Race day at Pikes Peak is progressing slowly – as it always does, I’m told – but the action and the crowd are both warming up nicely. The motorbikes and sidecars have now almost all run, and first in the Unlimited class for cars will be you-know-who in his Peugeot 208 T16. This would definitely be a good time to tune in to the live coverage on live.redbull.tv.
While killing time waiting for the main-event cars to start, I got the lowdown on what’s easily the most spectacular entry that will run in any class today: Mike Ryan’s Freightliner racing rig. Which he goes drifting in as well as hillclimbing, by the way.
He’s been racing it at Pikes Peak for over a decade – but it’s been through one or two tweaks of late. It runs a marine-based 14.7-litre six-cylinder diesel engine revving to 3700rpm. It has an 8.7-litre supercharger blowing in series to a separate turbocharger, and water-methanol injection overlaid above the diesel injection in several stages.
They can’t dyno it, because they haven’t found a dyno up to the challenge – but engine guru Gale Banks is fairly sure that it’s producing at least 2500bhp, and well in excess of 5000lb ft of torque. It weighs 4.5 tonnes. It’s got water-cooled brakes. And, in not very long, it’s likely to hoon just over twelves miles up the side of one of America’s famous ‘fourteeners’ in about eleven minutes flat. Frankly, I'm glad Mike's driving it and not me.
Mike’s big ambition, apparently, is to bring the Freightliner to the Festival of Speed; he’s just waiting for an invitation. I’m calling for him to get one, poste haste. Feel free to join me with a comment below. If we can convince Lord March it’s a good idea, Goodwood will be a heavier, but also a richer and more exciting place.