The long US trip of Simone Faggioli and Fabien Bouduban, which lasted almost a month, ended in these days with the return to Europe. The project of their participation at the Pikes Peak Hill Climb, which for the Faggioli Racing Team took the name of “The Peak Challenge”, led the two teammates in the last two years first to imagine, then to plan and finally to realize their participation in the most famous hillclim race in the world. The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, a 19km race took place near Colorado Springs, in Colorado, on June 24th. The two drivers , supported by the Best Lap team, drove their NORMA M20 SF PKP prototypes specially developed by the French manufacturer Norma Auto Concept, powered by TFTech and officially equipped with Pirelli tires. Many difficulties turned out in this project, which was ambitious and structured, especially for a private team. First and foremost, the extreme environmental conditions (the track ends at over 4,300 meters) for the drivers and especially the cars. Secondly, the speed and the dangerousness of the track that in a certain way makes the challenge even more interesting. Finally it must be taken into consideration that the tests begin at the first rays of light of the day and therefore require teams and drivers to be settled at 3 am. Little rest and a lot of efforts, then. To these difficulties, a series of extemporaneous problems were added, from time to time faced and resolved. First the failed delivery of Faggioli’s car from Chicago for the tests scheduled on June 8th, then the 3 consecutive engine breaks that a week before the race made the whole team work non-stop day and night. Despite everything, despite these problems, the team continued to go on and allowed Faggioli to be ready at the start of the race. On this particular occasion on Sunday the engine was weakened to gain greater reliability and thus be able to cut the finish line. Indeed, at Pikes Peak, the real victory for all the participants consists mainly in this. Before Faggioli and Bouduban Romain Dumas starts with his electric Volkswagen and destroys the previous track record establishing a new one under 8 minutes. Faggioli, who at the beginning of the trip wanted to improve the previous record of Loeb (8’13 “) given the times recorded in the free practices in sectors, concludes his race in 8’37” playing “in defense” compared to his plans: some problems accused before and during the race did not allow him to compete against the electric giant Volkswagen. He is second overall, second in the Unlimited category and Best Rookie of the edition. Fabien Bouduban finished his race as fourth in the overall chart and third in the Unlimited category. For Faggioli, however, it is a result that marks a series of records not to be underestimated: third best time in the history of 96 editions of the race, best time ever scored by a private team, best time for a rear-wheel drive car and best time ever registered in this race by a Norma. It must be considered that in 2017 this score would have allowed him to win with 28 seconds advantage over Dumas‘s one. At the end of the race, after the descent from a park fermé literally covered in snow, called Champions Parade, Faggioli expresses his thoughts: “A race where everything is extreme and where the finish line is the main goal for everybody. Given the problems of the last days today I just wanted to get to the top, so I can say I am satisfied. It is not the timing that I could have realized, but the contingencies have been so many that I have to be happy! I congratulate Romain Dumas because he has registered a stratospheric, unreachable time! Of course I want to thank the team guys who have given all their strength to allow me to be here today! I hope this result partially repays them. I saw so much emotion in the eyes of those who welcomed me on my return to the paddock, it was a beautiful moment. I especially thank Fabien with whom I share this beautiful project and Pirelli, particularly Terenzio Testoni and Orazio Mastracchio, who have supported us with all the means in their possession and even beyond. It’s a dream that comes true, but I‘d never have believed it would have been so hard! Even Romain told me in confidence that this race is even more difficult than the Paris Dakar! ”
It is quite clear that it is not possible to make a comparison with the German giant Volkswagen right from the budget, the available means, the communication strategies and contacts with the press; in any case in Italy and Europe there is great attention to the project of the Faggioli Team which has been declared as biennial and that therefore will see Faggioli and Bouduban in Colorado again next year. In addition, the M20 SF PKP will return to Italy at the end of August to take part in a series of events including probably the FIA Masters in Gubbio on October 14th. Faggioli and Bouduban would like to thank the fans for the incredible support provided that was motivational fuel and obviously technical partners and sponsors without whom the Pikes Peak project would not have been possible.