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Unplugged Performance Takes Second Place at Pikes Peak After 48H Car Rebuild

The story of Unplugged Performance's presence at this year's Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is one that will probably be referenced for years to come. It's a tale of never giving up and doing everything it takes to complete the mission.
Unplugged Performance Tesla Model 3 Performance Pikes Peak finish 1 photo
You don't need to like Tesla - or even electric cars in general - to be impressed with the team's achievement. A few days ago, everything seemed lost. Team driver Randy Pobst caught a big undulation in the road surface just as he was guiding the Model 3 into a right-hand turn during the second stage of qualification, lost control of the EV, and came crashing into a sidewall at little under 60 miles per hour.

Given all vehicles at PPIHC are required to have roll cages - and the very good safety record of the Tesla Model 3 to begin with - Randy came out unscathed, but the car itself was totaled. Videos of the aftermath showed extensive damage to the car's suspension system, and Unplugged Performance (UP) CEO Ben Schaffer revealed the frame itself was bent.

Spurred by the first qualifying session that finished with a dominant Randy Pobst in first place, the team decided to do everything it took to have the vehicle ready by Sunday in time for the actual race. That meant sacrificing another Tesla Model 3 Performance for parts and working round the clock to give their driver something to take up the mountain.

This whole situation is a bit unfair toward Blake Fuller, the man who eventually finished first in the exhibition class, just in front of UP's Randy Pobst, while also driving a Tesla Model 3 Performance. If feels as though everything that's happened around the Unplugged Performance team made them steal the headlines, despite the fact Fuller's story is quite remarkable on its own.

The winner revealed that his entire effort was backed 100 percent by the Tesla community. The vehicle itself was donated by a private owner and the rest of the very tight budget was covered through roughly 150 donations from both individuals and private businesses. Fuller managed to complete the race with a time of 11:02.802, only approximately 1.3 seconds quicker than UP's Randy Pobst.

In the end, the Unplugged Performance was way off its self-imposed mark of finishing the climb in under ten minutes. However, we're pretty sure that everyone involved is feeling quite good about themselves, and they have every reason to. It's definitely an experience nobody will forget, and one that's much more unlikely to be beaten next year than a sub-ten-minute climb.

 
 
 
 
 

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