Ascends from lower reaches of Eagle Mine to top of Pikes Peak Metal Tech News - January 12, 2022
From the 1,774 feet below sea level depths of a Michigan mine to the 14,115-foot-high summit of Pikes Peak in Colorado, television producer J.F. Musial and his team broke a Guinness World Record by driving a Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo for the greatest altitude change ever achieved by an electric vehicle – 15,889 feet, or just over three miles.
And, as a crew that usually spends their time making car films, Musial and his creative team videoed the epic trek.
"It started as a 'what if?' – a passion project, mixing our love for cars and travel and taking it to extremes," Musial said. "We wanted to drive from the lowest point in America to one of the highest, Pikes Peak – where we've spent countless hours filming the famous hill climb. The project relied on a lot of goodwill, and a car that's pretty much unique in its mix of abilities."
While a quick Googling would tell you that the lowest point in America is Badwater Basin in Death Valley, at 282 feet below sea level, the team was determined to go deeper. To do so, they recruited the staff and operators at Lunding Mining Corp.'s Eagle Mine – a high-grade underground nickel and copper mine in Michigan, and the only mine in America where a car can be driven to sufficient depths.
However, driving an electric Porsche down a mine ramp usually used by specialized mining vehicles to depths of nearly 2,000 feet below the surface normally would prove a concern.
Regardless, due to the Taycan Cross Turismo being a pure battery-electric vehicle capable of going off-road with its raised ride height and all-wheel drive, it was able to meet Eagle Mine's criteria for being allowed to drive through the threshold and into the tunnel itself.
This makes it one of the very few cars in the world with the right blend of capabilities to attempt such a trip – even without any modification and using completely standard road tires.
And so, after rigorous safety training, the team was granted access to the lowest part of the excavation – 1,774 feet below sea level.
"It was fitting to have the Porsche Taycan drive to the bottom of our nickel and copper mine, as both elements are essential to electric vehicles," said Darby Stacey, managing director for Eagle Mine. "After numerous risk assessments, safety discussions, and detailed planning, our mine team was up to the challenge. We are proud to have worked with Porsche to safely execute and complete a new world record."
With their precise depth measured and verified by specialist surveyors, the team emerged from the mine just after dawn and began their unyielding 1,413-mile journey across six states to gain altitude and finish at Pikes Peak. This could not have been more fitting as this year marks the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb's 100th run, adding to the storied history of one of the world's most enduring races.
Even so, they conducted the whole attempt by the book, with separate, sealed GPS devices monitoring their route and altitude throughout, along with an analog altimeter and witness logs to satisfy the strict Guinness World Records requirements.
The oxygen available to the team at the start of the journey fell by 40% by the time they reached the top of the mountain, and along the way, they encountered sun, rain, snow, and ice, fatigue and the ever-present threat that the mountain road – and the path to their record – could close due to the weather conditions.
In total, three groups of drivers worked in tandem to handle the driving duties for the trip from Michigan to Colorado, a journey that lasted for 33 hours and 48 minutes.
To add complement to Mission Success, it was Dai Yoshihara – class winner for the 2020 Pikes Peak race – behind the wheel for the final, world-breaking stage of the drive.
"You can plan for months, develop a highly detailed schedule, but at the end of the day it always comes down to execution and weather," said Musial, who started the race in the cockpit and stayed in the car as a passenger throughout the entire trip. "I couldn't have been prouder of our team's efforts. The weather – that was a different story. I've always been told that the mountain decides if it'll allow you to get to the summit. Despite the incoming snowstorm, we got lucky and found a small 45-minute window to get to the top – the mountain let us get this record."
"It was among the hardest things I've ever done, but I guess that's why it's a record!" added Musial. "Thank you to the teams at Eagle Mine and Pikes Peak, and at Guinness World Records, for supporting what started out as a daydream and ended up being something none of us will ever forget. Now, I need to sleep for a week..."
You can watch the video of the world record-breaking achievement at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTWxzf82iVc.