【Pikes Peak International Hill Climb ／ Colorado, U.S.A.】
ADVAN Users Dominate 101st Pikes Peak International Hillclimb, Shute Attains Back-to-back Overall Win With ADVAN’s Sustainable Tires
Pikes Peak International Hill Climb
|20-25 June 2023
Inaugurated in 1916, the traditional Pikes Peak International Hillclimb (PPIHC) had its 101st meeting this year. With more than a century-long running, the event has come a long way along with the history of the modern automobile. It is a hill climb race that uses the nearly 20km road to the summit of Pikes Peak, located at the eastern end of the Rocky Mountains, Colorado, United States. The altitude of the finish line is 4,302m from sea level.
The road surfaces changed from dirt at the beginning to fully paved, responding to the changing times. But one thing has remained the same since more than a hundred years ago: the course with 156 corners is still highly challenging for drivers. And it is why this “Race to the Clouds” fascinates the racers, who come to Pikes Peak from many countries worldwide to compete.
Yokohama Tires has taken part in PPIHC for years. It is still fresh in our minds that Robin Shute became the overall winner of the 100th milestone meeting in 2022, driving the car in ADVAN-livery in the Unlimited class, which added a great new page to the Japanese company’s competition history.
In 2023, Yokohama Tire took up new challenges in this event. For Shute, who aimed at the back-to-back wins with his ADVAN-liveried car, Wolf TSC-FS, Yokohama supplied their sustainable tires, which shared the same specifications as those used in the Japanese Super Formula series. By increasing the use rate of sustainable materials to 33%, they are better than conventional tires in environmental performance while maintaining the same speed on the track.
For Randy Pobst, a competitor in the Exhibition class driving a Tesla Model S Plaid, Yokohama provided a special version of ADVAN A005 tires. Unlike those in the market, their side walls were made of biomass-derived butadiene rubber, and the use rate of sustainable materials was raised by using the tire carcass that is also adopted for the current Super Formula tires. Thus, Yokohama Tire further accelerates the technical development to reduce their products’ environmental impact through this legendary event.
The meeting started with the attendance check and the scrutineering on June 19th, Monday, and the practice and qualifying sessions were held for three days from Tuesday. For these sessions, the course was divided into three parts, the Lower Section, the Middle Section, and the Upper Section, and each part was used by the sorted group of drivers by their classes each day.
While it was already late in June, there was still a large amount of remaining snow cover, as the peak is over 4,000 meters high. Shute was in great form from the opening day. He set the fastest time on Tuesday in the Upper Section and pulled away from the second fastest driver by a good distance again on Wednesday in the Lower Section. Due to thick fog, Thursday’s session had to be postponed to the next day, but Shute made a perfect start to the weekend, aiming at the second straight overall win.
On Friday evening, the popular Fan Fest was held in downtown Colorado Springs, which both local citizens and visiting fans enjoyed. Then came the race day, June 25th, Sunday.
In front of a big cheering crowd, Shute started his final run and was already faster than the driver in the second by about 9 seconds, only in the first section. Getting the most out of the ADVAN sustainable tires’ potential, he extended the lead further in the second section with incredible speed and crossed the finish line at the summit with a time of 8’40″080. This meant he streaked through the course, which ordinary tourists take almost an hour to drive, at an average speed of 133.7km/h. And it was his fourth and second consecutive victory with his ADVAN-liveried car.
In the exhibition class, Tanner Foust, driving his brand-new car, Radford Type 62-2, also performed well using Yokohama Tires’ products. The car was based on a Lotus Exige and equipped with a 3,500cc supercharged Toyota engine, which produces around 700bhp. Foust was the fastest from the second section to finish and beat everyone else in the class by setting 9’37″326.
Pobst finished second in the Exhibition class. Though he was faster than Foust in the first section, he ended his run with a time of 9’54″901. Still, his performance proved the potential of ADVAN A005 with biomass rubber, as he completed Yokohama Tire’s one-two finish in the class.
Codie Vahsholtz competed in the Open Wheel class and won it back-to-back by setting 9’19″192, which put him in fifth overall. The Vahsholtzs have taken part in PPIHC for three generations since Codie’s grandfather did, and Codie drove the same car, Ford Open Vahsholtz Custom, of which his father was at the wheel in this event in 2020.
The ex-North American Touring Car Champion, David Donohue, won the Time Attack 1 class using ADVAN-branded tires. As a Porsche North America test driver, he knew the car he drove here, Porsche 911 GT2 RS Clubsport, inside and out, which led to this excellent result. Donohue’s class winning time, 9’18″053, was some 28 seconds faster than the driver finished in second, and he was ranked fourth overall.
A young driver shone in the Porsche Pikes Peak Trophy by Yokohama class, in which Yokohama Tire was designated as the single tire supplier. Hayden Bradley, 18 years old, set 10’48″387 to win the class. He expressed joy in his SNS account “Thank you, Yokohama Tire, for believing in me and taking a chance on a rookie to get the job done. Piloting the timeless black and red ADVAN livery was truly an honor.”
Hence, Yokohama Tire conquered five classes out of six, including its one-make Porsche Pikes Peak Trophy by Yokohama class, led by the back-to-back overall winner, Shute. For sure, the results in the 101st PPIHC demonstrated the stunning performance of the Japanese company’s products.