Pikes Peak Performers


Pikes Peak Performers

April 26, 2019 | PPIHC | Competitor, Spectator

The world-famous Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, brought to you by Gran Turismo features great autos and motorcycles. It also features some of the world’s most colorful and talented drivers and riders. Here’s a look at four of them ready to roar on June 30 on America’s Mountain.

Aaron Kaufman

Kaufman is an American television personality and owner of Arclight Fabrication, a Dallas enterprise that supplies aftermarket components for Ford F-100 pickups. He is the former lead mechanic for the famous Gas Monkey Garage and currently stars in a television show called Shifting Gears with Aaron Kaufman on the Discovery Channel, now in its second season. The show premiered in 2018 and spotlights his unusual business adventure. The 37-year-old driver was born in Crowley, Texas, and discovered a childhood gift for taking things apart and rebuilding them. He customized his first car at 16, a Jeep Cherokee. His high aptitude for mechanics and passion for cars led him to the Hot Rod world. Kaufman isn’t your typical car mechanic. There’s his status as a reality television star. He helped launch an entire genre of car shows that started on the Discovery Channel with the 2012 premiere of the Dallas-based Fast N’ Loud, which has become one of the most popular shows on television, especially with men old enough to have a driver’s license. He’s entered in the Open Wheel Division on the Peak in June, driving a funky 2019 Sierra Alpha. He’s been on the Peak three times before in a 1963 Ford Falcon, with his best effort in 2014 when he took second in the Pikes Peak Challenge-Exhibition Class with a clocking of 12:53.892.

Daijiro Yoshihara

The Japanese rookie racer brings a reputation as one of the world’s best drifters to Pikes Peak, where he will be at the wheel of a 900hp 2013 Toyota 86 specially prepared for the 12.42-mile race by Evasive Motorsports. He’ll be in the Time Attack I Division with a talent-rich field that includes racers like Clint Vahsholtz, Tim Hardy and James Robinson. Yoshihara is a professional with more than a decade of championships in drifting and road racing. He was the 2011 champion in the Formula Drift Championship Series and the Tires.com Triple Crown. Yoshihara has also carved out a spot for himself as a stunt driver with Lexus, Top Gear, Subaru, BMW, Acura and Toyota. Aside from his high-speed life he has also taken on opportunities including a car dealership, a telephone company, and a trucking service. Yoshihara has starred as himself in the reality/documentary web series Slide or Dai, along with crew members Chris Eimer of Eimer Engineering, Mike Kojima of MotoIQ and Chris Marion of KW Suspension. While away from the track, he leads an effort to support and restore Japan after its March 2011 disaster. “I’m really looking forward to the challenge,” says the rookie, “I followed Pikes Peak as a kid in Tokyo, and while I always dreamed of being there it’s crazy to think it’s actually going to happen.”

Robin Shute

The British driver is back for the third time on Pikes Peak after a sixth-place finish last year in the rugged Unlimited Division. He’ll be driving a 2018 Wolf TSC Honda on June 30 in the field of Unlimited entrants from the UK, Canada, Belgium and the USA. He’s a professional test/development driver and has worked on projects with Jaguar Land Rover, Tesla Motors, Faraday Future and Adess. Hampered by the weather on the Peak last year, Shute, a Formula Pro Mazda champion, is anticipating better things this time around. “2018 was a roller coaster for our team. The car showed very good pace, but we were challenged by a condensed timeline for the program. Unfortunately, mechanical issues race week forced us to miss qualifying, pushing us to the back of the grid for race day, with a late storm stopping us challenging for the podium.

For 2019 we are very pleased to have increased support from Honda Racing HPD along with new technical partnerships from Mountune USA and BorgWarner Performance. This has helped us to create a complete race program with a focus on both reliability and performance. We believed that in 2018 we had a genuine sub 9-minute car, and for 2019 we are going one step further with a 50% power bump. We are a smaller volunteer team with the car built out of a home garage, so making it to the top of the hill in one piece will be the focus for us. Even so, I think we will be in a strong position to challenge for the top step of the podium, and conditions permitting, raising a few eyebrows with the run time.”

Rafael Paschoalin

Rafael Paschoalin is considered the only specialist in street racing in Brazil. In 2012 he made his debut on the world calendar, participating in races such as North West 200 and Macau GP. The following year, he became the first Brazilian in the famous TT Isle of Man. The accomplished South American rider is coming back for his fourth crack at America’s Mountain following two straight podium finishes in 2017 and 2018 in the Pikes Peak Middleweight Division. He was third last year behind superstar Chris Fillmore and veteran Davey Durelle, and will race a 2019 Yamaha MT-07 on June 30 in an attempt to win a title. Paschoalin is a three-time Brazilian Supermoto champion with one goal in mind every day. “Live the motorcycling in its fullness, cross boundaries of styles or terrain and devote 100% to learn and reap the best results in each experience. For this it is necessary to wake up, spend the day and sleep thinking about motorcycling, including of course, the task of father, husband and friend,” he says. Paschoalin, 35 years old, is an official Yamaha Road Racing rider and races Brazil and the world for the biggest challenges that exist on two wheels.



Mike Moran mike@thesportscorp.org

PPIHC Senior Media Consultant

1631 Mesa Avenue, Suite E

Colorado Springs, CO 80906

(719) 338-9161

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