The all-new Range Rover Sport has been confirmed as the official Pace Car for this Sunday’s 91st running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. Known as the Race To The Clouds, the annual event on America’s Mountain in Colorado, USA, is famous for its spectacular location and unforgiving nature, with much of the 12.4-mile course lined by sheer drops down the mountainside.
As the course-opening car, the Range Rover Sport will revisit the scene of its own record-setting run earlier this month, when it powered to a new best time up the hill for a production-standard Sport Utility Vehicle and broke the long standing record for any type of production-standard vehicle.
The Range Rover Sport negotiated the 12.42-mile course, which has 156 corners and ascends from 9,390 feet (2,860m) above sea level to 14,110 feet (4,300m), in just 12 minutes 35.61 seconds – an average speed, from a standing start, of 59.17 mph (95.23 kph). The record was set in a Range Rover Sport powered by a 510PS 5.0-litre supercharged petrol V8 engine, the vehicle altered from production specification only in the fitment of a roll cage and harness seatbelts to meet racing safety requirements.
On the record run, the Range Rover Sport was driven by Pikes Peak specialist Paul Dallenbach. This Sunday, the Pace Car will be driven by veteran motorsports competitor and official Gay Smith, of Colorado Springs. Smith was the 1974 Rookie of the Year on Pikes Peak and has served on the event’s Board of Directors for 20 years.