We Go To Pikes Peak 2019! Part One

So practice is done over 3 days.  Each day is a different segment of the course. Day one is done at the most tricky and dangerous part of the course from the Devils Playground scenic turnout to the summit. The course is tight with no run-off and tons of exposure.

The Devils playground staging area is at about 12,000 feet, above timberline and freezing cold. I think it was something like 12 degrees and windy. Here Jason, Jason, and Ed huddle for warmth.  Fortunately, the Evasive team jacket is awesome and is amazingly warm yet breathable.

Some of the other cars are quite intimidating.  Here is BBi Autosports Entry that would go on to win the overall victory. Look for a full feature on this car in MotoIQ soon.

Tire warmers are everything at this event.  In fact, if you don’t have tire warmers you won’t be competitive because you need to be fast from turn one, not taking it easy to warm things up. It is so cold here that the tire warmers struggle to get heat into the tires so you need blankets over the tire warmers to get the tires up to some temperature. We struggled to get them to 140 degrees.  You also have to realize as soon as the car grids up the tires are cooling rapidly.  This is why we always try to pit near the starting line!

So for me to make adjustments and take tire temps and adjust tire pressures, I have to be at the end of the day’s course.  This means I always have to be somewhere higher and colder than anyone else on the crew. So I drove up to the summit.

It was so cold up there that the car’s heater blew cool air.  A freezing wind was blowing and I think it was well below zero.  I took this picture fearing it could be my last.  It was that cold. 14,000 feet is no joke!


  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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