• Sep 10, 2010
Travis Pastrana sets Mt. Washington Auto Road record – Click above for high-res image gallery

Just the other day we mentioned that Travis Pastrana was spotted on Mt. Washington. We were curious if he was going to try and take on the Auto Road. Well, he didn't just "take it on" – he went after the 1998 record set by Frank Sprongl. The time set back then was a blistering six minutes and 41.99 seconds.

Pastrana beat it by 20 seconds.

Driving a rally-prepped 2011 Subaru Impreza WRX STI, Pastrana attacked the 7.6-mile long course and slid across the line in six minutes and 20.47 seconds, also beating our own Editor-in-Chief's time by some 19 minutes. The Mt. Washington Auto Road is 149 years old, features over 100 turns, a one-mile unpaved section and the road climbs from a base of 1,527 feet up to the summit, 6,288 feet above sea level. The average gradient for this road is 11.6 percent.

The project is being called the Red Bull Speed Chasers and it seems Pastrana and his crew did just that. The Subaru was prepared by his Vermont Sportscar team and it's clearly an extremely quick machine. Pastrana, along with officials from the Mt. Washington Auto Road, used this run to evaluate the conditions of the route ahead of the 2011 Climb to the Clouds. The event is scheduled to run June 22–26 in 2011 and marks the first time in 10 years it will take place. It also coincides with the 150-year anniversary for the road itself.

Pastrana was quoted as saying:
"This is an amazing road, it's just so much fun, it's extremely challenging, there is no room for error and the scenery is epic. The Mt. Washington Auto Road has some amazing history to it."
General Manager of the Auto Road, Howie Wemyss added:
"Travis' run was incredibly thrilling on a number of fronts... It's amazing that he was able to drive that car to the summit in 6:20, and all the more so when you realize that he and his co-driver had just seen the Auto Road for the first time the day before, and the top quarter-mile was in thick fog! Our racing heritage here at the Auto Road runs deep, having started in 1904 and now Travis is part of that heritage as the fastest person to the summit by automobile."
Congratulations are in order to Travis Pastrana and his Red Bull team. Do we spray him down with an energy drink or a bottle of champagne?


Show full PR text
Travis Pastrana Sets Fastest Time in Automobile up Notorious Mt. Washington Auto Road at Red Bull Speed Chasers
Pastrana Ascends 6,288-Foot Peak Driving Subaru Rally Car Besting 100 Years of Previous Attempts
  • Pastrana's time of 6 minutes 20.47 seconds beats the old time of 6 minutes 41.99 seconds set by Frank Sprongl, in 1998
  • The 7.6-mile road climbs 4,618 feet, features over 100 turns and has an average gradient of 11.6 percent.
GORHAM, N.H., Sept. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- The 149-year-old Mt. Washington Auto Road has seen the likes of horses and carriages, camels, people, bicycles and most famously, competition race cars. Yesterday, traveling at an average speed of nearly 72 mph in a Vermont SportsCar-prepared, BFGoodrich Tires-shod 2011 Subaru Impreza WRX STI rally car, four-time Rally America National Champion Travis Pastrana made sure the project name, Red Bull Speed Chasers, lived up to its name. He reached the summit faster than anyone else in history by clocking an officially timed run of 6 minutes 20.47 seconds, besting the previous record by more than twenty seconds. Amazingly, Pastrana achieved the impressive time on his first ever high-speed run to the summit. Pastrana has effectively thrown down the gauntlet in advance of the legendary Mt. Washington "Climb to the Clouds" Automobile Hillclimb, which will take place in 2011 after a 10-year hiatus.

The 7.6-mile-long Mt. Washington Auto Road is one of the ultimate challenges for driver and automobile; the serpentine tarmac and gravel road is lined with trees and dangerous drop-offs above the mountain's tree line as it winds its way to the 6,288 foot summit of the Northeast's tallest peak. The road, which features more than 100 turns, is mostly paved but features a technical dirt section that is approximately one mile long. The road climbs 4,618 ft from an altitude of 1,527 ft with an average gradient of 11.6%.

