At 14,115 feet in elevation, the Pikes Peak summit is only the 39th highest in the United States. That being said, it boasts one unique feature that sets it apart from the rest while earning it a special place in our hearts: you can drive a freaking race car to it.
This past weekend marked the 97th running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, and The Drive was there to witness the intense, dramatic, and downright life-threatening challenge that is racing a car or motorcycle through 12.42 miles of double-apex, off-camber, and decreasing radius turns on the side of a darn mountain. And let's not forget the dozen or so hair-raising hairpins. In total, racers have to negotiate 156 turns to get to the summit.
The sights and sounds we experienced were nothing short of incredible, with a roster of racing machinery more diverse than the dish selection at your local, all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet. Exactly how diverse? There was a vintage VW Beetle with a TDI engine and full aero kit racing on the same course as a Porsche Cayman GT4 and a fully electric motorcycle. Oh, and let's not forget the 400-horsepower Acura MDX Sport Hybrid and 900-horsepower 1949 Ford pickup truck with a rear spoiler the size of Shaquille O'Neal.
As you can see on our Instagram account, the speed (and the danger that comes along with it) is very real at Pikes Peak. We were witnesses to a scary crash involving an electric motorcycle directly in front of our viewing area, which saw a racing bike and its rider slide on the road at around 85 miles per hour after losing control on corner entry, before flying off into the woods. The motorcycle smashed into a tree, but luckily the rider didn't. Sadly, Ducati rider and former "King of the Mountain" Carlin Dunne didn't enjoy the same luck, with him crashing just 20 yards away from the finish line and losing his life as a result of it.
Pikes Peak is a must if you're a motorsport, car, or motorcycle enthusiast. If you couldn't make it out this year, then hopefully these photos and videos will give you a slight idea of just how insane it is.