Autocar digital editor James Attwood was at this year's Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, providing news and updates. Scroll down to see how the event unfolded.
Sunday June 24: When eight minutes can feel like a very long time
It went past in a flash and a whoosh, a fully charged four-wheeled missile going faster than your brain could comprehend. So fast, in fact, that it took a few seconds for the spectators lining the fence just past the start of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb start line to react.
— James Attwood (@Atters_J) June 24, 2018
Eventually, they did. One yelled ‘yee haw.’ Another swore. Loudly.
And then the wait began.
One problem with Pikes Peak is that the very things that make the event so special also make it a logistical challenge. The start line is 9390ft up a mountain; the finish way up at 14,115ft. There aren’t many permanent facilities in place at such altitudes, phone signal is patchy at best, and the atmosphere and weather can play havoc with signals.
And so, once Romain Dumas and the Volkswagen ID R Pikes Peak had disappeared from view, it was hard to chart their progress up the 156-turns and 12.42 miles of the course. A livestream video was patchy at best, the radio commentary chipped in where they could, but they could hardly cover the full mountain.
Having run back to the paddock, you gleaned fragments of information here and there: Dumas was doing 136mph when he went through the flying start, and there was occasional word that his pace up the mountain did, indeed, threaten Sebastien Loeb’s outright record from 2013. But all you could do was wait.
It was all the Volkswagen Motorsport team could do as well. They crowded around the same television screens in the pits as other teams and fans, watching the same timing screen and the same patchy livestream, waiting with the same eager anticipation.