We Go To Pikes Peak 2019! Part One

As soon as we got to the rented team house the guys wasted no time to inspect and prep the car.  The guys are from the left, Ed Liu, Kelvin Youg, Jason Reinholdt, and Jason Caldejon

The car had been pre-run a little the week before so everything needed to get checked. Here Jason checks the axles that had been troublesome before are inspected and replaced with new parts. The differential had been relocated and the axle shafts were lengthened to reduce angularity on the CV’s and that seemed to be working well giving us confidence that the axle issues were cured.

Kelvin gives the front suspension a nut and bolt inspection.

Since the summit of Pikes Peak is over 14,000 feet and most of the race is run at over 10,000 feet, giving the driver supply of pure oxygen helps.  Driving a car at speed is more strenuous than you would think and having oxygen is a big help.  Dai didn’t have any problems and was a little skeptical but he told us he felt the oxygen with a noticeable difference once he tried it.  Strangely I was the least affected from the altitude of the whole team.  I could run around and do jumping jacks at the summit when everyone else was short of breath.

Everything in the engine compartment was inspected for damage and loose bolts.  Every day the car was run, the crew would go through the same inspections.  It was several hours of work but this is one of the reasons why the 86 is always reliable when it makes an appearance.

Here is the 3.2 liter 2JZ powering the 86. It is basically pretty close to the engine run in Ken Gushi’s FD car and is capable of making 1000 hp.  For Pikes Peak the Garrett Gen II GTX42 is swapped for a Gen II GTX  3584 RS which reduces the power potential to around 800 whp but improves low-end torque and throttle response.  This helps the car come off the tight hairpin turns that Pike Peak has a ton of.


  1. Really cool article Mike, it made me think of a few questions though.
    Does the aero noticeably get weaker as the car climbs? if so, would having driver/automatic tuneable suspension make a difference?
    The car seem to have small endplates, are those rules limited as well? I would think gigantic endplates would be the default for a course like Pikes Peak.
    About the turbo, does it spool up quicker and reach higher RPM in thinner air? So you would get better response but less overall power the higher you go? Unless it’s not limited by the friction on the compressor wheel…

    Anyways TIL about racing with oxygen bottles on Pikes Peak.

    1. The aero gets weaker as the car climbs higher, also the turns get tighter and for the most part lower speed. Having driver-adjustable suspension is not that useful because the driver is pretty busy on this course because very little of it is straight and if your chassis guy knows what he is doing the car is balanced high and low-speed aero load or not. A big endplate doesn’t mean much. It gives more room for sponsor logos. The end plates main job is to prevent spillover on the ends of the wing elements or front diffuser for that matter. The ones on our front diffuser also serve as vortex generators so they can only be around a certain size. That is what the weird looking shape is for. At high altitudes, compressor Overspeed and surge are for sure a thing and sometimes you have to reduce boost as the car climbs. Watching that situation is something that is a headache that kicks a lot of people’s ass.

      1. Oh, I thought endplates had a big effect on yaw control, like the shark fins on WEC cars, but if they have a big effect on the budget aren’t they even more useful!? hahaha.

        Good to know about boost control at altitude, I just realized that pikes peak is even higher than the Andros Trophy in the french alps. The mexico GP is only half that and they have trouble.

        1. The shark fins don’t do anything in CFD and wind tunnel, at least when they were first tested. They did give more advertising space.

  2. Mike! Do you have any kind of fan setup behind the radiator? Or do you get enough air flow from how fast the car is going up the track?

  3. Great article, I love the prep perspective to go with the technical articles.

    It seems like you were prepping at Pikes Peak for about a week?

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