The coming Ford F-150 Lightning performance demonstrator won’t be the only battery-powered show of Ford muscle this year. The Supervan 4 is headed to this year’s running of the 101st Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, making this quite the year for moving heavy weight up the mountain. The Supervan 4 joins a privateer Rivian R1T among the cadre of large electric contrivances racing to the clouds, and a potential BMW factory-backed run could put an XM Red Label on the start line.
Ford’s taking three big advantages to the race which might put the Supervan in a surprising spot at the finish. First, the thing has 1,973 horsepower thanks to four electric motors. Second, electric power means that horse count will make it all the way up the mountain, which is not the case for ICE vehicles succumbing to variously severe cases of asthma on their way up to 14,115 feet. Third, Romain Dumas will be the wheelman. In eight trips to the PPIHC since 2012, Dumas has won four times. A Honda combustion-powered Norma M20 earned three victories, and the most recent triumph and the overall record that still stands came in the battery-electric Volkswagen ID.R.
There’s been a Ford at the start line of every Pikes Peak since the race started in 1916, but the manufacturer is underrepresented on the historic leaderboard. Cody Vasholtz won in 2020 in a home-built car called the 2013 Ford Open powered by an 850-horsepower, 402-cubic-inch, carbureted big-block V8 running on methanol. Before that, one must make the jump to 1971 when Ak Miller won in a 1970 Ford Mustang running a custom 351 Cleveland motor. We don’t expect the Supervan to change Ford’s fortunes at the top, but the hauler should provide a wild ride up the mountain. And if it gets a time attack aero package as wild as its EV specs, all the better.