Poor weather played havoc with Robin Shute’s target to set a new rear-wheel-drive record at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb this year, but the only British driver to have claimed an overall win at the American classic still added a second victory to his tally – and with plenty of time to spare.
“There was snow and ice at the summit,” he told Autocar on the night of his victory, “so the race finish was brought down to mile marker 16.” That reduced the length of the course up the Colorado mountain from 12.42 miles to nine – a tad longer than Britain’s famous 1000-yard hillclimb at Shelsley Walsh.
“Unfortunately, this meant we couldn’t go after any records,” added Shute, who first won Pikes Peak in 2019 but chose to miss the race last year. “I had been slowly unlocking the potential in the car over the week, and we were playing catch-up due to the late shipping [of parts] preventing any real testing. Even so, I had a really strong run and was able to win by more than 35 seconds. I hadn’t run the bottom section in the dry during practice, so it was a huge learning curve. Forgetting to turn on the oxygen supply to my helmet for running at altitude also increased my workload for a very physical run.”
Shute recorded a winning time of 5min 55.446sec in his 550bhp Unlimited-class Wolf GB08 TSC-LT, which was a whomping 36.668sec faster than Romain Dumas managed. The Frenchman holds the overall record (by some margin), set in 2018 in Volkswagen’s electric-powered ID R special, but on this occasion was driving a more conventional Porsche 911 GT2 RS Clubsport in the Time Attack class.
Dumas beat three-time winner Paul Dallenbach in his open-wheel special to second overall, while New Zealander Rhys Millen was disappointed to suffer engine troubles over the final section in his Bentley Continental GT3. He still finished fourth, less than a second off Dallenbach’s time.
As for Norfolk’s two-time King of the Mountain, Shute is still determined to go for that RWD record, so expect him to return next year and bid for a Pikes Peak hat-trick.