This, ladies and gentleman, is how it’s done. Maintaining constant vigilance over that unruly rear end of his Porsche GT2, this young hotshoe is showing some of the older and supposedly-wiser hillclimbers how to drive not just over the course of a race, but over a season.
Photo courtesy: CFM Challenge.
Pierre Courroye might just be twenty two years old, but he’s been hillclimb racing for a good five years, and he keeps in shape skiing and racing BMX bicycles as well. Perhaps that fitness gives him a superhuman sense of tranquility, because when he’s administering 600-odd horsepower to the tarmac, he doesn’t seem too flustered.
His butter-smooth driving might not always look the fastest, but like the great Alain Prost, this youthful Frenchman’s textbook style is very effective, especially with the brutal power delivery of the GT2’s engine. When the turbochargers kick in, the Courroye is almost along for the ride; the power is so immense. Therefore, it pays dividends to be in the right gear, at the right time, and pointed in the right direction.
He does this with setup and with his right foot. His machine is designed to accelerate as quickly as possible, and does so at the expense of front traction at times. While the front end is remarkably responsive, it occasionally washes out at speed. This is a fairly safe setup to use, though it takes a disciplined driver to get anything out of it.
Because the car is less willing to rotate at the rear than some, he begins to roll on the throttle slowly, and never takes his foot off the entire time. His lines are smooth and his brake release is synchronized perfectly with the steering to get the car to turn in with little understeer, then he plans his exit carefully. This measured approach is usually seen in older drivers; young drivers tend to stab impetuously at the throttle. His style is that of a driver more experienced, and he makes the most of his engine and his suspension setup. It’s an approach that’s earned him third in the French Champion of the Mountain three years in a row.