Once again, with June closing out, we are at the Pikes Peak International Hillclimb with our Unplugged Performance Tesla Model S Plaid racecar. This is the live coverage.

Thanks to the impressive runs with the Model 3 in 2020 and the Model S Plaid in 2021, all done by our racing driver Randy Pobst, this year’s Pikes Peak comes with great expectations. We’ve extensively modified the Model S Plaid, created a unique and custom-engineered aero package, designed to improve our times at Pikes Peak, and fitted along with numerous Unplugged Performance modifications for the Model S Plaid. Below, you will find the daily coverage of the event, with videos, photos, and details from this year’s run.

What is more terrifying than a high-speed run up Pikes Peak with massive fog, wet conditions, and those high-speed blue sky turns with no guardrails? A windshield that fogged up directly in the line of sight and having to finish the race up the mountain fully blind!

Watch as Randy Pobst has a great run spoiled by a fogged windshield. He tries dropping the windows but it doesn’t help! He loosens his harness and tries wiping the windshield with his hand while racing but doesn’t help! The defroster was on the whole race but it didn’t help! Instead of finishing 6th out of all 72 entries (he was on pace for a 6th place finish) to being blinded, we finished 19 out of 72.

Until the windshield blinded Randy it was shaping up to be an awesomely close race between our 4900lb stock power/cooling Tesla Model S Plaid and Pikes Peak veteran Zwart’s incredible million-dollar Porsche 935 ultimate factory race car.

Sector 1+2 Combined times: 4:22.73 – UP Tesla Model S Plaid Pobst 4:22.75 – 992 Turbo S Light Weight Donner 4:23.41 – Porsche 935 Race Car Zwart Wow that was exciting! A frustrating but promising end to Pikes Peak week. We are happy with how the car performed as we dialed in the suspension for the challenging track all week. It was ready for a win on race day. In the end, the mountain decided this year wasn’t our year.

We are proud of our Randy and proud of the amazing work of our team. Congrats to all drivers & teams who put it on the line to challenge the mountain this year! It takes admirable commitment to run this race! Special congrats to our Tesla family Blake Fuller (he ran our production brakes and wheels on his Plaid) and Dai Yoshihara for the excellent Turn14/Evasive Tesla Model 3!

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Pikes Peak 2022 Raceday Full Run! Racing Blind To 14,115ft in UP Tesla Model S Plaid Dark Helmet

6/25/2022 – Dark Helmet’s Pikes Peak Rodeo At The Top! Final Testing. Splitter, Diffuser & Asphalt Destruction!

During yesterday’s practice session we wanted to optimize our setup for the Pikes Peak Rodeo which is the upper section’s horrible road conditions this year. Unfortunately, going off-road and smashing into Martian rocks destroyed the front splitter’s metal internal frame and also damaged the support structure above it. We also damaged the rear diffuser after going airborne and taking chunks out of the asphalt!

We are flat out working to repair the car for the race on Sunday and must test it again at the local Pueblo track Saturday morning.

It is really hard to set up a time attack aero car to do an off-road rodeo on the upper section! We are doing our best to optimize the massive adjustability of our UP X Ohlins TTX 4-way shocks for an environment like no other and meanwhile keeping the stiff springs and low ground clearance our aero needs to work. Doing some high-speed rebound tuning and last-minute packer adjustments. Our production-spec brake kit has been handling the challenges like a champ all week even on low regen settings where they take extreme abuse (don’t try low regen on a Plaid please). This course demands everything from the driver, team, and car and we are pushing flat out to be in the best possible position for Sunday’s race.

Stay tuned for the race on Sunday!

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6/23/2022 – Dark Helmet Runs Middle Section 2nd fastest of all 72 entrants in all classes!

Today Dark Helmet set the second-fastest time overall across 72 competitors through the middle section of the Pikes Peak course. The UP team continues to hone in a fast setup for Sunday! With each day the car gets dialed in and has picked up a significant pace. At 4900lbs there’s never been a production-based race car quite like it! Our time of 2:27 puts us 3 seconds ahead of the second-place LMP3 car in our class for the day and surprisingly topped the fastest times in Unlimited class cars as well. Tuning continues to optimize for the harsh conditions of this extremely challenging race! Stay tuned for the remaining test days and then the race on Sunday!

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6/22/2022 – Pikes Peak 2022 Qualifying: 5 seconds faster than last year! Randy Pobst lap and commentary

Dark Helmet continued to challenge the physics of a 4900lb (with driver) four-door production-based EV race car. 141mph speeds today! We managed to be 5 seconds faster than last year’s 4:10 run despite having 70% battery at the start of today’s 4:05 second run. We were running reduced brake regen to gather more data on brake temps and thermal limitations as we try to find the sweet spot for race day setup. The UP Ohlins TTX 4-way Pikes Peak spec coilovers and race aero are getting tuned in day by day for this challenging course. More tuning and another all-nighter coming up… We remain proud by the way of our 2020 UP Model 3 Phoenix qualifying time of 4:12 which has stood the test of time. Every year we are getting faster and beating our best times which is what it is all about. Continuous improvement.

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6/22/2022 – Pikes Peak 2022 Day Two: Dark Helmet takes on the upper section

The first day of putting our improved Model S Plaid through its paces went smoothly as Randy Pobst got to grips with the most challenging section of the course.

YouTube video

6/21/2022 – Our Model S Plaid Race Car Dark Helmet is ready for Pikes Peak 2022

The first day of our week-long event at Pikes Peak is complete and we’re ready to put Dark Helmet to the test in practice tomorrow.

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