A fully-built 1949 Ford F1 race truck with a customized 5.9-liter Cummins turbo-diesel straight-six under its hood just set an unofficial Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC) record! Today is the 98th running of this annual race. This is a specific record for diesel-powered vehicles.
Scott Birdsall piloted this truck to a final time of 11:02.064 (just over 11 minutes). The race is still in progress as of this writing, so the record may not be final. You can follow 2020 PPIHC live timing to see all the latest results.
The truck was part of the Exhibition Class that ran the mountain first. The 2020 race was delayed due to cold, icy, and snowy weather at the top of the mountain.
PPIHC is a race in Colorado that takes competitors from a staging area at around 9,000 feet above sea level through 156 turns to the very top of Pikes Peak mountain at an elevation of 14,115 feet. The total course length is 12.42 miles.
The turbo-charged diesel engine helps to compensate for rapidly decreasing air density and lack of oxygen. Still, judging by the segment times, the truck’s performance was decreasing near the top of the mountain. Usually, two big factors combine against the driver near the top, decreased engine power and hot brakes. However, it’s great to see racers finish the race with their vehicles intact and in working order.
We (at TFL Studios) love to follow and cover this unique and difficult race. We have followed it in person over the years, below is just one of our videos featuring another giant diesel-powered 2,400 horsepower race truck.