Pastrana was up to the challenge, and on his first attempt was able to set his fast time, besting "Climb to the Clouds" Hillclimb record holder Frank Sprongl's time of 6 minutes 41.99 seconds, set in 1998. Pastrana attempted three more runs but each time he was slowed by near zero visibility conditions at near the summit, as low rain clouds inundated the area. Pastrana's test session was officially sanctioned by RallyCar (formerly Rally America).

"This is an amazing road, it's just so much fun," said Pastrana, who last New Year's Eve set the world record for distance jumping in a car at 269 feet. "It's extremely challenging, there is no room for error and the scenery is epic. The Mt. Washington Auto Road has some amazing history to it."

Pastrana, with his Vermont SportsCar team, as well as officials from the Mt. Washington Auto Road, conducted the Red Bull Speed Chasers test session to evaluate the road conditions ahead of the 2011 Climb to the Clouds, which will make a return June 22-26, 2011 as part of the 150th anniversary of the Mt. Washington Auto Road.

Pastrana teamed with veteran co-driver Marshall Clarke of Ireland on his runs to the summit. The duo spent Tuesday familiarizing themselves with the auto road in a street car at legal roads speeds and made detailed stage notes, the same process used for stage rally competition. Both Pastrana and Clarke had never driven the Mt. Washington Auto Road before, and thus the detailed notes played a key role in the at-speed attempt the following day.

The Mt. Washington Auto Road was completed in 1861 and is the oldest man-made attraction in North America. Considered one of the oldest motorsports events in the United States, the Climb to the Clouds was first run in 1904, with a winning time of 24 minutes 37 seconds, seven years before the first 500-mile race at the Brickyard in Indianapolis and twelve years prior to the inaugural Pikes Peak Hillclimb in Colorado.

The Climb to the Clouds was then run sporadically until 1961, making a comeback in the 1990s. The last time the Climb to the Clouds ran was in 2001 on a shortened course due to severe weather. In fact, the highest-recorded wind speed in the United States – an incredible 231 miles per hour - was on Mt. Washington in 1934.

"Travis' run was incredibly thrilling on a number of fronts," said Howie Wemyss, General Manager of the Mt. Washington Auto Road. "It's amazing that he was able to drive that car to the summit in 6:20, and all the more so when you realize that he and his co-driver had just seen the Auto Road for the first time the day before, and the top quarter-mile was in thick fog! Our racing heritage here at the Auto Road runs deep, having started in 1904 and now Travis is part of that heritage as the fastest person to the summit by automobile."


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 38 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Record is set to be broken
        • 4 Years Ago
        Please learn phrases before saying them...

        It's "Records are meant to be broken."

        Did you read the previous story or this article? The previous record was set 22 years ago. I have a feeling this new record isn't going to be broken unless someone builds a proper car to take this on. You definitely won't be seeing Pikes Peak Unlimited Class cars doing it considering they're probably too wide and too large to be able to run the course. There was barely any room when the previous record holder took to the course.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Seriously, Elmo, what's you deal? Cookie Monster steal your cookies again?
        • 4 Years Ago
        @kwsdurango

        It was a typo. What he said wasn't. My mistake for being half awake. My mind is easily influenced and I just typed it out knowing very well that the initial record was done 12 years ago.

        @Nordic

        If it wasn't that hard, then why did it take 12 years for another person to break the record? Why didn't you go out and do it? Seems someone is just a Sebastian Loeb fanboy.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Sorry about that guy, 考生. People that act like an asshole on the internet -but would never say something like that in real life- are called Trolls. It's usually best not to respond to them. Not all Americans are jerks :)
        • 4 Years Ago
        Don't be too strict with a foreigner.
        You know what i mean,that's enough.....
        thank you for correcting me
        • 4 Years Ago
        Elmo, please tell me you aren't the same Elmo from TAL.
        Otherwise that would be bad.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "I have a feeling this new record isn't going to be broken unless someone builds a proper car to take this on." It's not that hard to beat, just put Loeb and his C4 WRC on that road...
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Elmo
        Think about it...

