This year marks the 89th running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (http://www.ppihc.com/) in the scenic mountain town of Colorado Springs, Colorado on June 26. Just west of Downtown, Pikes Peak stands above the landscape, majestic in its beauty, daunting with its sheer domination of the mountain range.
Tasked with the challenge of driving toward a podium finish for the Subaru of Las Vegas/Zenkai Motorsports WRX STI powered by Crawford Performance and protected by Motul, is Stephan Verdier (http://www.stephanverdier.com/). The 41 year old native of France is very familiar with the mental and physical workout Pikes Peak delivers to those who are drawn to the start line.
Stephan Verdier is not new to Pikes Peak, or the cockpit of high powered Subaru vehicles. As a two time class winner, Mr. Verdier has first-hand knowledge of what Pikes Peak has in store for him. Quirt Crawford, owner of Crawford Performance says, "Our pilot for this record attempt will be none other than Stephan Verdier who has won here in the past."
In 2005, Stephan took home rally and open class wins behind the wheel of a 2005 WRX STI. When asked about returning to Colorado Springs, Mr. Verdier said, "[Pikes Peak] is such a significant event. You have one shot at it. The only time you can run the whole hill and have a competitive time on it, is during race day. You get only one shot. If you mess up, you have to wait a full year to come back."
Another new addition to 540 WHP All Wheel Drive Subaru of Zenkai Motorsports, is the inclusion of Motul (http://www.motul.com/) as main car sponsor. While the engine internals are enjoying the protection of Motul 300V 10-40w race grade oil, the exterior will be sporting a new look as well.
"Stephan and Motul 300V are two of our secret ingredients to beating the hill and the competition this year," states Mr. Crawford. Keep an eye out for the Motul enhanced Zenkai Motorsports WRX STI, as it will be certain to grab your attention.
Motul has been involved with Subaru related motorsports for years. They have supplied high quality oil to teams worldwide competing in rally, GT300, Nurbürgring 24 Hours, gymkhana and numerous other event types. Excitement has been growing within Motul to be a part of the Crawford Performance powered Subaru of Las Vegas/Zenkai Motorsports STI program. The Subaru of Las Vegas dealer team is a perfect fit, as they compete in time attack, gymkhana and now, hill climb.
With an impressive list of event wins and track records, Motul concluded that Zenkai Motorsports's Pikes Peak effort would showcase the capabilities of their 300V race grade oil. Testing their products both in laboratories, as well as in grueling motorsports events, Motul's 300V will prove its worth at more than14,000 feet above sea level.
For 12.42 miles, Mr. Verdier, while piloting the Zenkai Motorsports' 2010 Subaru Impreza WRX STI, will encounter 156 turns, and nearly 5,000 feet worth of elevation gain. Already starting at 9,930 feet, the air will be thin, by the time driver and vehicle receive the checkered flag, the thin air will have reduced the Time Attack class vehicle's available power by an astounding 30%.
In regards to the thin air atop Pikes Peak, Stephan explains, "It is something to take seriously, people don't think about the altitude. But that is almost what the most dangerous part of the race is. I mean you start at 9,000 feet and end at 14,000 feet. Look at commercial airplanes, you are not allowed to fly over 13,000 feet without oxygen in the plane. We go pretty high. This is something to take seriously."
Despite being held the fourth weekend in June, it is not unheard of to encounter all four seasons while climbing the mountain. The start line may be 80 degrees and calm, however, once competitors reach the summit, heavy winds, rain, sleet, hail and even snow are not shocking to the teams.
2011 also marks the final year of unpaved sections of the hill climb. The competitor list is quickly approaching 200, as riders and drivers want to have one last chance to tackle both gravel and tarmac surfaces on their way to the top.
"If the hill doesn't want you to go to the top, it doesn't matter how prepared you are, you aren't going to make it. With the weather change every five minutes, at the start it's 80 degrees sunny, get to the top it's -10 degrees and snowing... That's what is exciting about this race, everything changes. It can go from sunny to raining and back to sunny in about 20 minutes. It is definitely… unique." - Stephan Verdier
Race weekend starts Friday, June 24th from 5:00 to 10:00pm on the streets of Downtown Colorado Springs, as Fan Fest takes over the mountain town. Spectators will be able to get close looks at the feats of automotive engineering that have likely caused many late, caffeine fueled nights. Featuring a beer garden, motorcycle and car demonstrations, driver autograph sessions, Denver Bronco cheerleaders and more live entertainment, this pre-race event is a major draw.
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About Subaru of Las Vegas / Zenkai Motorsports
Zenkai Motorsports, founded in August of 2009, is headquartered in Subaru of Las Vegas - located at 5385 W. Sahara Ave. Las Vegas, Nevada 89146. Zenkai Motorsports specializes in Subaru Performance Tuning and modifications including OEM and premium aftermarket performance upfittings. Since its inception, Zenkai Motorsports has been engaged in grassroots motorsports events and skunkworks projects including the restoration of a 1969 Subaru 360 Van for the SEMA Show 2009, and the creation of the ZMRT (Zenkai Motorsports Racing Team) program. With acknowledgement and appreciation from Crawford Performance and their affiliates, Zenkai Motorsports has proven to be an emerging resource in performance tuning and a proponent of competitive racing.
For More Info: http://www.subaruoflasvegas.com/
About Crawford Performance
Crawford Performance, founded by Quirt Crawford in 2002, specializes in designing and building high-performance vehicles, including the infamous Gymkhana 1 and Gymkhana 2 vehicles driven by Ken Block, that excel in rally, drift, road, gymkhana and time attack racing formats.
Recognized around the world for its successful customization of the Subaru Impreza STI, which consistently exceeds expectations on the world stage, Crawford Performance also manufactures proven street components for racing enthusiasts and racing professionals alike.
For More Info: http://www.crawfordperformance.com/
About Motul USA
Motul USA is a world-class company specialized in distribution of high-tech synthetic lubricants formulated for powersports and automotive applications.
Motul is a partner to many manufacturers and racing teams in order to further their technological development in motorsports. It has invested in many international competitions as an official supplier for teams in: 24 Hours of Le Mans, World GT1, MotoGP, World Rally Car, Dakar and others.
For More Info: www.motul.com, www.facebook.com/motulusa and www.youtube.com/motul.