King of the hill
As Jeff Zwart prepares to tackle Pikes Peak with Porsche’s new 935, the legendary filmmaker reveals how the Colorado hillclimb – and the Porsche cars he’s taken there – captured his heart.
The filmmaker and Porsche collector has raced the famous Colorado hillclimb no fewer than 17 times in a dozen different 911. To date, he has won the event on a remarkable eight occasions and now coaches for Porsche Motorsport in the single-make GT4 Clubsport Class.
For 2020, Zwart returns to the mountain aboard the 700 PS 935, entered into the new Time Attack class that pits production-based sports racers against each other and the clock in a mile-high sprint to the snow-capped summit in the Rocky Mountains.
“The 911 is in many ways the ideal car for Pikes Peak,” says Zwart. I grew up driving 911s of course, and they’re the basis for all my race cars – understanding the way they rotate and move under you, and having all that weight over the rear axle, is a real advantage at Pikes Peak.
This year, that familiarity with both car and course will go one step further as Zwart enters the new Porsche 935 for the very first time. The start line at Pikes Peak is 9,000 feet high and the challenges that altitude brings to both car and driver are difficult to replicate on a conventional circuit.
“It’s certainly an intimidating place and one with huge consequences. Competitors rarely spin at Pikes Peak – there is always something to hit or fall off. But as the years have progressed, so has my knowledge of the place. It’s such a complex mountain to run. There are 156 turns and it finishes at over 14,000 feet. With so much to take in I always say you’re not racing the other competitors, you’re racing the road. That’s the way I approach it anyway. I keep my head down and don’t get too worried about what people are doing around me.”
Info The 2020 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb will now run on 30 August. Photos: Larry Chen (Instagram: @Larry_Chen_Foto)
Jul 14, 2020 at 12:54