Driving the specially prepared Luminox Watch Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car, Jeff Zwart won the 2WD Time Attack class and set a new class record in the 88th running of the Pikes Peak Hillclimb on June 27.
Zwart, now a seven-time Pikes Peak class winner, not only broke Rhys Millen’s 2009 class record by 38 seconds (after smashing his qualifying record by 18 seconds), but went faster than all but five cars in the entire field, including 3 Unlimited Class and 2 Open Wheels cars, all with 600-plus horsepower. His 911 GT3 Cup car also beat all the production-based race car entries, both 2WD and 4WD. Nobulhiro Tajima, from Japan, won the hillclimb overall in an Unlimited Class eight-cylinder, turbocharged Suzuki 4WD one-off race car.
Zwart expressed amazement that his normally-aspirated car didn’t lose horsepower from the 9,000-foot-elevation start and the 14,000-foot finish line. A combination of the 450-hp, 3.8-liter Porsche Cup car engine and expert engine map adjustments from Porsche Motorsport North America gave Zwart the performance of a lifetime. Zwart also credited his Pirelli road racing rain tires. Pirelli developed a tire for Zwart based on the rain tire they use for the Rolex Grand-Am series.
”Without Luminox Watches, Porsche Motorsport North America, and Pirelli tires support, this victory would not have been possible,” said Zwart.
To create Zwart’s car, Porsche Motorsport started with a 2007 Cup car, updated it to 2010 specifications, and installed a new 450 horsepower 3.8-liter engine currently in use in the Patron GT3 Challenge, American Le Mans Series Challenge Class, and the Porsche Supercup series. The engine management mapping was modified to perform well at high altitude and ride height was increased to handle the gravel sections of the course. The underbody was also modified to protect the car from gravel and stones, similar to rally competition. Zwart has now won his class at Pikes Peak all in Porsches – in 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2002 and 2010, setting new class records four times. In 2007 Zwart co-drove a Porsche Cayenne with Pikes Peak veteran Paul Dallenbach at the challenging TransSyberia Rally (Moscow to Mongolia). Zwart also has an SCCA PRO Rally Championship (1990) and a SCORE Baja 1000 class win (2004) to his credit.
The Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, built on the same assembly line in Stuttgart as the street-legal Porsche 911s, is raced all over the world in the Porsche Supercup series as well as various Porsche Carrera Cup and Challenge Cups, including IMSA Patron GT3 Challenge. New last year was the addition of the American Le Mans Series Challenge class, where the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars contest the full endurance series run by the Le Mans racers.
Here are some shots of Zwart’s Porsche in action. Click them to view larger versions…