Walter Röhrl and his Audi Sport quattro S1.Enlarge Photo
No driver before or since has matched that time on pure gravel, and Röhrl’s record is now etched into history. The road to the summit has been paved (and was partially paved years ago), so modern records don’t reflect the challenge that Röhrl faced on pure gravel.
In 2012, the German driver will return to Pike’s Peak, accompanied by his record-setting Audi Sport quattro S1. The summit road may be paved, and Röhrl isn’t competing in the actual hill climb event, but even an exhibition drive featuring the legendary rally star behind the wheel of a 600-horsepower Audi should offer plenty of thrills.
While Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima, running in the Unlimited class, broke the 10:00 barrier in 2011, the Japanese hill climb star will return in an electric car for 2012. The electric car record, set by Ikuo Hanawa in 2011, stands at 12:20.084. With asphalt now running from base to summit, there’s little doubt that new records will be set in 2012.