Colorado Springs, Colorado—The 98th running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, brought to you by Gran Turismo yielded great success for acclaimed local driver, Clint Vahsholtz, competing for the 29th time. His first victory came in 1993 when he won the Open Pro motorcycle division aboard a 1992 Wood-Rotax 600. He would add two more wins in as many years in the same division, including 1995 on the weather-shortened course.
In 1996 Vahsholtz, following in his legendary father Leonard’s footsteps, strapped in to a stock car and launched a new legacy on Pikes Peak. Behind the wheel of a 1996 Ford Mustang, Vahsholtz not only claimed the division win, but was named Rookie of the Year. His #18 stock car, a reversal of his father’s famous #81, finished in 12:10.83.
Over the next 10 years, Vahsholtz stormed the mountain in the Super Stock Car division, winning every time. 2007 marked the sole DNF in his Pikes Peak career. In 2008, entering again in his tried-and-true Ford Mustang, Vahsholtz stood atop the podium in the Super Stock Car division where he would remain through 2012.
By 2013, with the newly paved course on Pikes Peak, Vahsholtz and the team began work on an open wheel racer better suited to asphalt than to the gravel surface that was the hallmark of Pikes Peak. Modifying the winningest stock car ever to compete, Vahsholtz Racing entered and won the Open Wheel division in 11:07.305.
Performance and aerodynamic adjustments made the Ford one-off racer even faster in 2014 and Vahsholtz earned not only the win, but a division record on the paved surface in a blazing time of 9:54.700, his first sub 10-minute finish.
In 2015, a rare third place finish didn’t deter Vahsholtz as he charged back up the mountain in 2016 claiming victory once again in the Open Wheel group. In 2017 the now famous #18 returned, not only winning the division, but notching another division record of 9:35.747.
Offered an opportunity to race with Flying Lizard Motorsports behind the wheel of a 2014 McLaren 12C, Vahsholtz was back in 2018 sporting not only a new racecar and team, but a new number – #45. A second place finish in the Time Attack 1 division behind David Donohue, son of famed racer Mark Donohue made for exciting racing action. Competing again in 2019, this time in a 2014 McLaren 650S, Vahsholtz was bumped to second place for the second time behind France’s Raphaël Astier in Time Attack 1.
Returning to his family’s roots with Vahsholtz Racing, Clint returned to challenge the 12.42 mile course in 2020 with his proven 2013 Ford Open. Backed by his Pikes Peak Hall of Fame parents, Leonard and Barb who were inducted in 2018, his brother Ben, his wife Shelly, his Pikes Peak motorcycle champion son, Codie, and the entire Vahsholtz family, along with his dedicated crew, Vahsholtz once again claimed an Open Wheel division win. After years of remarkable success as a division champion, Vahsholtz received King of the Mountain honors for the first time. Not only is this a first for Clint, but for the entire Vahsholtz family, further reinforcing their established legacy on Pikes Peak.
Vahsholtz resides in Woodland Park, Colorado, a mere 6 miles from the famous mountain. His dedication to his sport and his desire to win, like many of his contemporaries, draw him back to Pikes Peak year after year. With the 2021 Race to the Clouds comes the opportunity to return for his 30th race when all eyes will be focused on Clint Vahsholtz, King of the Mountain!
Photo Credits: PPIHC Archives and Larry Chen
Event Coordinator & Historical
Pikes Peak International Hill Climb