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Race record holder aims to climb to new heights

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Big rig racer Mike Ryan will venture to beat his record time of 12.46.81 in his hand bui...


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Big rig racer Mike Ryan will venture to beat his record time of 12.46.81 in his hand built Freightliner Century Class S/T Super Truck at the 84th Annual Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.

On July 1, Ryan will embark on the 12.46-mile course in an attempt to build on his current record holding status of eight wins, including five records.

Also known as The Race To The Clouds, the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb debuted in 1916 and is the second oldest motorsports event in the US after the Indianapolis 500.

Many consider this be one of the most challenging courses anywhere in the world. The run up the mountain is mostly dirt with no guardrails, making for extremely challenging driving conditions. The course ventures through 156 turns to reach the 14,110-foot summit of Pikes Peak.

Competing against Ryan in the big rig class is four-time New Zealand B Class Truck racing champion Shane Chapman.

A former record holder of the Queenstown, New Zealand Race To The Sky Hill Climb, Chapman took second place at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in 2000. He will be racing a 2004 Panoz Racing chassis, equipped with Haldex water-cooled air brakes. Powered by a 14-Litre Detroit Diesel Series 60 engine, heavily modified with twin turbochargers. The engine produces 1400 horsepower, and 3000 foot-lbs of torque. Power is transmitted to the ground via a World Series Allison 6-Speed Automatic transmission, and delivered through Michelin tires.

Ryan will be racing his one- of- a- kind hand built Freightliner Century Class S/T race truck that was designed specifically for the hill climb. It’s equipped with a 1250 horsepower Mercedes-Benz engine and has 2700 foot-pounds of torque. The transmission is a ZF 5 speed that has been modified for racing. Suspension is a 4-link front end and three-link rear end, much like a sprint car. With a weight of 8000 lbs, speeds have been reached of over 100 mph.


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