Seven-Time Pikes Peak Champion Zwart Brings Improved Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – Takes Time Attack Class Pole Position in Celebration of 20 Years Since His First Porsche Win on the Hill.
In 2010, Jeff Zwart, from Corona del Mar, California, made Pikes Peak history and shook up the sports car establishment by running a road racing car – the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Turbo – at the world’s most famous hill climb, smashing the Time Attack class record and winning his seventh championship.
In 2011, Zwart drove his Porsche 911 GT2 RS turbo street car – not only up the Mountain, but on the Interstate from L.A. to Colorado Springs – and sliced 24-seconds off the record for a street-legal car up the mountain, but was edged for the class title by an all-out race car.
Now, in 2014, Zwart is combining the best of both worlds for the second year in a row – the great racecar he had in 2010 with the turbo power he had in 2011 – to seek his eighth class title at the 92nd Running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.
Zwart was off to a good start for 2014 race week. Not only did he put his Porsche 911 GT3 Cup on the pole in the Time Attack class, but he did so by bettering the class course record by more than two seconds. He was followed closely by another Porsche worth noting – the GT3 RS rally car owned by factory driver Romain Dumas, who raced Pikes Peak with it in 2012 and just missed an overall win. Dumas has brought the car over and hired Porsche Carrera Cup France rising star, Vincent Beltoise, to drive it. Beltoise has one podium so far this season in Porsche Carrera Cup France, and is a rookie at Pikes Peak.
With the Pikes Peak course now fully paved, the down-force and balance the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car has shown gives Zwart the feeling of “wearing” the car. On his decision to prepare and run this unique Porsche again for 2014, Zwart said it was a matter of what makes sense.
“Our decision to run the 2010 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, the most balanced car I have ever run at Pikes Peak, in conjunction with the Porsche 911 Turbo motor, the best power I have ever felt at the Mountain, was based on the data that showed the turbo delivered the most even power at both the bottom and the top of the mountain. This solved the high elevation horsepower starvation that occurs in normally-aspirated cars,” said Zwart.
A commercial film director, Zwart entered his 15th Pikes Peak Hill Climb in his tenth different Porsche as his Luminox Watch Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car – prepared by BBi Autosport in Huntington Beach, California and shod with Michelin road racing tires.
The 12.42-mile course, which used to be all gravel, is now fully paved, making the race car right at home. Pikes Peak is the second oldest auto race in America, behind the only the Indianapolis 500. The low-ratio sequential gearbox means he is busy through the 156 turns, but it makes the car very quick.
A detailed map of the course is available at the following link:
Zwart has won his class at Pikes Peak – all in Porsche Turbo street cars – in 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2002 and 2004, setting new class records three times, before winning with the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car in 2010. He co-drove a Porsche Cayenne with Pikes Peak veteran Paul Dallenbach at the challenging TransSyberia Rally (Moscow to Mongolia) in 2007. He also has an SCCA PRO Rally championship on his racing resume.
The Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Turbo car, built on the same assembly line in Germany as the street-legal Porsche 911s, is raced all over the world in the Porsche Supercup series as well as various Porsche Carrera Cup and Challenge Cups. In the U.S., the car runs in the IMSA-sanctioned Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge.
The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC), also known as “The Race to the Clouds”, is an annual automobile and motorcycle hill climb to the summit of Pikes Peak in Colorado, USA. The track measures 12.42 miles (19.99 km) over 156 turns, climbing 4,720 ft (1,440 m) from the start at Mile 7 on Pikes Peak Highway, to the finish at 14,115 ft (4,300 m), on grades averaging 7%. It used to consist of both gravel and paved sections, however as of August 2011, the highway is fully paved and as a result all subsequent runnings will be on tarmac from start to finish.