Pikes Peak

Two remarkable things happened at Pike’s Peak International Hill Climb on Sunday. The first was that a 60 year old man won an internationally recognized motorsport event – Japan’s Monster Tajima continued to do just that to all-comers, taking his 1100kg 910hp Monster Sport Suzuki SX4 to a fifth straight victory. The second was that a newcomer won the motorcycle class. Ducati’s Multistrada 1200 S has had a spectacular market introduction around the world, and furthered the legend by taking an international hillclimb title in very close to standard roadbike trim. Read More
It's the kind of spectacular driving stunt we expect of James Bond or Frank Martin - slam the Aston Martin/Audi into reverse, plant the gas pedal, wait for momentum to pick up, then flick the wheel to perform a faultless 180 degree pirouette into an impossibly tight parking space. Only celluloid superheroes can drive like this and get it right every time ... oh, and autonomous vehicles. Faultless driving stunts are not normally associated with autonomous vehicles but check out this video because it'll help get everyone accustomed to the concept! Computers will eventually out-drive, out-think and out-perform humans on every level and this clip of autonomous supervehicle Stanley shows that computers out-driving us will be sooner rather than later. Read More
The team at the Center for Automotive Research at Stanford (CARS) are aiming to send a specially-equipped robotic Audi at break-neck speed up the tight bends that lead to Pikes Peak without a driver … something that hasn’t been done before. Read More
The age-old battle of man versus machine will move to a new arena in 2010 when Audi will begin pitting an autonomous TTS Coupe quattro against record times of some of the great driving challenges, including a likely attempt at the infamous 12.42-mile Pikes Peak Hill Climb in Colorado, USA. The driverless Audi is from the same team that built the VW Touareg which won the first race for autonomous vehicles, the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge. The inevitable incorporation of advanced robotic technologies into our automobiles will ultimately yield a safer vehicle and it’s the thin end of the wedge – one day soon your car will not only be smarter than you are, it will also be faster and maybe even better looking. Read More
January 4, 2009 The order books have opened for the 196mph Audi R8 making it the first car in the world with all-LED (light emitting diode) headlamps, daytime running lights and turn indicators. LEDs are the headlight of the future due to their power, homogenous light distribution and the agreeable, daylight-esque colour and Audi can rightfully boast a technological edge with headlights four times more energy efficient than halogen headlights in addition to having a practically indefinite service life. LEDs can be made more or less bright electronically and hence able to be precisely adapted to conditions. In the future, headlights will react to variables such as weather conditions, speed and the distance between vehicles. Audi already has a pre-production headlight which offers exceptional visibility at night without irritating oncoming drivers, by measuring the distance of the approaching vehicle and adapting the shape of the beam continuously. Read More
July 26, 2007 The 10 minute barrier was almost broken at the famous Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in the United States on July 21 with Nobuhiro ‘Monster’ Tajima breaking the previous record of 10 minutes and 4 seconds which has stood for 12 seasons. We have written before about the Pikes Peak Hill Climb and also written about Nobuhiro ‘Monster’ Tajima here. The theme of this years 85th running to the top of Pikes Peak was ‘Beat the Record’ which is exactly what Tajima did with a run of 10:01.04 seconds which eclipsed the previous best time by more than three seconds. Monster’s Suzuki XL7 features a twin-turbocharged 3.6-litre V6 that produces a stunning 750 kW (1007 horsepower) at 8500 rpm and 1000 Nm of torque at 6250 rpm. Read More
July 3, 2007 The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is the second oldest automotive motorsport event in the United States. An annual happening since 1916, the race takes place on July 21 when very brave riders and drivers attempt to scale this 12.42-mile (20-km) course that begins at 9,390 feet (2,862 metres) and finishes at the 14,110-foot summit (4,300 metres) of the spectacular Pikes Peak Mountain. One rider’s experiences: “At the speeds we are going now the road gets very skinny, and at the edge is a 50-3,000-ft drop-off! I was battling for the lead one year when my handlebars got locked with the other rider’s. We were going about 100 mph (160 km/h) towards this turn with a 3,000-ft drop on the outside. At the last second we were able to break apart and turn…...” Read More
July 12, 2006 DARPA might have started something huge when it held the first Grand Challenge as a fledgling new sport has taken root - motorsport without the driver. That first race where the best vehicle only managed a few miles has now spawned the first race for robots, appropriately to be held at one of the birthplaces of American motorsport and the mountain that inspired Katharine Lee Bates famous poem, “America the Beautiful” – Pikes Peak. Pikes Peak has a 14,700 ft high summit with a 12.4 mile long access road rising 4710 feet through 156 corners, and annual races have been held there since 1916. Now the first Annual Autonomous Robot Race to the top of Pikes Peak will be held September 23, 2006. So far ten competitors have entered, most of whom will be recognised from their previous outings at DARPA GC I & II, though all comers are welcome. Team Axion made the trip to the 2006 Pikes Peak International Hillclimb (with drivers) last week and on the day after the race Spirit, Axion Racing’s autonomous Jeep Grand Cherokee, became the first unmanned vehicle to drive itself to the summit of Pikes Peak without human interaction or remote control. Spirit’s time of 47 minutes and 10.3 seconds was almost five times that of Kiwi Rod Millen’s record but as Axion Racing’s Team Leader Bill Kehaly explained, “we would have reached the top quicker, but Spirit kept having to apply brakes to stay back from slower human controlled vehicles.” “Our top speed is presently 25 miles per hour and we think we can break 30 minutes at this September’s inaugural Pikes Peak Robot Hill Climb.” Read More
August 3, 2005 In one of the most meticulously planned and carefully orchestrated pre-debut publicity campaigns ever undertaken for an automotive product, we got to see more of the evolving Audi Q7 story this week when the German company’s PR machine released images of the Q7 undergoing equally exhaustive testing from Southern Africa to the Nurburgring. The Q7 has already notched up millions of test kilometres prior and worldwide testing under demonstrably extreme conditions for reliability, handling, comfort and flexibility makes an impressive story prior to its public showing in Frankfurt next month. Read More
July 1, 2005 Multiple medium promotional campaigns using internet sites as the campaign hub continue to grow in functionality and capability and response, as the world penetration of internet connectivity trends towards ubiquity. Accordingly it has been interesting to watch the surge in traffic to Audi's online Broadband portal, “Q7 Globe” - it's the biggest multi-channel marketing project ever undertaken by the company for the launch of a new model and although the Audi Q7 SUV will not have its premiere until the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, the "Q7 Globe" online portal has already signed up 110,000 prospects. Read More