In a bold move earlier this year, Ford took the unconventional route by entering the Pikes Peak Hill Climb with the latest iteration of its iconic SuperVan. In a near-20-minute documentary, Ford details the hurdles faced in bringing the SuperVan 4.2 to the renowned mountain race, where it, despite not clinching the top spot, demonstrated remarkable prowess.
The SuperVan lineage traces back to 1971, and to commemorate its rich history, Ford unleashed the SuperVan 4.2 at Pikes Peak in June. Powered by three electric motors generating a combined 1,408 hp (1,050 kW) and shedding approximately 880 lbs (400 kg) compared to its predecessor, the SuperVan 4.2 presented a formidable contender.
Pikes Peak, known for its over 14-mile course that doubles as a public road for most of the year, posed unique challenges. Unlike traditional races, competitors are restricted from driving the entire course until the race day. Testing is confined to one-third of the track at a time, with a strict cutoff at 8:30 a.m. on test days. Ford, in its pursuit of excellence, also utilized Pikes Peak International Raceway to fine-tune the SuperVan's performance.
The documentary captures the surreal sight of the massive SuperVan ascending into the clouds, showcasing the advantages of electrification in this extreme setting. The electric motors exhibited resilience in the thin air, the low center of gravity facilitated nimble maneuvers, and instant torque enhanced corner exits.
The SuperVan 4.2 achieved a remarkable feat by setting a new record of 8:47:682 in the Open division, nearly 40 seconds faster than the previous record of 9:24. Despite this triumph, the team expressed a hint of disappointment, falling short of winning the overall competition by a mere 7.6 seconds. The first-place victory went to Robin Shute in a 2018 Wolf TSC-FS, emphasizing the SuperVan's remarkable competitiveness and advancement in the challenging Pikes Peak environment.