Traveling at an average speed of nearly 72 miles per hour in a Vermont SportsCar, Travis Pastrana took his BFGoodrich Tires-shod 2011 Subaru Impreza WRX STI rally car on the 149-year-old Mt. Washington Auto Road. Four-time Rally America National Champion Pastrana made sure the project name, Red Bull Speed Chasers, lived up to its name. He reached the summit faster than anyone else in history by clocking an officially timed run of 6 minutes 20.47 seconds, besting the previous record by more than 20 seconds.
Pastrana posted the great time on his first-ever high-speed run to the summit. The 7.6-mile-long Mt. Washington Auto Road is a serious challenge for racers, with the partially paved, partially gravel road is lined with trees and dangerous drop-offs. There are more than 100 turns on the road that climbs to a 6,288 foot summit of the Northeast’s tallest peak. Pastrana posted the time a year before the legendary Mt. Washington “Climb to the Clouds” Automobile Hillclimb will return after a 10-year hiatus on June 22-26, 201,1 as part of the 150th anniversary of the Mt. Washington Auto Road..
“This is an amazing road, it’s just so much fun,” Pastrana said. “It’s extremely challenging, there is no room for error and the scenery is epic. The Mt. Washington Auto Road has some amazing history to it.”
Pastrana teamed with veteran co-driver Marshall Clarke of Ireland on his runs to the summit. The duo spent Tuesday familiarizing themselves with the auto road in a street car at legal roads speeds and made detailed stage notes, the same process used for stage rally competition. Both Pastrana and Clarke had never driven the Mt. Washington Auto Road before, and thus the detailed notes played a key role in the at-speed attempt the following day.
The Mt. Washington Auto Road was completed in 1861 and is the oldest man-made attraction in North America. Considered one of the oldest motorsports events in the United States, the Climb to the Clouds was first run in 1904, with a winning time of 24 minutes 37 seconds, seven years before the first 500-mile race at the Brickyard in Indianapolis and twelve years prior to the inaugural Pikes Peak Hillclimb in Colorado.
The Climb to the Clouds was then run sporadically until 1961, making a comeback in the 1990’s. The last time the Climb to the Clouds ran was in 2001 on a shortened course due to severe weather. In fact, the highest-recorded wind speed in the United States – an incredible 231 miles per hour – was on Mt. Washington in 1934.
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Source: Red Bull, BFGoodrich