Back in 1980 Porsche racer now turned restorer and collector Bruce Canepa had a crack at Pikes Peak Hillclimb with today’s featured Canepa special.
Bruce decided to make use of the latest in off road buggy technology for his attempt and commissioned fabricator Paul Newman to build an open wheel buggy with a 3 litre / 183 cui flat 6 cylinder engine in the rear.
Despite the car running well Bruce found that the normally aspirated motor lost too much power in the thin air of the higher reaches of the 14,000 ft climb to be competitive.
In 1981 Bruce returned to the hill climb with a 450hp twin turbocharged Porsche motor in the back of his Pikes Peak special and set a new record and fastest time in practice despite according to Bruce the best, but unsuccessful, attempts of Pikes Peaks legends Bobby and Al Unser to get the car disqualified.
Bruce’s website describes the race unfolding thus “In the race, Canepa was on pace to win the event and set a new hill record when he rounded a turn to find a spectator standing right in front of him. He spun the car, missed the spectator and stalled the engine. Canepa was so far ahead that even after he restarted he was still able to finish second.”
The 1981 race to the clouds was won by Dan” Bud” Hoffpauir driving street equipped open wheel Wells Coyote. The following year Pro Rally cars became the fastest cars on the hill and they have continued to dominate every year up to and including 2013.
My thanks to Karl Krause for sharing his photographs of the Canepa Porsche, seen at this years Niello Serrano Concours d’Elegance, and to Geoffrey Horton for kindly arranging for Karl to share them.
Thanks for joining me on this “Upsetting The Unsers” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again for a look at a Ford GT40 Mk 1 race car tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !