This year’s edition of the Pikes Peak hill climb might not have attracted any overall record-breakers, but there were still plenty of epic builds on show. Here are the best Pikes Peak cars of 2023.
If you love modified cars, it’s well worth tuning into the annual competitive hill climb at Pikes Peak. High horsepower, wacky aero, creative engineering: this internationally-renowned American sporting event is a great showcase of all those things.
So, if you missed this year’s running, here are some of the best Pikes Peak cars of 2023.
Best Pikes Peak Cars of 2023
Let’s start this shortlist with the outright winner of the 2023 event; Robin Shute’s Wolf TSC-FS. A privately-built, true underdog creation, the Wolf is run by an outfit called The Sendy Club, and essentially is an open-wheel racecar evolved to tackle hill climbs rather than conventional circuits.
Powered by a highly modified 2.1-liter turbocharged Honda unit, its lack of weight means that this thing accelerates with an extreme ferocity. That certainly seemed to help it on its run up the mountain, as despite some gearbox issues, British driver Robin Shute managed to set a time of 8:40.080 minutes. For context, that’s the third-fastest time anybody has ever reached the summit…
Ford Performance SuperVan 4
The next quickest time went the way of the factory-funded Ford Performance SuperVan 4. Piloted by Romain Dumas – the current all-time Pikes Peak record holder, the SuperVan made it up the hill in a time of 8:47.682 minutes (about 50 seconds shy of the record Dumas set in the Volkswagen ID.R).
Now, don’t be fooled. Although this thing is sporting van-like bodywork, it’s a far more specialized bit of kit than its visuals may perhaps suggest. It creates over 4400lbs of downforce at 150mph thanks to its aggressive carbon fiber front splitter and rear wing, and when pairing that with a trio of STARD electric motors (collectively outputting around 1400hp), the results are – evidently – quite effective to say the least…
Alpine A110 GT4 Evo Pikes Peak
Alpine’s debut in the Race to the Clouds went pretty well, it must be said. Having enlisted the talents of French rally driver, Raphaël Astier, the Renault-sub-brand claimed the third fastest time of 2023.
The car that they used to do so was this highly modified Alpine A110, which weighs just 950kg (2100lbs) and has almost 500hp at its disposal.
Interestingly, rather than keeping this project totally in-house, Alpine leant on the minds of the engineers at Signatech (the team which runs Alpine’s Le Mans racecars) in order to make this machine a reality. That becomes evident when you look at some of the car’s finer details, such as its rear window-mounted shark tail fin, which is commonly seen in the world of endurance prototype racing.
Mad Mike’s Quad Rotor Mazda 3
You can always trust Kiwi drifter, ‘Mad Mike’ Whiddett, to come up with something spectacular. Famed for his affinity with Mazda, Mike has created all sorts of heroic cars over the years based on models such as the FD RX-7, RX-8 and MX-5 Miata. Now though, he’s turned his attention to the humble Mazda 3 grocery-getter.
Underneath the smart bodywork, you’ll find a 1200hp quad-rotor Wankel engine hooked up to a drivetrain that’s been converted to send power to the rear wheels. The build has been fully designed and constructed by the folks over at TCP-Magic Japan, and before it made the trip Stateside, our good friend Dino Dalle Carbonare shot an in-depth showcase of the car. Watch the video here!
Radford Type 62-2 Pikes Peak Edition
Radford is an old name in the world of motoring, but recently, it’s been injected with a new lease of life. With the likes of F1 Champion Jenson Button and TV mechanic Ant Anstead at the helm of the company nowadays, the reinvigorated coachbuilder has lofty ambitions.
As a sign of its big aspirations, Radford has created this – the Type 62-2 Pikes Peak Edition. You can trace its core DNA back to the Lotus Emira, but this isn’t just a simple rebody job. Its 3.5-liter supercharged V6 now churns out around 700hp. On top of that, a big effort has gone into weight-saving, meaning it tips the scales at just 861kg (1900lbs). As a result, 60mph arrives in just 2.2 seconds from a standing start.
Of course, Pikes Peak isn’t all about pure speed. You need serious downforce too, and this car clearly has plenty of that. Renowned rallycross driver, movie stunt double, and former Top Gear America host Tanner Foust was the man elected to get behind the wheel, and predictably he did a thoroughly good job. The Radford reached the summit in 9:37.326 minutes, which was enough to win its Exhibition class and finish 8th overall.
Now, the question is, do any of these motors make it onto your list of all-time Pikes Peak favorites?