GM runs up front at Pikes Peak

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., July 4 /PRNewswire/ -- In a spectacular display of power, speed and durability, General Motors conquered the 78th Annual Adephelia Pikes Peak International Hill Climb winning the first and second place overall spots. ...

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., July 4 /PRNewswire/ -- In a spectacular display of power, speed and durability, General Motors conquered the 78th Annual Adephelia Pikes Peak International Hill Climb winning the first and second place overall spots. Larry Ragland, driver of the Vortec-powered GMC Envoy with an Inline 6-cylinder engine, beat all the competitors' V8s on the Hill to capture the first-place overall spot with a time of 11:17.66. Per Ecklund, driving an Ecopower Saab 9-3 Viggen, grabbed second place overall with a time of 11:21.58. "This was a great day," said Ragland. "My Vortec-powered GMC Envoy was flawless. We knew the engine was strong based on our recent win at the Baja 500 in Mexico, but I couldn't wait to bring it to the Peak and show the racing world that an Inline 6-cylinder could beat the V8s. What a powerhouse engine!" GM's critically acclaimed powertrains -- Duramax, Vortec, Northstar, Ecopower and Hydra-Matic -- had a number of top finishes. "To bring eight vehicles to Pikes Peak was an incredible challenge," noted Harry Turner, off- road truck group manager of GM Racing. "This was a huge effort and we have been rewarded with a slew of successes. I am tremendously proud of the drivers and the entire Herzog Motorsport's team. This is a great way to celebrate the fourth of July!"

Success at the Peak GM's Pike Peak entries included a GMC Sierra and Envoy, three Cadillac Seville STS vehicles, a Saab 9-3 Viggen, and two American Speed Association (ASA) Holden Commodore (Australian application) race cars. GM's drivers scored in several categories. Fastest Overall: Larry Ragland, in his fourth consecutive win, charged up the Hill in 11:17.66. This time earned him top billing in the High Tech Truck and Sport Utility Vehicle class and the overall race victory. Ragland's Inline 6-cylinder engine will appear in the production GMC Envoy beginning in 2002. Second Fastest Overall/First in Class: Per Ecklund, the 1999 European Cross-Rally Champion, realized his dream of competing at the Peak from behind the wheel of an Ecopower Saab 9-3 Viggen. In an outstanding performance, he captured first place in the Pikes Peak Open class, breaking a record previously set record, and it was the second fastest overall with a time of 11:21.58. Fastest Diesel Ever: Evan Evans, Duramax Diesel racer and spokesperson for GM Mobility Program, topped the Peak in his hand-controlled, production Duramax Diesel 6600 V8 GMC Sierra, at 13:34.63. Evans' time was a new record for diesels, beating all previous diesel cars and trucks at the Peak. This was this production-Diesel's first-ever race. Evans' time was the fastest truck in his class, finishing fourth overall in High Performance Showroom Stock. Fastest ASA: Layne Schranz, hometown favorite and new member of Herzog Motorsports, seized the top spot in his class with the Vortec ASA 5700 Holden Commodore (Australian application) with a time of 12:49.03. Ricky Johnson, also driving a Vortec ASA 5700 Holden, finished in second place. Luxury Class Record: Shaun Palmer, extreme athlete extraordinaire, reached the Peak in style while showing off his diversity and talent. He piloted his production Northstar-powered V8 Cadillac Seville STS to a first place finish in the Luxury Sedan class with a time of 14:34.66. Following Palmer in similarly equipped vehicles were Mark Miller (driving a European-equipped right-hand drive) and Stephanie Reaves, with second and third place finishes, respectively.

"Today we demonstrated the outstanding capabilities of our GM powertrains and vehicles in extreme racing conditions," said Russ O'Blenes, GM Racing program manager for Pikes Peak. "We are extremely excited by our success at the Peak. Our goal is to use what we have learned from racing and apply it to our production programs for the benefit of GM's customers worldwide." The Pikes Peak race, which dates to 1916, features one of the most demanding hill climb courses in the world. The grueling 12.42-mile gravel course begins at an elevation of 9,482 feet, includes 156 turns and finishes at an elevation of 14,110 feet.

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Series Hillclimb
Drivers Stephanie Reaves , Evan Evans , Mark Miller , Larry Ragland , Ricky Johnson , Layne Schranz