This year’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb will feature a Rivian R1T for the first time ever. Gardner Nichols will pilot the all-electric pickup truck in the exhibition class of the race. Despite its heft and non-racing-focused design, the R1T does have at least one thing going for it at elevation.
2023 marks the 101st Pikes Peak hill climb. The 12.42-mile (19.98 km) 156-turn course climbs to just over 14,000 feet (4,267 m) above sea level. This year, like many others, it’s sponsored by the Broadmoor Hotel and Gran Turismo. First noticed by the Rivian Owners Forum, among the selection of electric vehicles that’ll climb the mountain is a Rivian R1T.
It’s the perfect place to show off an 830 hp pickup and we suspect that’s why Rivian’s Senior Performance Test Engineer, Nichols, is driving it. He’s been around all sorts of racing in the past and that includes Pikes Peak. In fact, his Instagram bio says that he lives in Aspen, Colorado, not too far from the Race to the Clouds.
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He’ll be one of a number of EV drivers on June 25th. Notably, Randy Pobst will try his hand at the climb in a 2021 Tesla Model S Plaid. He had a pretty gnarly crash in a Tesla headed up the mountain back in 2020. Takashi Oi will pilot a 2021 Nissan Leaf as well. All three cars have a small advantage over internal combustion cars here.
While internal combustion cars can be starved for oxygen as they climb, EVs don’t suffer the same concern. That means that the Rivian R1T should have no problem putting down just as much power on the final few turns at Pikes Peak as it did during the first few. We can’t wait to see where it ends up when the dust settles on June 25th.