There’s a new record for the fastest production car to ever climb to the top of Pikes Peak, and it’s set by the Bentley Continental GT.
Every year at the end of June, motoring enthusiasts from around the world ascend to Colorado to take part in the Pikes Peak Hillclimb, America’s premier hill climb competition The 12.42-mile course takes drivers over 156 bends and climbs from 9,300 feet above sea level at the start to 14,100 feet at the finish line.
At that height, the air is just 2/3rds as dense as it would be at sea level, taxing conventional engines and cooling systems to the breaking point.
But adversity breeds excellence, as they say, and this year’s excellence is being set by Bentley in the Continental GT. The sports coupe from the British luxury carmaker completed the race in a time of 10:18.488, beating the previous record for fastest production car by a whole 8.4 seconds.
Driver Rhys Millen has now set two records at Pikes Peak, having set the record for fastest SUV in a Bentley Bentayga in 2018 with a time of 10:49.9. That represents an almost 2-minute improvement over the previous fastest SUV.
"This is an amazing finish to a wet, snowy 2019 run at Pikes Peak!” Millen said in a statement. “We came here with one goal in mind, and that was to be the fastest production car up the mountain and set a new record. It was an incredible week. Today was a challenge with what Mother Nature threw at us, but the Continental GT held strong all the way to the top, and we are now Number One.”
Millen’s Continental GT was completely stock, meaning the 6.0-L twin-turbo W12 engine had no modifications to boost its 626 horsepower and 664 lb-ft of torque. Despite the extreme oxygen deprivation and the Bentley’s near-5000 lb weight, the car managed an average speed of 70 mph.
“This new record once again proves that the spirit of endeavor and desire to push the boundaries of automotive performance remain at the beating heart of Bentley," said Brian Gush, Bentley's director of motorsport. "It clearly demonstrates the Continental GT’s astonishing breadth of ability.”