- O​ptima Batteries/BBI Attack Class record setting GT3R with A-26 at Lyon Air Museum Photos & Story: Royce Rumsey

This year will mark the 104th time that drivers of remarkable skill and bravery matched with machines of Earth-turning torque and handling have attacked the 156 turns of the 12.42mile ascent to the 14,115’ summit of Zebulon Pike’s hill in Colorado. This famed and venerable Pikes Peak hillclimb is otherwise known as The Race to the Clouds.

A​ltitude achievers with attitude: Optima/BBi's 900hp GT3R paired with A-26 Invader "Feeding Frenzy" on the tarmac.

A​ltitude achievers with attitude: Optima/BBi's 900hp GT3R paired with A-26 Invader "Feeding Frenzy" on the tarmac.

Optima Batteries is widely regarded as residing the summit of electrical power for vehicles, and to maintain their lofty reputation they put their resources into the most demanding of events and the best racing teams. Optima Batteries' teams regularly ascend to the podiums of famed events like King of the Hammers and the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb and pairs with prestigious, record-setting drag racing teams like Katilla Motorsports and Weistec Engineering.

T​he business end of any Porsche--in this case, a 900hp twinGarrett G-series G25-660 turboswith Turbosmart wastegates and blow off valves. A IPD plenum removes the bottleneck at the intake manifold and accommodate 82mm throttle body.

T​he business end of any Porsche--in this case, a 900hp twinGarrett G-series G25-660 turboswith Turbosmart wastegates and blow off valves. A IPD plenum removes the bottleneck at the intake manifold and accommodate 82mm throttle body.

Last year, Optima sponsored the renowned BBI Autosport firm to take on the mountain in the Time Attack 1 class with Betim Berisha rising to the challenge for the 4th time in Porsche GT3cup car. In 2018 BBi, with David Donohue (son of the famed Mark) set a record in this class with a 9:37.152 time in a 2017 GT3R. With only 22days to build the 2019 900hp GT3, Betim’s unmatched building skills and chauffeur Raphael Astier amazingly set a new record of 9:23.721 (bettering the prior record by the considerable margin of 15seconds--and setting a pace that beat all other competitors but the winning unlimited class car).

.​..go ahead, just try to avert gazing at this remarkable creation of Betim Berisha at BBi.

.​..go ahead, just try to avert gazing at this remarkable creation of Betim Berisha at BBi.

Recently, that very same remarkable BBi Porsche that ascended to the Colorado Clouds in record time joined another machine that attacks clouds--the famed Douglas A-26 Invader “Feeding Frenzy”, at Lyon Air Museum. The A-26 has one of the longest service records for attack bombers (3 decades) and it executed its military and covert intelligence missions with a 359mph speed (arguably only 33% more than that of the Optima/BBi Porsche) and at a 28,000ft altitude (twice that of the Peak’s summit).

P​rofiles in aggression...

P​rofiles in aggression...

The BBi HLLCLMBR spec engine is fed via unique, new massive air intake underneath Verus Engineering dual element wing

The BBi HLLCLMBR spec engine is fed via unique, new massive air intake underneath Verus Engineering dual element wing

As you’ll see here these ‘cloud companions’ made for a very dynamic photographic opportunity. And, after this year’s Race to the Clouds this very same Optima/BBi GT3 will return to Lyon Air Museum to join the A-26 and other Porsches in this summers Porsche exhibit at the Museum (from July 4th until Labor Day). Such a pairing is a rare and remarkable site and not to be missed.

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