Race To The Clouds
Tim Hardy is one of the most passionate people I have met. When someone tells you they are going to build a race car, and they start building a race car, thats Tim. About eight years ago a barely drivable car arrived in his garage in Colorado Springs. He began welding, cutting, grinding, measuring, soldering, drilling and building a car unrecognizable to its former self. His car has truly taken on a life of its own. Like any machine it’s only as good as the creator’s imagination and discipline in executing their vision. Though something that goes beyond just machine, creator, vision, car, metal, rubber is happening when Tim gets in the driver seat on Peak Week. Pikes Peak is a towering mountain in Colorado. Peak week is the hellish 2am-3am wakeup call everyday leading up to the race on that towering mountain. The sound of the grinder, the smell of coffee is the first thing that makes sense at 2am and orients the crew to the task ahead. Dark, headlights, race car, mountain, fuel, cold, shivering, rattling in your chest as engines come to life, sweet exhaust produced by ethanol, tired, breakfast burritos, more coffee, almond creamer, half and half. Thats hell week on Pikes Peak, and the only reason to do it is because its fun. The goal simple, get the car to the top as fast as possible, or just get to the top, finish. The road is so winding that one can barely see beyond each corner, memorization of every turn is essential to safety and cutting time. It is a massive rock pushed up into the sky by nature, a road superimposed on top by man, so tall that clouds bend around its peak, and race across the sky changing minute by minute. Weather can make or break the race for many drivers, when the rain comes you have to change tires, and be prepared for the worst. Many drivers give up when the rain comes, the risk is very high. This year Tim was able drive on a dry road, and make a time just a few seconds short of his best time that was below 10 minutes. This year just barely above 10 minutes. For a car built in a small garage on residential street, thats fast, and still fast if that car was built by a factory team with a professional crew. A few weeks before the race, Tim bolted a passenger seat to the frame, and I finally got to experience what is probably one of the worlds fastest BMW E30s. Words are not sufficient, I got a nose bleed, endorphins, adrenaline well beyond what I have felt after taking a fall rock climbing, shaking, I think my soul left my body as it fully expected my human experience to end. The speed at which this car can hit a corner is mesmerizing to the mind. Tim specially designed the car to have as much downforce as possible this allows the car to push the limits when it would otherwise go off the road. It is covered in custom carbon fiber, kevlar and epoxy layed up by Tim and the crew. Each year Tim goes through the car looking for new ways to save weight. This year he removed 50 pounds, mostly due to adding a lithium-ion battery in place of old lead acid battery. It has been an adventure for Tim, with many obstacles to overcome. He is still at it, each year bringing passion to this unique race dating back almost 100 years up one of Colorado’s tallest mountains. Trying each year to shave off a few more seconds, or just enjoy the rush of doing something that totally focuses the mind. #326 1987 E30 360 Video.