Man has tried to conquer virtually every challenge and adventure on two and four wheels. From the NASCAR super speedways, NHRA drag strips, USAC dirt tracks, and SCTA Bonneville salt flats, drivers have pushed the technological envelope of their machines in setting new records while going faster than ever before.
One racing venue that has been around almost as long as the automobile is the Broadmoor Pike’s Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC). Affectionately known as The Race to the Clouds by fans and competitors, this annual invitational automobile and motorcycle hill climb to the summit of Pikes Peak in Colorado, is one racing’s greatest spectacles for over 100 years and is America’s second oldest race.
The PPIHC’s features a wide variety of automobile categories that include everything from Open Wheel and unrestricted race cars, to production based factory showroom models. One such car under construction to attack the 12-mile Pike’s Peak Hill Climb is a slightly modified 2018 Challenger SRT® Hellcat Widebody driven by Kevin Wesley.
For Kevin Wesley, he’s conquered Pikes Peak many times and knows every turn and curve to the top of the mountain intimately. Wesley understands that one wrong move can spell disaster, but it doesn’t dissuade him from strapping into a high-horsepower machine and racing to the clouds. His impressive resume is a long list of racing accomplishments that includes P2 Record and 6th overall at the 2017 Mt Washington Hill Climb; a qualifying record holder at and 2nd place finish in TA2 at 2016 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.
For Kevin Wesley, he’s been into cars since he was a kid with inspiration coming from keenly watching his father work on numerous race cars projects. His introduction to road racing began with his brother’s Mustang, but really took off in 1993 while working with Mopar Action during the One Lap Of America race. Since then Wesley has competed in various road races, endurance races, Time Attack, hill climbs, stage rally, autocross, TSD rally, and ice races.
For this year’s Pike’s Peak International Hill Climb, Wesley is ready to attack the mountain once again but this time in a 2018 a lightly modified Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody with handling upgrades inspired by the Dodge Viper ACR.
“The Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody is an amazing platform that handles unbelievably well,” said Wesley. “Throw in a massive amount of supercharged horsepower and it’s a great recipe for Hill Climb and Time Attack competitions.”
Wesley will get behind the wheel of the new Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody and get it dialed-in at the #GRIDLIFE event in Mid-Ohio in late April. Once it gets a clean bill of health, Wesley will head west and hit the Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in June.
With 12.43 miles of twisting, climbing road, the Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is one of the world’s most challenging racecourses. Back in 2016, Wesley set a TA2 qualifying record and finished 2nd in class driving a Dodge Viper ACR.
Even with partners like Dodge, SRT Engineering, Mopar, Bilstein and Kumho Tire, Wesley knows it’ll be to tough road to the top of the mountain, especially in the highly competitive TA1 (Time Attack 1) class.
“Using production based cars with drivetrain modifications and limited aero improvements, TA1 is the perfect class to maximize SRT Hellcat power as well as leverage aero developed under the Viper ACR program”, said Wesley. “Altitude demands lots of power to be competitive, the supercharged SRT HEMI® engine gives us that and the advantage of a reliable factory developed platform.”
Wesley’s ride started out as a production-spec 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Widebody and then was sent to Conrad Mohr of ACME Hi-Performance Laboratories in Statesville, North Carolina. Here, the exterior, interior, and wheels were upgraded to meet to severe demands of racing while being competitive for most hill climb events and road course races. The suspension remains OEM with the exception of four-corner Bilstein double adjustable shocks.
The 2018 Broadmoor Pike’s Peak International Hill Climb race will take place on Sunday June 24th with the green flag dropping at 8:00 AM local time. We’ll be covering Wesley’s Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody’s racing exploits on DodgeGarage.com.