Pikes Peak's 101st running was one of its best. With beautiful weather that held from morning 'til dusk, it was record-setting weather where Robin Shute defended his title as King of the Mountain, Gardner Nichols set the production truck record in his Rivian R1T, and Mad Mike put down a new rotary record in his four-rotor twin-turbo Mazda 3. One team did fall short, though, and it was Matt Mullins in the BMW XM Label Red with his eye on the production SUV record.
Mullins was thankfully uninjured, but his BMW XM was less fortunate in its battle against the mountain. BMW had a relatively big factory presence at Pikes Peak this year with two record attempts: the production car record with a BMW M8 Competition driven by Rhys Millen, and the BMW XM driven by Mullins, who is the Chief Driving Instructor a the BMW Performance Driving School. Millen made it to the top with a 10:12.02, technically claiming the production car record on race day instead of the Porsche 911 Turbo S’ record of 9:53.50 which was set on a different day due to weather.
While I was on the ground for race day, I missed Mullins’ crash in the XM by a few hundred feet. He crashed early into the run, dropping a wheel into the dirt on the high-speed bottom section, losing control of the XM and rolling it, damaging the front passenger corner and parts of the roof. It was close enough to the start line that Mullins walked back, thankfully uninjured. It wasn't the only crash at Pikes Peak this year, with the legendary Old Smokey F1 fielded by Scott Birdsall also being destroyed higher up the mountain around Evo Corner. Birdsall walked away miraculously uninjured.
Pikes Peak clamps down on footage of crashes and leaves the release of the footage at the discretion of the teams. Based on how quickly BMW packed up their trailers and tents at base camp after Mullins walked back to the start line, we will probably never see that footage. Within minutes, there were no more BMW M logos in the pits, which was peculiar to see.
That’s to say the old adage is true: the mountain bites back. Mullins was hustling the XM all weekend and it was unofficially the second heaviest car on the mountain at the north end of 5,000 pounds. For now, the record that the Lamborghini Urus Performante set last year stands. Most importantly, Mullins escaped unscathed.
Got a tip? Email email@example.com