win.
Peter Cunningham, Milwaukee, WI – Pikes Peak Open: Defending his 2018 crown on Pikes Peak in a 2019 Acura TLX GT, Cunningham clocked a 9:27.352, the third fastest time in the race and a Class record last year driving a 2018 Acura. As a PPIHC rookie in 2017, he won the Open Class with a time of 9:33.797. As a high school graduate in June 1980, Cunningham happened upon an autocross, a driving contest held in a parking lot around a pylon-defined course against the clock. After winning his class on that first day, he became enamored with and engulfed in the sport. Cunningham has 19 starts and five podium finishes in the American Le Mans Series.
Ray Evernham, Mooresville, NC – Exhibition: Back again in his 1936 Chevrolet Sedan, “The Ghost,” after taking the crown in the Pikes Peak Challenge Exhibition Class last summer (10:11.334). The Ghost is a custom-built race car designed to look like a modified that would have raced in the 1960s but features state-of-the-art mechanics and electronics. Evernham is a three-time Winston Cup Series Champion with driver Jeff Gordon. In 1999, Evernham won the NASCAR Winston Cup Illustrated “Person of the Year,” and was inducted to the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Class of 2018.
Raphaël Astier, France – Time Attack 1: Second in Pikes Peak Open last summer, driving a 2007 Porsche 911 GT3 RS to a clocking of 9:53.718, Astier moves to TA1. This year he will drive a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Turbo on the Peak in search of a championship. Last year, the French pair of Astier and Frédéric Vauclaire, in the Abarth 124 rally belonging to Team Milano Racing, won the FIA R-GT world championship. Astier was second in 2016 in the Time Attack 1 field as the PPIHC Rookie of the Year.
Greg Tracy, Long Beach, CA – Unlimited: Tracy is the only person in Pikes Peak Hill Climb history to complete the race in under ten minutes racing both a car (Mitsubishi Electric, 9:08.188- 2014) and a motorcycle (Ducati, 9:58.262- 2012). He has seven motorcycle championships on Pikes Peak, beginning in 1996 with a victory in the 250cc Class. Tracy is one of the top stunt drivers in Hollywood, having spent the last two decades working in several hundred commercials, TV shows, and many of the top stunt driving films including Marvel’s Black Panther, Jack Reacher, The Avengers, The Fast and the Furious, Talladega Nights and The Bourne Ultimatum, a project that earned him a World Stunt Award. He’ll drive a 2019 Palatov D2EV in his move to Unlimited this year.
Jeff Zwart, Corona del Mar, CA – Pikes Peak Open: Zwart, who was inducted into the Pikes Peak Hill Climb Museum Hall of Fame in 2018, will make his 16th appearance on Pikes Peak since his debut in 1989 and his first since 2015. He has won eight crowns in that span, most recently his 2015 win in the Time Attack 1 Division. Porsche enthusiast Zwart has worn many hats on Pikes Peak, first as a photographer for Road and Track magazine, then as a competitor, champion and most recently as a Porsche driving coach. Zwart’s Hill Climb experience covers competition in at least six classes, with all eight Class Championships captured behind the wheel of a Porsche. This year, he’s entered a 2010 Porsche. He dominated the High-Performance Showroom Stock Classes in the mid and late 1990s with four wins, including three division records. A visionary filmmaker, Jeff has directed multiple films and commercials on Pikes Peak, including Ken Block’s film “ClimbKhana” which was released in 2017 and has nearly 18 million views to date.
Rookies To Watch
Liam Doran, Great Britain – Unlimited: Doran is a professional rallycross driver competing in the FIA World Rallycross Championship, Global Rallycross Championship, X Games, and European Rallycross Championship. He is the son of British rallycross driver and Lydden Hill Race Circuit owner Pat Doran. He won a gold medal in the 2011 X Games in Los Angeles in Rally Car Racing. Alongside his driving duties, Liam also heads up the UK-based LD Motorsports squad and oversees the race preparation of no less than eight cars. Doran will drive a 1987 Ford RS200 Evolution on Pikes Peak in his debut.
William Au-Yeung, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada – Unlimited: 2017 & 2018 Global Time Attack Pro Unlimited Champion. Took second place in Pro Am at WTAC 2017. Recorded the fastest North American time in 2018 at the Sydney Motorsports Park, where he took second in the ProAm Class. Fastest Time Attack Driver in Canada. Au-Yeung will drive a 2012 Honda Civic SI, one of the fastest time attack cars in the world.
Darren Law, Chandler, AZ – Time Attack 1: A Canadian-born American racing driver, he has been involved in the automotive and racing industry for more than two decades. Law established himself with his success as both a racing driver and a business man. Starting in Go-karts at age 11 he went on to win two karting championships as a teenager then further developed his professional driving career progressing into sports cars. Having spent more than a decade driving for several top tier teams, the majority of his time was spent behind the wheel of a Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche, one of the most highly recognized Porsche factory-supported GT racing programs. He also spent several years racing prototypes primarily with Brumos Porsche and Action Express. He achieved many successes including two driver’s championships, three trips to LeMans and the overall win at the 24 Hours of Daytona in 2009 driving the Brumos Porsche Daytona Prototype. He will be behind the wheel of a 2013 McLaren 12C in his Pikes Peak debut.
