It’s been three years since we did this last. Our first Pikes Peak experience was an incredible adventure – we had no idea of what we were up against, or how we were going to do it. Through determination and a lot of crazy work we pulled it off and did well. I still look back on it with disbelief occasionally.
In comparison, this year’s effort is a less impossible undertaking but ultimately no less stressful. We are running a supercharged D2 in the Open class (as of right now, more on that later). There are several things in our favor that we didn’t have last time:
1. We’ve been to the Mountain and we know what it demands.
2. The D2 chassis is now well sorted and can provide Jonathan Frost, our driver this year, with the necessary performance and confidence. Jonathan has been closely involved in D2 development testing and is very familiar with the chassis.
3. The car build is well underway – the chassis is welded and powdercoated, the engine and transmission are installed, many of the subsystems are going in as this is written.
4. We already have some sponsors onboard with Pete Stoppani in the lead as the car’s primary individual backer.
All those things definitely help but this is not going to be easy. Key among the challenges ahead are:
1. We are scrambling to complete the new 2015 D2 bodywork design. Our goal is to run the new body in the race. It will be extremely close and besides lots of hard work will require everything to go perfectly, including the use of some innovative and untried technologies to shorten the tooling time. As a backup we can run the current body and we do have one set of panels onhand, but obviously the preference is to have new stuff done.
2. We are using a supercharged LSA e-Rod engine, one we haven’t used before. This installation has presented us with numerous unanticipated challenges already, from having to completely redo the intake to requiring a new flywheel, to redesigning the drysump tank. All of these are solvable (and we’re doing it) but it’s a lot of extra effort.
3. Our resources available for this endeavor are still not what we would like them to be and we’ll be relying on the support of all of our sponsors, individual and corporate, to help us get to the starting line.
4. We have numerous existing commitments to customers that we have to honor, without the race effort getting in the way of getting this work done. This is perhaps the biggest challenge as most of our time between now and the race is already spoken for. We’ll have to make time for the race effort on top of everything else that’s going on.
In other words there will be no shortage in adventure and excitement over the next three months, and of course in the race itself. As before, the blog will be accessible to sponsors only and opened up to the general public after the race. There are many ways for our backers to participate, from simply following the blog to stages of closer involvement which include attending our testing, private track events and up to joining our Lead Customer Program.
We’re charging full speed ahead! In the meantime, below are some in-progress renderings of how we hope the car will look in just two short months.