Just another drive up Pikes Peak — at 80 mph

Thinking of driving up Pikes Peak (14,115 ft.) this summer? Wondering what it will look like? This is a sneak peek, as seen by Romain Dumas in his winning run last Sunday at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. (No slouch, this man. He had won the 24 Hours at Le Mans just the week before.)

The course was 12.42 miles long and Dumas drove it in 8 minutes, 51.445 seconds. That’s an average speed of 81.288 mph, definitely not recommended for the average sightseer. If you’re not into auto racing and just want to see the scenery, skip to about 4:30, when Dumas gets above treeline. From there you can enjoy occasional glimpses of the land below. Far, far below.

Fans show up before sunrise to reach their vantage points. (Photo by Benjamin Rasmussen)
Fans show up before sunrise to reach their vantage points. (Photo by Benjamin Rasmussen)
Dumas at the finish line in his Honda-powered Norma M20 RD Limited. (Randels Media Group/Revvolution.com, Official Photographers of the PPIHC)
Dumas at the finish line in his Honda-powered Norma M20 RD Limited. (Randels Media Group/Revvolution.com, Official Photographers of the PPIHC)

Obviously drivers cannot go back down the mountain until all have finished the race. Then they all go together. This year, as seen on driver Jonathan Frost’s camera, they faced hail and rain. But that’s the way it goes with Colorado weather. You pays your money, you takes your chances.

24 thoughts on “Just another drive up Pikes Peak — at 80 mph

    1. Yep, nice flat terrain, no trees to run into, no sharp drops off non-existent shoulders. I see this was posted in 2011. You still having fun with that car?

      1. Still have it but haven’t driven it on the track since last year. I let it sit too long with gasoline containing ethanol (regular pump gasoline) in the system and now the idle jets are stopped up. I’ve been meaning for months to rebuild the carburetor and clean out the fuel delivery system, but just haven’t taken the time to do it. No, wait.. it’s been since 2014. Entirely too long. I’m a much more tolerant highway driver after a weekend on the track. Gasoline without ethanol is only available for engines that can’t be allowed to get gummed up… Marine and Aircraft fuel are examples. Racing gasoline doesn’t have ethanol in it either, but I have to go a ways further to get it at $10 a gallon. Local airport won’t sell it to me unless I drive up to the pump in an airplane. Years ago, I could have simply signed an affidavit stating it wouldn’t be used on a public road, but not any more.

        1. What a shame you can’t get the proper gasoline more easily. I know how you love that car. And a weekend on the track sounds like great fun. Where else would you have a chance to drive like that. Pikes Peak? 😉

        2. @ ImALibertarian,

          I was surprised to see you write:

          Gasoline without ethanol is only available for engines that can’t be allowed to get gummed up.

          I’m pretty sure that is not the case here in Missouri – I don’t want the stuff anywhere near my car and I always check the pump label for it. Is this a law in your state? If it were in mine, I might become a Libertarian too!


          1. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Missouri is a state that has no law compelling a station to label the ethanol content of gasoline. Until you asked, I didn’t know the answer, but I found it HERE. Notice also that the page lists a test kit to determine if the gasoline actually has ethanol in it.

          2. Pied, most people have no idea how happy the small engine repair shops are now that ethanol gums up the carburetors in lawn mowers, snow blowers and such equipment that sits unused for months.

            In the course of my searching for an answer to Jim, I also found another guy whose qualified to explain why ethanol is a fuel for politicians and not reciprocating (or turbine) engines.

          3. On the previous linked site, there’s a page listing places you can buy pure (Marine usually it seems) gasoline… for MO it’s HERE

            It only lists one place in the nearest large Texas city (Houston) although I know of a couple more, but none are easy to get to.

          4. The minute I read that most ethanol comes from corn, I remembered reading what a big deal it is for corn farmers. And that right there makes it a very political issue.

            No small engines left in my life, but I do want to take care of the car. I’ll be taking a closer look at the information on the gas pump next time I fill up. But I’m not likely to drive an extra 10 miles just for ethanol-free gasoline.

          5. I was surprised at your ethanol news, ImA, mainly because I have seen gas-pump stickers here in Missouri stating that it does not contain alcohol, albeit not on the pumps at the station I normally use. I’m frustrated, but like PT, I’m not going to drive a long distance to try to get the pure stuff. Also, it’s not worth testing samples with a $15 tester from a pump that could change overnight.

            Our car, an 11-year-old Lexus, has an automatic mileage calculator which I monitor, and it routinely gets 17 to 18 mpg in town. The sticker rating is 18 in town and 24 highway, and the results have been consistent over 11 years, and also no apparent damage in that time. Knock on wood. As for the listing, I note that updates are spotty and considering the political situation, it can change at any time.

            I recall writing a letter to the editor of our paper about a decade ago on how stupid and inefficient the ethanol scheme was. No apparent effect. It even takes more energy to grow and harvest the corn than the equivalent in gasoline that’s supposedly saved!

            I do appreciate the info, ImA. Thanks.

          6. Everything you say is true. As my now deceased, Iowa farming Father-In-Law used to say, “Back when we farmed the land, we all had pickups and flat beds, but now that we farm the government we all have 18 wheelers.”

            At least if you absolutely have to depend on an aircraft or marine engine to get you home safely, the benevolence of the government allows you to have (cheaper to make, but more expensive to buy because of it’s rarity) plain old gasoline. I guess we should be grateful.

  1. Having been on that road, I cannot imagine racing up it. (I was there…well, actually just down the road that day) I saw one car was driven by a race car driver who was injured in a crash and is now handicapped. He drove a special car – (I’l have to find that new report and video). technology is amazing.
    But, no food/corn for fuel as long as there are hungry people in the world. Too costly to raise/produce just to allow people to drive to the mall (and pat themselves on the back for being concerned about the environment.) Stay home. You don’t need so much crap that will only end up in the garbage (and was harmfully produced).
    Take car of your old car ( we do, too) Those are often more fuel efficient if tuned properly than the new ones (surprising) and using older cars saves the environment by not becoming bluky hazardous scrap – and building a new car is harmful to the earth in so many ways….of course car manufacturers do not want you to know how toxic the process is.

    1. I’m surprised more drivers aren’t killed in that race, especially after seeing the Foley crash in 2012.

      I’m all for biofuels, but not if made from edible grains. Better to use other vegetation (but probably not nearly as profitable for those in the business). Drove my last car for 16 years (and still miss it), so expect the current one (4.5 yrs old) to be around for quite a while.

      1. I’m with you on biofuels production and using stuff as long as it’s servicable. Apparently far too many are ignorant of the manufactoring processes to realize too much “new” pollutes….and then again society and businesses want consumers to keep buying.
        (I would like to have a mini and do some of those European road rallies..the viewers have about as much sense as the drivers on those it appears….)

... and that's my two cents