Thursday, July 8, 2010

Another Andretti to Race to the Clouds?

Apparently “Gentleman John” Andretti’s interest in potentially competing in the famous Pikes Peak Race to the Clouds Hillclimb have been fanned after being the event’s Grand Marshal this year, along with serving as it’s Pace car driver.

John Andretti, who once again drove for Richard Petty in conjunction with Cousin Michael’s Andretti Autosport five car Indy 500 armada this May, has raced a ton of different racing series: USAC, NASCAR, Indy Car, CART, NHRA, IMSA and Grand-Am to name just a few.

Yet upon witnessing the Pikes Peak Hillclimb competition for the very first time while serving as the Grand Marshal of the 88th Annual Colorado event, Andretti remarked.

John Andretti:
"I just really hate being a spectator for anything that is going fast, the racer in me comes out and wants to compete."

"It was really interesting to see all of the different vehicles racing up the mountain. There are so many twists and turns along the way. It brings a whole new meaning to the term 'road course.' It made me want to try it next year. It's a whole new challenge. We'll see. I want to do it before they pave the mountain in a few years. I like the dirt portion the best and the whole course is a lot of fun."

The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, also known as the Race to the Clouds, is a competition among 21 classifications of vehicles, including cars, trucks and motorcycles. Each participant makes a timed run up the winding mountain road, ascending a distance of 12.42 miles from the mountain base at 9,390 feet above sea level to the peak at over 14,000 feet. Grades average 7% over both gravel and paved sections. There are plans to pave the entire course over the next few years.

The Hill Climb used to be a fixture on the USAC National Championship series. Andretti's uncle, Mario Andretti, won the event in 1969.

John Andretti:
"It's really cool to think that the event was part of the Indy Car championship schedule."

"It has a lot of history and tradition behind it. Mario and I talked about his experience and I think it's something I'd like to try. It would be a lot of fun to be a part of it next year. I had a blast driving the pace car, but hopefully I'll have a chance to participate as a race car driver too."