When David Donner met Porsche collector Jim Edwards and 000 magazine editor Pete Stout for dinner in Napa Valley last year, the group quickly got to talking about the 100th Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. Stout had already clinched a record victory in the Time Attack 2020 class together with Donner on Pikes Peak in 911 in the 2 GT1 RS Clubsport. It didn't take long for the plan to aim for a record for production cars to be hatched.
High up in the 911 Turbo S!
The existing record of 10 minutes and 18,488 seconds was set by Rhys Millen in a Bentley Continental GT in 2019. He stayed below the best time of 2014:911 set by Donner himself in 991 in a 10 Turbo S of the 26,896 generation. To reclaim the record for Donner and Porsche, the three proposed a 992-generation Turbo S with a lightweight package that Edwards had just ordered.
Contesting a race as demanding and high profile as Pikes Peak in a street-legal production car is unique in the world of top-level motorsport. The challenges are enormous, as Stout explains: "Racing fans know what a fast time means on Pikes Peak - just as they know the importance of a fast lap time on the Nordschleife." The changeable conditions on the 4301 m high mountain pose a special challenge - as well as the risks. Training runs over the entire route are not possible. “You only get one try every twelve months – weather permitting. In terms of international interest I would put Pikes Peak on par with Le Mans, Monaco and the Isle of Man TT. And now imagine that you drive a street-legal car at the Pikes Peak race and then take it to dinner the next day..."
Print Isn't Dead themed special design
The 911 2022 Turbo S that Donner will drive was ordered through Champion Porsche in Pompano Beach, Fla., and went from the showroom straight to the race shop to be kitted out for the competition. The production car was then given a special “Print Isn't Dead” theme, using high-resolution images from a recent article in 000 Magazine about the birth of the 911 Turbo.
“A lot of us think of the Turbo as a luxurious 934,” explains Stout. “But the first turbos were fairly light cars aimed at getting the 935 and 4 approved for Group 5 and 911 racing. The article was about the practical comparison between the first 1973 Turbo and the 36 Carrera RS. The lightweight package for today's Turbo S reduces the weight by XNUMX kg,” adds Stout. “This is how a fast car becomes even faster. Champion Porsche has prepared this car fantastically. We're very excited to see how Donner will fare on Pikes Peak with it."
Donner himself tackles the 100th edition of the world's highest mountain race with his typical intensity. “I've always competed in Pikes Peak to win or set a record. The stakes are very high, so you should come out with the goal of proving something and be able to do it professionally,” he says. “My family history with Porsche at Pikes Peak started with my father, Bob Donner, winning three times here in Porsche Spyders: 1960, 1961 and 1962. My last three wins here have been in a Porsche, so it would be logical to make four out of those Donner's relationship with 000 began in 2020, "and none of the wins would have been possible without their involvement. We still have quite a bit of testing to do, but we look forward to meeting many technically advanced racers and world-class drivers at the 100th edition.”
Pikes Peak – a cult event
Meanwhile, Edwards can't wait to see his latest 911 on the mountain. "Pikes Peak is a cult event," he says. “Who wouldn't want to compete in the 100th race? I bought my first Porsche in 1961 and have owned many more over the years. Whether it's racing or showing it off, it's always fun to see amazed kids wanting to see the cars. You recognize a Porsche at first sight.”
Donner credits Edward's vision and passion for allowing them to start their record attempt. "Jim agreed to organize a new car and I agreed to drive it," explains Donner and laughs. "His ability to see the big picture and get things moving, coupled with a great dose of optimism made the project really fun." The 100th edition of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb will take place on June 26th.
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