Pikes Peak 2016 Time Attack 2 Class EVO 8 driven by Australian rally driver Jeff Denmeade of Meadsports with prep and crew support by Road Race Engineering. Tuning by David Hinde of Merlin Tuning.
Jeff’s recap of race day:
After seeing that we had a small chance to take the number 2 Viper, we knew 4th place was ours to loose, a finish was more important than a fantasy. The mountain was yet to play all it’s cards, it had 10 hours left to teach some lessons.
With an amazing amount of red flags that left us bewildered, with a huge amount of cars being turned around and sent back down the hill for restarts the day dragged on.
Finally the gates opened for us and we were let into the start zone area, safety checked, and given the clear order, we were now under starter orders. Revs raised, launch control enabled. Great start! The best all weekend. A good start, even on a rally usually, seemingly, sets the atmosphere for the mood for the run.
Concentrating on accuracy first for the lower section, quickly in 4th gear hitting all the high speed apexes, all in 4th gear. This sets the mind up for the run, accuracy first, speed second.
In all the run was effortless, even faultless, but at some point it felt like the car simply ran out of air, not pulling as strong as it did in practice, no real time to fight it, just had to keep getting it to the apexes. Suddenly cars were stopped all over the course, hoods up and steam coming out, in large places there was little grip on the pavement due to heat, brake zones were harder to read with over run forcing diving into the apexes.
Data later showed that the car ran out of air, due to a zone on the mountain where there was simply no humidity to cool the air going into the airbox, or radiator. The car became a barometer meter itself. The car spiked from 97 degrees Celsius, to a whopping 113 in this odd ‘dead-zone’. But the old dog hung in there.
Running the same specification we ran in 2010 when we won the Time attack class, even the same turbo, the old EVO proved it can run reliably, with simple ecu updates and reflashes running constant all week.
Typical of Pikes, we were entertained with a ice storm, then a hail storm at the top, leaving all of us to tip toe down a few miles on the ice with race rubber, when we were rounded up let loose to come down under a safety car. How we all made it down without someone sliding off is beyond me.
Only one car didn’t make up due to the storm, when the Ecoboost Mustang simply couldn’t go up the hills on the ice, at some point sliding backwards down the road, deciding to park it for safety sake.
End result, 4th, which was expected, and achieved, and not wasted. We drive the car up into the trailer on it’s own power, lock it down, and have a post race drink in the spa.
In reflection, it was an amazing year, and the team was simply the best to have around me. Mike and Matt and Bryce from Road Race Engineering in California, and our tuner David Hinde (aka Merlin) from Sydney kept the car at it’s peak, and were always ahead of the curve on anything that may have happened. We’ll be back.
Cheers to all.
Final results for Time Attack 2 Production were:
1st Place Nick Robinson 2017 Acura NSX Hybrid – 10:28
2nd Place Kevin Wesley 2016 Viper ACR – 10:39
3rd Place Stephanie Reaves 2016 Viper ACR – 10:56
4th Place JEff Denmeade 2003 EVO 8 – 11:32
5th Place Fumio Nutahara 2015 GT86 12:36
DNF Kash Singh 2016 Ford Mustang