Quest for the Peak - 2012 Pikes Peak IHC

We are excited to announce the successful completion of our 2012 Quest for the Peak - WE ARE THE 2012 PPIHC UNLIMITED CLASS CHAMPIONS!


On August 12, 2012, David Donner piloted the Palatov D4 PPS to a first place finish in the Unlimited class of the Pikes Peak International Hillclimb. His time of 10:04.652 put him 5th overall (out of over 160 competitors) and only 18 seconds behind the new overall record.

Working with a very short timeframe and a very limited, grassroots-funded budget, the Palatov team has been able to design, build, prep and race the D4 PPS, succeeding against more experienced and much better funded teams from all over the world.

We are very grateful to our sponsors for believing in us and providing the crucial support that has enabled our success. With everything we have learned in 2012 we know what needs to be done to challenge the formidable competition as we run again in 2015.

The blog detailing our 2012 Quest is now on the page. Our 2015 blog is now also accessible to the public.


Palatov Motorsport Ultra-Lightweight AWD Platform

Our Modular Platform was designed and developed with the singular goal in mind – to facilitate the full and effective use of most possible power at the lowest possible weight and smallest possible size. With today's engine technology high power numbers are easily attainable. Top Pikes Peak competitors run in excess of 1,000 hp. However making effective use of the power, putting it to the ground without negating it with excess weight, is the challenge that has not been effectively met. Until now.

The Palatov designs are based on the concept of placing a lightweight drivetrain next to the driver, creating a very compact package that gives extreme mass centralization, perfect balance and lends itself very efficiently to AWD. At high power/weight ratios AWD is essential to making full use of the engine's potential. High-powered two-wheel-drive cars must use traction control under most conditions which works by reducing engine output and therefore not using all that is available.

The D1 and D4 demonstrate the effectiveness of the approach. The D1 features 430hp normally aspirated and over 500hp turbocharged in an AWD chassis weighing under 1,100 lbs complete. The D4 uses motorcycle drivetrains ranging from 180hp normally aspirated to 300+hp turbocharged and weighs approximately 900 lbs in AWD configuration. Both chassis give the driver full control over engine power under a wide range of road conditions.

A key aspect of the Palatov vehicle architecture is modularity. The use of identical suspension at all four corners and the modular suspension assemblies that attach to the main chassis as a unit facilitate rapid service, minimize number of spares and leverage development across vehicles.

By placing both the driver and the drivetrain in the middle of the chassis the Palatov layout facilitates effective underbody aerodynamics within very short wheelbase and overall dimensions. This ensures that both low speed mechanical grip and high speed aero-assisted grip are optimized. The very low polar moment of inertia inherent in the design results in agility that cannot be matched by a larger, more conventional car.


Despite their small size and light weight, the Palatov designs offer a very high level of safety to the driver. They are founded on the proven concept of a survival cell - a strong structure around the driver protected from impact and intrusion, surrounded by collapsible crush zones. The survival cell consists of a triangulated frame with fully braced rollover protection. The frame is constructed of aircraft grade 4130 chromoly seamless steel tubing and complies with racing regulations for cars weighing up to 3 times as much. For Pikes Peak extra rollcage structure will be added to comply with specific regulations. Within the frame, the driver is further enclosed in a composite 'Pilot Pod' that keeps the driver's body contained completely within the survival cell. It extends traditional upper body protection to legs and feet as well. Shielding and advanced insulation outside the 'Pilot Pod' create a firewall. pilot pod Unique elbow pockets provide ample room for the driver to fasten and release his/her own belts without outside assistance. A 6-point FIA approved harness is standard and works with HANS devices. Within the 'Pilot Pod' the driver is cushioned and protected by a custom fitted BSS foam seat. Drivers of over 6'3" height and over 250 lbs are readily and safely accommodated despite the car's compact dimensions. Outside the survival cell, components have been designed to provide progressively collapsible crush structures. The driver's feet are entirely behind the front wheels and suspension and the car has generous crush zones front, rear, and on the sides.

Palatov D4PPS

In continuous development since 2009, the D4 has been the primary vehicle for Palatov Modular Platform design refinement and technological progress. Extensively tested at Oregon Raceway Park and other venues, the car has seen its lap times at ORP improve by over 15 seconds during past 2 years, from 1:55 to 1:39 on the 2.5 mile road course. As a result in its base, normally-aspirated form with a stock motorcycle engine of 170 hp and RWD configuration, the D4 is now within 1.5 sec of Formula Atlantic time and overall record at ORP.

For Pikes Peak effort the D4PPS (Pikes Peak Special) will use the longer D1 chassis, bodywork and aerodynamics and a Hartley H2 4-cylinder engine turbocharged to 300++ hp at altitude. The engine will be coupled to a custom Hewland sequential gearbox with electronic paddle shift and the Palatov lightweight AWD system. Carbon body, floor and pilot pod complete the spec.

The D4 incorporates all the modularity and safety features of the Palatov Modular platform, shared with the other Palatov cars.

The D4PPS offers an exceptional level of performance and is a strong contender for overall win and record.

Individual Sponsors - Over $250

Blue Sky

Mies van Grunsven
Gary Bohn
David Barker
Gernot Tengg
Timothy Miller
Penny and Jay Borden
Aric Streeter
Chris and Michell Green
Kevin Douglass
Ben Mahony

Ragged Edge

Dan O'Leary

Devil's Playground

Adam Koppel
Pete Stoppani
Karl Asseily

Commercial Sponsors


Heuberger Motors


Cantrell Motorsports

Cartesian Tube




Shock Shop

Rinehart Motion Systems

Oregon Raceway Park

Hartley Enterprises

Fuel Safe

George Dean Racing Engines

Hoosier Racing Tires


Elle Va Motorsports


Lewis Fabrication