Basalt driver: 2 Pikes Peak world records |

Basalt driver: 2 Pikes Peak world records

Dale Strode
The Aspen Times
Pikes Peak Test Day 2
© Rupert Berrington |

Going up?

Paul Dallenbach continues to go up, up, up at world-record pace.

Dallenbach, the race driver from the Basalt racing family, set a world record at the 91st running of the famed Pikes Peak International Hill Climb last weekend.

Competing in the Time Attack Class, Dallenbach drove the Hyundai Genesis Coupe up the 12.42-mile course to the summit of Pikes Peak in 9 minutes, 46.001 seconds, to be exact.

The win wasn’t his first victory at Pikes Peak, where the Dallenbach family enjoys rock-star status.

The win was his sixth class championship at the most famous hill climb in America.

“It wasn’t a perfect run,” Dallenbach said in a telephone interview with The Aspen Times. “The road got really, really slippery after (morning) practice.”

Add a quick dash of rain two-thirds the way up the mountain to make the road even slicker.

When Dallenbach crossed the finish line in the Hyundai Genesis Coupe, his soft-compound tires were toast from the paved route all the way to the summit.

And his brake fluid was boiling.

“At the very top, when I stopped, the brake pedal went right to the floor,” Dallenbach said, relieved to return to the winners circle after two years of frustrating DNFs (did not finish).

“Really, I just got lucky on the weather,” he said of the intermittent showers at Pikes Peak last weekend.

“I really needed this after the last two years,” Dallenbach said. “Still, it was close.”

SUV record

He said he was able to do more advance scouting on the road up Pikes Peak this year. And it proved invaluable.

“I was fortunate enough to do a Land Rover commercial and documentary before the race. We were on Pikes Peak for five days,” he said.

He didn’t run at race speed, but he was able to study the road and its new pavement over the course of making the commercial and the documentary film.

Dallenbach did make one run under race conditions during the documentary, breaking the world record for an SUV ascent to the summit, driving the Land Rover four-wheel drive..

Then, he added the world record in the two-wheel drive Hyundai Genesis in the official hill climb last weekend.

“That car I drove is 5-for-5 up there,” he said. “There was a lot of pressure on me not to finish second.”

He edged fellow valley resident, Jeff Zwart, of Woody Creek, to win his class this year.

Zwart is a former factory rally driver with extensive international racing experience.

Dallenbach said the record-setting Hyundai may be headed to retirement and a featured place in a motorsports museum in Europe.

“I may have had the last ride in that car,” he said of the 2,700-pound machine that generates 720 horsepower.

“It hooked up great for me,” the modest Dallenbach said after his record run.

He even defeated seven vehicles from the unlimited class — more powerful machines that weigh half as much as his coupe.

With another Pikes Peak victory and another world record, Dallenbach likely will have multiple opportunities to run featured or factory cars next year.

Electric avenue?

And he might go electric.

“The electric element is huge now,” Dallenbach said, adding that he’s excited about the chance to set more records with electric vehicles in the future.

Along with Hyundai and Hancook Tires, Dallenbach’s car this year at Pikes Peak was sponsored locally by Colorado’s Alpine Bank and the Double Eagle Casino.

“There’s no margin for error at Pikes Pike – you only need to misjudge one of those 156 turns, and you’re into the trees or over the edge of the mountain,” Dallenbach said.

Last year, Dallenbach’s sensational crash on the third turn was viewed by more than a million fans on YouTube.

This year, he won’t have as many YouTube hits. But, he’s got a Pikes Peak title and two more world records.

Dallenbach now has six class wins at Pikes Peak and three overall titles in the famed hill climb.

Paul Dallenbach, 46, is the brother of former NASCAR driver and current motorsports commentator Wally Dallenbach Jr.

Their father was an IndyCar racer and a former racing steward with the open-wheel series.

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