COLORADO SPRINGS, CO — When The Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, brought to you by Gran Turismo, welcomes a talented field of drivers to Colorado Springs on August 30th, one question will be on everyone’s mind, who will be crowned King of the Mountain. The coveted trophy for King of the Mountain is awarded to the competitor with the fastest time on Pikes Peak every year.
Known as America’s Mountain, Pikes Peak has played host to champions from around the world. In 2019, Robin Shute (Great Britain) claimed the coveted award. Romain Dumas (France) set a blazing fast course record in 2018 and is the fastest competitor ever to reach the summit. Dumas was no stranger to the top of the podium, receiving King of the Mountain honors on three previous attempts. Rhys Millen (New Zealand) accepted the honor in 2012 and 2015, while Sébastien Loeb (France), a rookie on Pikes Peak, set an overall course record on the newly paved course in 2013. One of the most notable King of Mountain streaks was from 2006 to 2011 when legendary racer, Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima (Japan) won every year, setting two course records in the process. In fact, an American hasn’t been crowned King of the Mountain since 2005 when David Donner took the crown in his Donner/Dykstra Special with a time of 11:15.680. Like many others David Donner has claimed the title multiple times – with his 2005 win and in 2002 with an even faster time of 10:52.30.
Donner hails from a racing family following in his father and older brothers’ tire tracks racing on Pikes Peak. A local to Colorado Springs, he did his town and family proud. His father Robert Donner Jr. raced in and won the Sports Car class in the 1950s and his older brother Bobby III won the Open Wheel class in 1989.
Racing Pikes Peak was an evolving goal for Donner. Having raced in events in Germany, England, and New Zealand, everybody talked about the Race to the Clouds. Pikes Peak was a family tradition that Donner couldn’t turn down. Of all his victories on the mountain, he felt his most notable accomplishment was winning on both the dirt and pavement surfaces. Donner competed in numerous cars and with his promising results was able to showcase his ability to build successful racecars.
There have been 97 previous runnings of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, yet only 41 people can claim they were King of the Mountain, or Queen, in the case of Michèle Mouton (France) in 1985. Of that group, 26 wins have been claimed by a member of the Unser family, including ten by Bobby Unser who holds the most King of the Mountain titles.
Recalling his history of records, wins and achievements, Donner isn’t certain he would return to racing on America’s Mountain, stating, “I’m content with the name I’ve made for myself on the mountain,” adding, “It would have to be the right opportunity. I don’t feel the need to race again just for the sake of racing. Running the Hill Climb is a huge commitment and takes months of preparation. I would love to see more young competitors get involved with Pikes Peak to keep the tradition alive.”
Event Coordinator & Historian
The Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb