In anticipation of the 102nd Running of The Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, brought to you by Gran Turismo, and in celebration of International Women’s Day, meet the five women challenging Pikes Peak in June. Three experienced PPIHC drivers will be joined by two first-timers on America’s Mountain this summer.

Melissa Eickhoff, PPIHC Executive Director, appreciates all roles women play in the motorsports arena, including the PPIHC administrative offices. “Our staff of five is comprised of three women, Alex Urban, our event manager and competitor liaison, Lisa Haight, our communication manager and historian, and myself. Beyond that, we are pleased to have Marla Wiseman, our event registrar in that role as she brings more than 30 years of experience. We are also fortunate to have many competent and knowledgeable women on the mountain during race activities, like Alyssa Bush in race control. We truly celebrate every role women play, from our safety workers and race officials, to our Board members and volunteers.”

Meet the Veterans

Kathryn Mead

Kathryn Mead of Santa Fe, NM, has raced on America’s Mountain for the past four years, and is slated to make her fifth appearance in June. Mead initially entered the Porsche Pikes Peak Trophy by Yokohama division in 2020 in her 2019 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport wrapped with a bold livery she designed. She finished third in the one-make division and was awarded 2020 Rookie of the Year honors. In 2020, she was the sole woman entered in the race. She returned to the same division in 2021 and again, claimed third place.

Mead moved to the Time Attack 1 division in 2022 and 2023 and set a personal best time in 2023 of 10:53.074. She is currently the fastest woman on four wheels to ever race on Pikes Peak, edging out the 2018 time set by Belgium’s Vanina Ickx of 10:54.901.

In 2024, Mead returns to the Time Attack 1 division in her eye-catching #50 Porsche Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport.

Laura Hayes

Laura Hayes of Greenville, SC returns for her third year of competition on Pikes Peak. She first experienced the 156 turns in 2020 when she was asked by BMW to drive their M8 Competition Coupe, leading the post-race Parade of Champions from the summit back to the Start Line. She returned to race a BMW M2CSR in the Time Attack 1 division in 2021 and 2022. In both events, all competitors’ efforts were hampered by adverse weather, leaving many, including Hayes, with unfinished business on the mountain. Hayes has entered a 2022 Toyota Supra GT4 (pictured below) in the inaugural Pikes Peak GT4 Trophy by Yokohama division and looks forward to clear skies and a strong performance. Hayes offered words of encouragement to other women interested in building a career in motorsports, “My life has changed since racing Pikes Peak and it’s all because I took a chance on myself. Do it. You won’t regret it.”

Loni Unser

Sun Valley, Idaho’s Loni Unser, of the famed Unser racing family, first raced on Pikes Peak in 2022 in the Porsche Pikes Peak Trophy by Yokohama division finishing in second place. She returned in 2023 driving for Acura in their 2023 Integra. The unique livery, a nod to their “Chiaki’s Journey” anime film series caught the attention of fans around the world. Unser recorded her personal best time of 11:34.709 in the Acura model in the Exhibition division.

She is scheduled to race the BBI-built and prepped 2015 Porsche GT3 Turbo Cup (pictured below at the 2024 Amelia Concours) in the Pikes Peak Open division in 2024. Unser shared advice for women interested in pursing a career in motorsports, “Work hard, and don’t be afraid of being uncomfortable. Nothing good comes from staying in your comfort zone.”

Welcome the Rookies

Mary Barker

Mary Barker of Hendersonville, NC will take her first run up the mountain in 2024 in her 2000 Subaru Impreza GC8 in the Unlimited division. Barker has battled cancer for the past year and looks forward to getting back to Colorado and taking on the 14,115′ summit.

In 2023, Barker experienced the race as a crew member for her fiancé, Kendall Samuel, and will compete in the car he drove (pictured below). Samuel is also returning to Pikes Peak this year in his like-model Subaru GC8.

Ryan Cheek

Ryan Cheek also hails from North Carolina and has entered a 2021 American X Kart in the Open Wheel division. She has competed in NASA, SCCA and hill climb events. The X Kart was last raced on Pikes Peak by Johan Schwartz in 2021 in the Exhibition division (pictured below).

Cheek and her team raise awareness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease, by Racing for ALS in honor of her father. Look for her to make her mark on Pikes Peak – America’s Mountain in June.

102nd Running of the Race to the Clouds

Sunday, June 23, 2024

Tickets On Sale Now!