If you’re looking for a sport that combines some of the best aspects of autocross, rally and road racing, hillclimbing may be for you. Besides the obvious rush, it’s a great test of driving ability and car preparation. The scenery is usually breathtaking, and the people at the events are extremely friendly and supportive, especially to beginners.
Depending on your experience, certain hills favor particular styles of driving. Autocrossers can have a distinct advantage on hills that offer many second gear twists and turns, while road racers tend to dominate on the high-speed hills where precision braking and heel/toe downshifting is required. So no matter what your background, there is a hill for you.
Hillclimbs are among the oldest motorsports events in the world, dating back to early manufacturers wanting to test their cars over the most demanding terrain possible. Races such as Pikes Peak, CO and “The Climb to the Clouds” at Mt. Washington, NH are known around the world. Pennsylvania has its own longstanding, world renowned hillclimb traditions as well.
Since the invention of the automobile, dozens of sites in Pennsylvania have seen organized races. The current Pennsylvania Hillclimb Association schedule has 7 hillclimb events on 5 roads plus 2 events on a permanent track. The hillclimbs are run on a paved mountain road over short distances – usually between 1 and 2 miles. In the true spirit of racing, the fastest time (in your car class) wins. There are safety equipment requirements for both car and driver.
The PHA hillclimbs are sanctioned through the SCCA (Sports Car Club of America) and all drivers require an SCCA membership.
Play this Video to see what it feels like!