Tesla Model S Plaid Earns 2nd Place In Pikes Peak Hill Climb
The Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb took place from June 19-26, marking another year in which electric vehicles have earned their place in the auto world. The event was the 101st annual Pikes Peak Hill Climb, and crucially, second place was clinched by a driver in a Tesla Model S Plaid.
Above: Unplugged Performance and Randy Pobst's Tesla Model S Plaid, "Dark Helmet" (Image: Unplugged Performance / Press Release).
Driver Randy Pobst placed second in the 2023 Pikes Peak Hill Climb, driving a Tesla Model S-APEX Plaid and setting a new record for modified production EVs (via Racer and Unplugged Performance). Pobst lead the Unplugged Performance-modified EV, nicknamed “Dark Helmet,” to post a time of 9:54.901, finishing just behind driver Tanner Foust in a Radford Type 62-2 with a time of 9:37.326.
Tesla’s vehicles have been a part of the International Hill Climb before for the past several years, and driver Blake Fuller won the race in a Model 3 as far back as 2016. This year, Pobst faced off against 66 other drivers and earned the second-place spot, despite Dark Helmet weighing more than 4,900 pounds.
Above: Pobst with UP's modified Tesla Model S Plaid (Image: Unplugged Performance / Press Release).
“Our best Pikes Peak yet!” Pobst said in a press release. “Dark Helmet was so perfectly dialed by the Unplugged Performance team. The Unplugged parts and Yokohama biomass tires allowed us to achieve top 10, sub 10-minute and a new record, and I am absolutely electrified with excitement!”
As for equipment, the modified Model S Plaid used UP’s Ohlins TTX 4-way coilovers, billet aluminum adjustable control arms, sway bar, Superlight Carbon Ceramic Big Brake Kit and Carbon Fiber Brake Cooling Duct Kit. These modifications were used along the Model S Plaid’s factory powertrain and drivetrain, which the company notes it didn’t make any changes to. Dark Helmet also had UP-03 racing wheels from UP, wrapped with Yokohama A005 Biomass tires, which the company says were made from sustainable materials.
"We are thrilled with our success at the 101st running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb,” said Ben Schaffer, Unplugged Performance CEO. “Dark Helmet had a class-win in 2021 on shortened race, but to run the full course this year with our fastest qualifying time ever, and setting a modified production EV record is a testament to the relentless pursuit of excellence by the Unplugged Performance team.”
Above: Left to right: UP CEO Ben Schaffer, driver Randy Pobst and Tesla Model S Plaid "Dark Helmet" (Image: Unplugged Performance / Press Release).
The track for the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, which is often referred to as The Race to the Clouds, begins at the high elevation of 9,395 ft. and rises to 14,115 ft. for a gain of 4,720 ft. total. The track is 12.42 miles long, has more than 156 separate turns, and has an average grade of about 7.2 percent.
“Demonstrating that even a luxury family sedan can compete against purpose-built race cars was our Pikes Peak mission and delivering that for the Tesla community that has supported us for a decade further motivates us to continue pushing the limits of what is possible," Schaffer added.
Enter to win a day at the track with driver Randy Pobst here.
Above: Pikes Peak 2023: Day 5 - Lower Section Qualifying Run & Recap - Quest for “Fast 15”! (Video: Unplugged Performance / YouTube).