Which section of the course is the key to success?
The racecourse consists of three sections, each completely different from the other. At the beginning, there are still trees along the side of the road. In this section, there are corners that are taken at a medium speed of around 150 or 160 km/h. The middle section consists almost completely of hairpin turns, where the speed is relatively slow. The final section looks like the surface of the moon. Only rocks, no trees. Because of that, you have no reference points for where you are on the course, and many of the turns are not visible in advance. Nevertheless, it’s a high-speed section of the race. This section is the most difficult and where drivers win the most respect. To win, you need a car that performs well in all three sections.
How do you prepare for the altitude of more than 4,000 meters as a driver?
The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is usually one or two weeks after the 24-hour race at Le Mans. That leaves me with no time for things like sleeping in a hypoxic training tent, as I did when I was preparing for the Dakar Rally. The problem with Pikes Peak is not so much the altitude, either. The physical strain is caused more by driving from 2,900 to 4,300 meters in less than ten minutes. My remedy is oxygen, which I take in the car with me.