Pikes Peak was insanely different and fun. Being part of an event that’s been going on longer than I have been on this earth is something else. Supposedly one of the oldest races in the USA coming in second to the Indy 500. Also possibly one of the hardest places for me to shoot. Pikes Peak has been just as much a challenge for photographers, as it was for anyone attending. Unlike most race tracks I’ve been to, we are talking about a whole mountain here, and one of 53 mountains called the “Fourteeners” which at the peak of Pikes Peak is 14,115 feet.
But let’s not get it twisted, you’re reading this because you want to see the cars, and what it was like from my point of view. Well, for one, you do have to wake up early as 2-3am just to get on the mountain on time if you plan on shooting or getting anywhere on the mountain. That’s because they close the road as early as 4am and unless you want to hike up fourteen thousand feet, you gotta make the effort to get to where you want to be before the cars start racing up the hill. Second, if you have never been on a steep slope side or up that high where oxygen is scarce, or experience hail, rain, wind, snow and hot sun all at once within hours, well you’re in for a treat.
The Race Car line up was somewhat short this year, but nonetheless there was some nice machinery to watch and capture from all angles. Including 3 or more New 2017 Acura NSX’s that showed a lot of heart and will. One of them piloted by Nick Robinson won the Time Attack 2 Production Class, and a 4-Motor EV Concept version came in 2nd place under Electric Modified at a 9:06.015 time, with Japan’s GT Champ Tetsuya Yamano.
If you love Porsche’s like me, you’d admire some of the tasteful ones that attended. Like David Donner’s 2013 Porsche GT3R that won the Time Attack 1 class with a 10:00.813 time. Or Robert Prilika’s 2010 Porsche GT3 Cup, shodded in Martini Livery, performing in the Open Class he managed to match the sweet sounds with a 11:11.713. But there was this one Porsche in the Pikes Peak Open class that caught my eye. It had some odd aero that looked like it came straight out of Khyzyl Saleem’s look book. Yellow in Color, driver and owner Raymund Guerrero of a 2011 Porsche Turbo S made his beast look nice, and functional but succumbed to a DQ in the end. For what reason I don’t know.
Although being there and telling you about Pikes Peak are two totally different things. Even with the short car list and all, there was enough cars to see, check out, awe at, and watch do what they do best. I truly had a great time, and the photos will speak for themselves. The experience of not just being part of it, but also immersing with the crowds, the people and the mountain itself, was like camping with best friends and fast cars. Would I do it again? Absolutely, but this time next year, I will plan way ahead and lodge closer to the Pikes Peak.. -Rommel Estrada #ppihc