Seven-time Pikes Peak Hillclimb champion Jeff Zwart, from Woody Creek, Colo., will not only take Porsche's fastest road car ever up the mountain next week at the world's most famous hillclimb, but he will drive the street-legal, 620hp 911 GT2 RS the 1,100 miles from Porsche Motorsports North America in Santa Ana, Calif., to the event.
Zwart, a commercial film director, will defend his 2WD Time Attack class championship from last year, when he smashed the class record by more than 30 seconds in a modified Porsche 911 GT3 Cup road racing car. He returns to his roots at Pikes Peak, testing the limits of the ultimate street Porsche on the mountain. With technical support from Porsche Motorsport North America and Michelin, Zwart will be contesting the 89th running of the hillclimb classic – the second oldest race in America behind the Indy 500).
Zwart said that running a 2WD car – only the third time he has done that in his previous 10 starts – will be easier because of last year's experience, but the Porsche 911 GT2 RS, one of just 500 produced, will still be a bit of a handful. He also entered a previous generation Porsche 911 GT2 in 2003.
“Although I have gained more than 150 horsepower from last year's car, I have also gained a lot of chassis weight – the difference between a street car and a racecar,” said Zwart. “Also, I made good use of the sequential-shift transmission last year in the racecar, and now have a 6-speed manual gearbox to operate through Pikes Peak's 156 turns.”
There are only two miles of gravel left on the mountain road, which is slowly being paved completely to help attract additional tourist traffic. By next year, the entire road – which starts at 9,390 feet above sea level, and ends at 14,110ft, will be all asphalt.
This Saturday, Zwart and his crew will pick up the car at Porsche Motorsports North America in Santa Ana, Calif., and drive it to Colorado Springs, arriving sometime Sunday evening.
“We wanted to show the sports car enthusiasts that the Porsche 911 continues to be a car that meets multiple transportation needs, something its owners have known for years,” explained Zwart. “You do not have to hit the top speed of 205mph to enjoy this car on the road, yet we hope to use the 600-plus horsepower to get us up Pikes Peak fast enough to win the class and break our own record.”
The 89th running of Pikes Peak will start official practice on Wednesday, June 22, with Zwart scheduled to run the bottom third of the 12.42-mile course. The Porsche will run the middle part of the course during Thursday practice, and the top part of the course on Friday. Friday is also Fan Fest in Colorado Springs, and the race Sunday begins at 9 a.m. MDT.