A helicopter tracking a driverless Audi TT on a Pikes Peak run crashed this morning, critically injuring the pilot and causing non life-threatening injuries to three other airborne passengers. The Audi escaped unscathed.
The crash happened close to the top of the 14,110 foot peak south of Denver Colorado and indefinitely shut down a tourist rail link to the summit.
Presumably the accident was caused by either equipment failure or pilot error based on my experience after decades of reading aviation accident reports. However, that won’t be known until the National Transportation Safety Board releases a preliminary or final accident report, which given the work practices of U.S. Government agencies will be months or much longer in the making.
It was at earlier Pikes Peak Hill Climbs, of course, that Audi demonstrated its four-wheel-drive prowess a generation ago. Audi rally cars, starting with the S1 quattro (sic), used the all-wheel-drive technology to win the 12.42-mile “Race to the Clouds.” The drivers of those quattro rally cars – Bobby Unser, Walter Roehrl and Michele Mouton – earned places in motorsports history at Pikes Peak.