ZWART'S PORSCHE 3RD AT PIKES PEAK AS HEAT SPELLS DIFFERENCE
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - July 5 -- The heat of the day and some great competition in the High Performance Showroom Stock division proved to be the undoing of Jeff Zwart's attempt to score his sixth straight division win here yesterday at the 77th annual Pikes Peak International Hillclimb. Zwart, whose Porsche Twin Turbo finished third in class to Rhys Millen's Nissan Skyline and David Donner's Subaru Impreza WRX, ran perfectly all week on the softer compound of the BFGoodrich R-1 tires, but practice and qualifying were both run early in the morning.
"By the time we lined up to race on Sunday, it was at least 20 degrees F warmer than those sessions, and I thought about going to a harder compound as to not get too much tire wear before the top half of the run," said Zwart, who lives in Woody Creek, Colorado.
"I saw the others staying with their softer compounds, but their cars are almost 600 pounds lighter than mine. I decided not to switch, however, and my half-way time was exactly what it was in qualifying. But the heat caused the softer compound to wear out more quickly, and I had little tread left when I needed it most - near the end," he said.
Zwart reported that the car ran perfectly during the event, capping a great week of practice and qualifying, but the competition in the class has become faster and lighter.
"I'm going to Germany next week, and will be looking at the new Porsche 911 Carrera 4 (the 996 model), and hope to bring one to the Hill next year. I'd like nothing better than to start a new class win streak," he said.
Here are the top three finishers in class:
Rhys Millen - Nissan Skyline GTR -- 12:13.47 David Donner - Subaru Impreza WRX - 12:16.07 Jeff Zwart - Porsche Twin Turbo -- 12:26.33
The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is held annually on July 4 in cooperation with the City of Colorado Springs and the U.S. Forest Service, and is the second oldest, continuously running auto race in North America. Its 156-turn, 12.42-mile course on a groomed gravel highway to the 14,110-ft. summit of Pikes Peak is open to the public year-round.