Watch the $3.7-Million McLaren P1 LM Run up Pikes Peak
One of the hyper-est of hypercars on one of the hairiest roads in America. Add another item to the bucket list.
Some lucky sod got to drive a modified McLaren P1 up Pikes Peak at sunrise, and all the rest of us can do is watch.
Lanzante Motorsport organized a McLaren F1 Owners' Club drive through Colorado earlier this year as part of its High Desert Drive 2018. On its trip through the state, it detoured through Colorado Springs and up to Pikes Peak, one of the region's many fourteeners (mountains at least 14,000 feet tall) and the site of one of the world's most famous hill climb races: the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.
The PPIHC's utter extremity is what makes it notable. Its course starts above 9,000 feet in altitude, and finishes at the 14,114-foot summit, where the air density is a third less than at sea level. Gradually decreasing pressure means relative tire pressure increases, reducing grip. Downforce too becomes less effective, and cooling gets tricky, even though the engine will make less and less power as you ascend. Weather there is more volatile than an American politician's twitter account; it can and does cycle between all four seasons in a matter of hours.
On top of all this, the road itself is narrow, and the tarmac is of varying quality due to the difficulty of maintaining the road. Along the 12-mile course—almost as long as the Nürburgring—are 156 corners, many of them blind. It's the kind of road that makes you think you'll tackle it like a hero, though facing Pikes Peak in person will humble any driver.
For the above reasons, it's easy to understand why the driver of the P1 LM in the footage above looks hesitant to gas it. Anyone driving Pikes Peak for the first time in a 986-horsepower hypercar with just rear-wheel-drive and no roll cage would be as tentative with the throttle as they were.