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Tony Quinn to race at Pike’s Peak

Last updated November 11th, 2016.

Tony Quinn will drive his specially built Ford Focus hillclimb car at Pikes Peak.

Tony Quinn will drive his specially built Ford Focus hillclimb car at Pikes Peak.

Kiwi driver Tony Quinn is counting down the days to his first Pikes Peak International Hill Climb at Colorado Springs on June 26.

Pikes Peak, or The Race to the Clouds as it is commonly known, is America’s second oldest motorsports race after the Indy 500. The race has been on Quinn’s bucket list for a long time.

He recently spent four days at Pikes Peak practising on the 12.42 mile (20 km) course.

On race day the drivers take it in turns to try and set the fastest time on a notorious stretch of road, which starts at over 9000 feet and finishes 156 turns later at the summit of Pikes Peak, 14,115 feet above sea level. Not ideal for someone like Quinn who has a fear of heights.

“Thankfully my fear of heights didn’t bother me at all and the road, which I was very worried about, isn’t nearly as tricky as I thought it would be,” says Quinn.

“One of my biggest fears was that I wouldn’t be competitive and that my guts would be churning inside but it’s actually a really enjoyable road to drive. It’s very steep and tight in places but it’s beautiful countryside and it reminded me of parts of the South Island of New Zealand. It’s quite majestic and I’m really looking forward to the event now.”

Quinn drove a red Mustang convertible up the mountain on his recent recce run but he’s looking forward to putting his custom built Monster Tamer through its paces in the race itself. Originally built for the Race to the Sky hill climb in New Zealand in 2015, the heavily modified Ford Focus with a 3.8-litre twin-turbo engine from a Nissan R35, cost over AU$350,000.

“That might sound like a lot of money but Sebastian Loeb came to Pikes Peak in 2013 and spent a lot more than that,” says Quinn.

“I think the car will go really well and I’m looking forward to posting a good time but it’s the same as any other race. The stars have to align for you and if they don’t any mistake you make will be punished. I’m competing in the Donegal International Rally in Ireland this week so hopefully I’ll get to Pikes Peak in good form. We’ll see how we go and we’ll give it a good lash.”

You can follow Tony’s preparations for the Donegal International Rally and Pikes Peak on Facebook @TonyQuinnOfficial or at www.highlands.co.nz.

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