Pikes Peak 2018
The EPS team were back with ‘Ray the Pikes Peak’ Audi Quattro S1E2 to take on the toughest Hill Climb in the world on the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. To set the scene, there are 156 turns and you start at 9000ft and climb to 14100ft where the air is so thin, it pushes the car and driver to the limit. After the event in 2017 we made a few changes to the Audi for the 2018 event. New Diffs all round, ECU software from MoTeC, Turbosmarts latest V5 Waste Gate, some more KA Sensors added and ASNU’s latest injectors. Making the cars quicker in each section by 5-10sec.
The lead up to Race Day has a tradition of being called ‘HELL WEEK’ as there are 4 days to the testing schedule with 3am starts. Ray was flying on all the sections and we achieved some good miles testing each day. Following each run I made small changes to the cars KW dampers, particularly on the approach to the summit as it’s a bumpy ride on the top section of the hill. We qualified with a 4:23.26 (8 Sec faster than the previous year) so this placed us 19th outright. After a hard week on the Mountain, Friday night brings FAN Feast! This is an event held in the town centre of Colorado Springs and we had the Audi on display and with this event attracting over 120,000 people, it makes for an interesting night chatting with all the fans and motorsport enthusiasts.
Race day came quickly and there was a real buzz on the mountain as the guys from VW brought their mega electric car and there was speculation if they were going to break the record, but which record?! Well they did an outstanding 7:57 which broke both the electric and outright record. In weather conditions that were not ideal, very overcast and looking like rain at the start line and watching the ever-changing skies around the mountain peak - rain one minute and the next, glaring bright sunshine. We qualified well so this allowed me to have a good clean DRY run. It’s really hard to stay focused on this hill and not lose it as you know, only have ONE run to get it right! I need to push to get a good result whilst also making sure I don’t crash!
Pulling up to the start line in the Audi S1E2 is an amazing feeling and looking up that massive hill and the challenge ahead. Will from VRS gave me strict instructions NOT to do a massive launch LOL so I set off and the course was slick and the car was moving around a lot more then in practice. In the lower section I was 4 sec quicker than in qualifying and I felt brilliant. Then, just as I was approaching the mid- section the MoTeC Dash displayed a LOW BATT Warning light!! The stupid fan belt had come off…. The High Engine Temp Light was to follow… You only get one run on race day so I decided to continue on and let the ECU map back itself off and push forward to make it to the top. Thankfully I use Evens Waterless Coolant in the car so the boiling point is a lot higher so this I knew would protect the engine. Saying that, with the engine hitting 180degs (350F) I reluctantly backed off a little prior to my arrival at the top!! My finishing time was 10.43.960 making ‘Ray the Rock Star’ the fastest Audi Quattro at Pikes Peak (Sorry Walter Rohrl - beat your arse).
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