LAS VEGAS - July 15, 2022 – Motorsports Hall of Famer Robert Prilika drove a 2022 Shelby GT500SE into history when it became the fastest true street legal production car in the 100th running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on June 26, 2022. Competing under the Robert Prilika Motorsports banner, the Shelby GT500SE and Team Shelby club were at the Colorado event to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of Shelby American, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Carroll Shelby International Inc. (CSBI:PK).
“Over the past 60 years, Shelby American vehicles have thrived in some of the toughest competitions in the world,” said Gary Patterson, president of Shelby American. “Everyone in the Shelby community is proud that Robert Prilika and RPM Motorsports were so successful with a stock Shelby GT500SE at Pikes Peak. It was the first time one of our street legal cars rolled straight out of the Las Vegas factory and into the world-famous American hill climb. We salute the RPM team for this historic achievement.”
The car was provided and sponsored by Pierre Ford, one of the top selling Shelby dealers in the world for the past five years. It was sponsored by Tuscany West, which distributes Shelby muscle trucks and cars across the western United States.
They placed Robert Prilika, one of the most accomplished racers to race up the mountain, into the new Shelby GT500SE for “The Race to the Clouds.” Prilika has competed in road racing, circle track, hill climbs and endurance events across the United States. His many achievements put him into the 2019 class of the Colorado Motorsport Hall of Fame. This was his first time competing in a Shelby vehicle.
Under the watchful eye of the driver and Team Manager, Danyella Prilika and Crew Chief Loren Southard, RPM added only the required safety equipment. Otherwise, the car was not altered. The new car's break-in period was completed literally as it rolled into practice.
“The Shelby Signature Edition package for the current generation Shelby GT500 was designed to give the world-class Ford supercar even more capabilities,” said Vince LaViolette, Shelby American Vice President of Operations, Chief Test Driver and Chief Designer. “Featuring additional power, enhanced cooling, weight reduction and sharper handling, it was designed for both spirited street driving and ripping up the competition on a racecourse. The Pikes Peak Hill Climb was a great test for the powerful Shelby American car when in the hands of such a skilled, proven driver and his team.”
The 100th running of the PPIHC featured a 12.42-mile course with 156 turns and an elevation gain of 4,725 feet, rising to the finish line at 14,115 feet above sea level. A cold front dropped through the Pikes Peak Region the night before the race. Rain began during the evening hours, with heavy downpours and thunderstorms overnight and into Sunday. Temperatures dropped into the low 40's and fog engulfed the mountain most of the day.
“The morning conditions were some of the most challenging that I've ever faced in my many years driving up the hill,” said Robert Prilika. “But the slick road and poor visibility did not deter us. My team ensured an outstanding result by preparing the car to overcome such unpredictable weather. And the Shelby GT500SE was incredible to drive. It was so powerful and poised that I confidently motored up the mountain at a very fast pace. It was mind-blowing to realize that I could've easily, and legally, driven home directly from the competition in it after having set the best time for a true stock production car on the mountain. That is simply amazing.”
As Prilika roared up the mountain in the Pierre Ford/Tuscany West Coast supercar, an intrepid group of Team Shelby members cheered him on despite the bitter conditions. They were part of the Team Shelby Pikes Peak Adventure, which integrated enthusiasts into the century-old test of speed.
“We put enthusiasts into the middle of all the action,” said Tracey Smith, International Director of Team Shelby and Executive Vice President of Carroll Shelby International. “We kicked off the weekend by following Robert in the Shelby GT500SE up the mountain along the course so everyone could understand what he faced on race day. Then we had a private party with the race team during Fan Fest in downtown Colorado Springs. On race day, we hung out with the crew in their pits and watched the competition from the VIP section. We made memories and friends that will last a lifetime, while also witnessing history.”
Team Shelby was joined by Jason Anucinski, General Sales Manager of Pierre Ford, and Eric Brown, Tuscany West Coast Representative, on the mountain. The experience so inspired them that the group is already planning a possible return for 2023.
“This was an awesome test of driver and machine against nature as much as it was against other competitors,” said Eric Brown. “We've already begun planning a Pikes Peak run for next year. Many would like to see a factory Shelby Super Snake F-150 with a supercharged V8 and all-wheel drive conquer the mountain. Others have suggested competing in a sleek 5.0-liter Shelby Super Snake. We look forward to continuing this journey.”
Carroll Shelby Signature Edition post-title packages are available through Shelby American and select Shelby mod shops internationally. Individuals interested in Shelby vehicles can visit www.Shelby.com. The sale of each Signature Edition car benefits the Carroll Shelby Foundation, which was established by Carroll Shelby. The Foundation provides medical assistance for those in need including children, educational opportunities for young people through automotive and other training programs and benefits the Shelby Automotive Museum.
About Shelby American, Inc.
Founded by legend Carroll Shelby, Shelby American, a wholly owned subsidiary of Carroll Shelby International Inc., manufactures and markets performance vehicles and related products. The company builds authentic continuation Cobras, including the 427 S/C, 289 FIA, 289 streetcar, Daytona Coupe and Shelby Series 2 component vehicles; it offers the Shelby Super Snake, KR, SE and GT post-title packages for the 2015-2022 Ford Mustang. Shelby American also offers the Shelby Raptor, Shelby F-150 Super Snake and Shelby F-150 trucks, as well as the Shelby F-250 Super Baja. Heritage cars include the continuation 1965 Shelby GT350 competition model, 1967 Ford Shelby Super Snake and 1968 Ford Shelby GT500KR. For more information, visit www.shelby.com.
About Robert Prilika Motorsports
RPM was founded by Robert Prilika, who has over 30 years of experience racing. He competed successfully in NASCAR, IMSA, Grand AM Rolex, USSS, Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC), SCCA World Challenge and Club Racing, IRL, AMA Motocross, NASA and Porsche Club. Robert has achieved over 200 combined road racing wins at famous tracks like Daytona, Watkins Glen, VIR and PPIR in cars including Porsche GT3, LOLA, Nissan SRPII Prototype, Picchio BMW Prototype, NASCAR Late Model Impala SS, Dallara Oldsmobile Indy Car, LOLA Buick Indy Car, GForce Infiniti, Oldsmobile Indy Car and Porsche Turbo. He has achieved over 30 top ten circle track finishes in series including NASCAR, USSS and Grand AM. He also holds various track records and was inducted into the Colorado Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2019. Additional information is available at https://robertprilikamortorsports.com
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