        "record is set to be broken"

        Travis set a new record to beat in the future.
        To me it sounds like he's even adding a little sarcasm to his words there. As in Pastrana isn't going to be holding that record for the next 12 years.

        ..."set... to be broken"

        Oh and.. it's not "records are meant to be broken"
        ..."it's rules are ment to be broken"

        Our dear foreigner has a better grasp on english than you do...lulz

        That is all.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I don't doubt that Loeb or any of the top runners in the WRC could beat any of the hillclimb records at Mt. Washington or Pikes Peak. The problem is getting them to actually do it. If you haven't noticed, most people that have professional racing careers don't run "fun" events like this...Travis Pastrana is the exception because he's a crazy person and does whatever the heck he wants.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @kwsdurango

        They just fixed the post...it originally said the record was set in 1988, which it was not. They changed it to the correct date of 1998 after he had already posted.
      • 4 Years Ago
      also, it was in an Audi Quattro and there is video of it on the Mt. Washington website
      • 4 Years Ago
      Seems like there'd be an onboard video. Anybody seen one? It seems a bit of a let down without one.
      • 4 Years Ago
      WOW! That Audi was FAST in '88 to do it in that time. Hard to believe he only beat it by 20 or so seconds when car tech has comes SO far.

      Way to GO!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Way to go Travis!!!

      amazing thing is that he only had only seen the course for the first time the day before. I bet after a few days of practice he'd go much faster.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Why thank you !

        ( My names Travis ) lol
      • 4 Years Ago
      nice
      • 4 Years Ago
      Psh, whatever. I hiked up Mt. Washington in 4 hours. Beat that Pastrana.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I call 'No Deal'

      The previous record, set by Canadian Frank Sprongle, and Aussie Jeff Denmeade was done under competition standings, under proper stage timing with authorised timing equipment and people. this is merely a test that went well. But it is not an official record, as all official records in the past, again, have been done under the duress of competition with other cars allowed to also compete. Sprongle in a Grp B Audi Quattro, and Denmeade in a Lancer evo 5 RS Grp n car.

      Given the 12 years between this run and the last (true) hill climb event held there a lot has moved on.

      Tires have advanced, suspensions have advanced, egines have moved rapidly as have tuning ECUs and power out of turbos.

      Both Denmeade or Sprongle would get very close to Travis's time without doubt, and maybe even run faster.

      Nothing against Travis, but this 'record' is a travisty (ha ha) and an insult to all other competitors who have supported Mt Washington in the past who somehow, suspisciously, got very left out of the invite to come and try for it, or enjoy the 'test' day.

      As what was posted on another forum
      - "We had a race, we won."
      - "How many cars entered?"
      - "Just one, us! - we also set a new record"
      - "a new record?"
      - "Yes, we wouldnt allow anyone to run against us so we can set a record without anyone beating us"


      croninn
      • 4 Years Ago
      Congrats Travis, I was working on the course when Frank set the previous record, very cool.
      • 4 Years Ago
      What's the record for going down the mountain?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Around a minute...duck and roll off the top =P

        No pace notes needed, but the landing is a real killer.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I want to see some Pastrana vs Block action! Pikes Peak Rally Cross anyone?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Not to take anything away from Travis, but didn't Sprongl do it without a co-driver?

      Also, I love that there is a standard issue Vermont plate on the car...
        • 4 Years Ago
        IMO, Travis having a co-driver probably hurt him more than helped (if he had the time to learn the route). Lugging another ~200lbs around while going up a mountain slows you down more than you think.
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