Chris Fillmore, Oxford, MI – Pikes Peak Lightweight: The fastest rider in Pikes Peak history, Fillmore is aiming to become the first triple record holder in America’s Mountain. He currently holds Heavyweight and Middleweight titles on Pikes Peak and is hoping to add the Lightweight Division trophy this year. He’ll enter a KTM 450SX-F Factory Edition motorcycle this summer in his attempt at another record. He got started racing motocross before turning pro, spending seven years in the AMA Pro Supermoto series and five in AMA Superbike, campaigning KTMs all the way.
“I enjoy the challenge of Pikes Peak,” says Fillmore. “Figuring out how to go fast and learn something new. Watching the sun rise every morning for a week on top of a 14,000-foot mountain is pretty amazing too.”
Carlin Dunne, Santa Barbara, CA – Exhibition Powersport: Back to the Peak aboard a 2019 Ducati comes Dunne, one of the most accomplished riders in the history of the race with four victories. Dunne won the PP Heavyweight crown last year with a time of 9:59.000 on his Ducati MTS-1260 Pikes Peak. He holds the Pikes Peak record for Electric Motorcycle (10:00.694, 2013) and held others until Chris Fillmore exploded on the scene in 2017. He was the 1205cc winner in 2011 and 2012 and became the first rider to crack the ten-minute barrier in 2012 (9:52.819) on a Ducati Multistrada 1200. Born into motorcycling, Dunne’s father, a South African road racer and former Isle of Man competitor, made sure there was a small bike waiting for Carlin when he was born. Living above his family’s 1,000 sq. ft. motorcycle repair shop until the age of seven, it’s no surprise that his toys growing up consisted of old engine parts.
Codie Vahsholtz, Woodland Park, CO – Pikes Peak Heavyweight: He’s a third-generation member of the famed Vahsholtz family, which owns more Pikes Peak titles than any family in history. He was third last year in the Heavyweight Division (10:12.703) and holds the record in the former Pikes Peak 250cc class, set in 2013. He also established series victories with the record time in 2017 for the Middleweight Division, the record time in 2015 for the Lightweight Division and in 2013 for the 250 Pro Class. With the 19 victories of his grandfather, Leonard Vahsholtz and the 23 wins of his father, Clint Vahsholtz, he carries on the family legacy on America’s Mountain again this summer. He will ride a 2019 Ducati Multistrada MTS-1260.
Joseph Toner, Scotland – Pikes Peak Lightweight: Toner was the winner last summer in the PPC Exhibition Powersport competition, riding a 2007 Aprilia SXV Custom motorcycle. He will ride the same machine this year as he moves into the Lightweight Division, his 8th appearance on Pikes Peak. A Scotsman, he has fashioned a noted career, winning one Scottish Production Championship title as well as the British Endurance Championship.
Greg Chicoine, Jefferson, SD – Pikes Peak Lightweight: This veteran competitor will be back on Pikes Peak for his 20th appearance, again riding his Kawasaki. He won the 1998 250cc Amateur title, then rattled off championships in 1999-2000-2001 in the 750cc Division. He tacked on a title in the 2007 450cc field. He owns Champion Cycle in South Sioux City, Nebraska.
Rennie Scaysbrook, Sydney, Australia – Pikes Peak Heavyweight: He’s been the runner-up in the division for the last three years, so maybe the fourth time will produce a crown for the Australian rider. He was the Rookie of the Year in 2016 when he logged a nifty 10:28.407 on his 2015 KTM Super Duke 1290 R. Scaysbrook became only the fifth rider in the history of the Hill Climb to break the 9-minute barrier in 2017 when he chalked up a 9:57.712. He will ride a 2018 Aprilia Tuono.
Rennie says: “Relaxation is probably the best way to describe it. Some people like to do yoga, other people like to run marathons. I like to ride motorbikes. It blocks out all the negative stuff in my life and just lets me do what I’m good at, which is get out there and ride. I like putting the helmet on and just being on my own. I’m probably a bit of a loner in that regard. But it’s not wasted energy. You could sit there and play PlayStation all day and it’s not going to mean anything in real life. On the track, I’m improving the skills that make me better at my job, which is a bit of a double win.”
Rafael Paschoalin, São Paulo, Brazil – Pikes Peak Middleweight: Finished third last year in the division with a time of 10:38.380. Also took third in 2017 and sixth in 2016, so he’s aiming at a breakthrough on the Peak this year, riding a 2019 Yamaha MT-07. He’s also a veteran of the famed Isle of Man TT races over his career, averaging 119.499 mph in the TT2015 PokerStars Senior TT competition in the 2015 race.
A Rookie To Watch
Cory West, Eureka Springs, AR – Pikes Peak Heavyweight: A fourth-generation motorcycle racer who began in 2000. He began riding at age 4 and then started competing in his early teenage years. What started as some local flat track racing in nearby Oklahoma and Texas, quickly led to regional and national championships in flat track and road racing. Then came 15 years of professional road racing at national and international levels that took him to tracks in Spain, England, and China. West has ridden for two national championship-winning endurance teams, recording many victories. He collected Superbike Rookie of the Year honors in 2004 and earned five AMA Pro podiums with a best championship result of 5th. Besides racing, he has ridden as a test rider for multiple tire manufacturers, motorcycle manufacturers, magazines, and currently works as an instructor at Colin Edwards’ Texas Tornado Boot Camp. He’ll ride a 2020 Zero SR/F in his debut at Pikes Peak.
Learn More: For information about the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, or to purchase tickets, visit www.ppihc.org
PPIHC Senior Media Consultant