Story of a small team taking on the world's best with an ultralight original-design car at Pikes Peak International Hillclimb.
The goal of this project is to create a documentary of a real underdog story. A small team with a radical ultra-lightweight car taking on one of the world's toughest races, against legendary international competitors. The race, the Pikes Peak International Hillclimb, is scheduled for June 30, 2013. In 2012 as a rookie team we designed and built a car from scratch in less than six months - and won the prestigious Unlimited class, coming in 5th overall out of over 160 competitors. This was our team's first major race entry ever. In 2013 our goal is to take everything we've learned and apply it in a quest for an outright overall win and new World Record. We believe this story will serve as a worthy subject for a documentary.
The film will cover both the human and the technical sides of the challenge. It will show design, development and testing leading up to the race and the race itself. In racing there are many opinions (including our own) about what works and what doesn't. We will share how we test to determine what is mere opinion and what is indeed fact, the obstacles we face and the solutions we come up with to overcome them.
This is a story of achievement by individuals rather than big, well funded teams. We hope that the documentary will inspire other individuals to take on quests of their own by informing them on the specifics of what we do in pursuit of ours.
The story so far.
Early in 2012 the four-person Palatov Motorsport team, joined by race driver David Donner and supported by two summer interns, took on our biggest challenge yet - the Pikes Peak International Hillclimb. It is the second-oldest race in America and one of the toughest, contested by renowned drivers and teams from all over the world. What followed was a very eventful journey overcoming countless odds and resulting in an Unlimited class win.
After implementing our own crowd funding campaign, in just six short months we designed and built the racecar from scratch, tested, developed and successfully raced it. Our grassroots-supported budget presented one of the biggest challenges. So while we were able to create a dedicated blog of the adventure, there was a lot more to share that we didn't have an opportunity to.
Our 2012 performance showed that we can compete at the top level, go head to head with established competitors, and win. But we didn't get the overall record falling just 18 seconds short. This left us with a clear goal for 2013 and the plot for a new story - take everything we've learned, obtain the necessary backing and take on the world once again with a new record as the target.
All along we have wanted to create a documentary of our Quest but budget and time constraints simply did not allow it. Last year we did get some onboard camera footage and we've used bits of it to create the video clip for this project (music by Tyler Tamburo). But it only tells a small part of the story. There is so much that happens behind the scenes before the car ever rolls up to the start line. For 2013 our goal is to document everything that goes into an international record attempt, not by a major commercially-funded team but by a small grassroots startup shooting for the stars.
About our Quest.
It all started with a belief. A conviction that in today's world of 3,000 lb economy cars and 5,000 lb family sedans there has to be a better way. We are convinced that Light is Right. How light? We felt that a 1,000 lb weight is a good target. The public's perception of such a light car is typically as something very compromised, unsafe, painfully boring and slow. How do we prove that this needn't be the case?
How about taking on one of the most difficult international races, regularly contested by major teams with some cars boasting over a thousand horsepower, in the no-holds-barred Unlimited class?! With cliffs and thousand-foot drops surrounding the course the car would have to be not only fast but very safe, conforming to stringent rules and making a lightweight machine even more unlikely.
We were told we're crazy and we'd be lucky just to finish. This all proved to be very true! And yet we not only persevered and overcame, but want to do it again. In 2012 we did the best we could in the race and told the story the best we could. Now we want to do it all better. With everything we've learned from last year we know exactly what needs to be done and what it'll take.
This is therefore the purpose of the documentary - to share our story taking a crazy idea and turning it into a real-life success. To provide insight into what the challenges are and how we overcome them. And perhaps to inspire others to follow their own dreams.
Last year we started with only an idea. We had to design, build and test the car. It was a radical lightweight design with countless unknowns. We were fortunate to secure enough crowd-funded backing and support from a handful of sponsors to get the job done. We talked to a number of videographers and quickly realized that given the amount of time and travel required for a proper documentary it would have to wait for another year.
This year, the car is already built. To be sure there is a lot of development, refinement and testing that has to be done. After all, it is a World Record we're going after! This is good because it will provide plenty of material for the documentary. But the unknowns are far fewer. This is also good because it will allow us to take the time and the effort to properly document our progress and share it with the world.
We have worked with the folks at eGarage when they created a quick video highlighting one of our 2012 sessions. I admire their sense of style, aesthetics, presentation and their approach to telling a story in a way that appeals to the dedicated enthusiast while still being accessible to a broad audience. It was a natural progression to approach them for help with the 2013 documentary and they will be bringing their skills and experience to the effort.
The filming will take numerous sessions for which we have to rent a racetrack. We will have to make at least two trips to Colorado, with the entire crew and the car - one for early testing late May and one for the race itself. Each trip is about a week long. To get good footage we have to have several cameras running simultaneously. All this requires travel by several skilled people dedicating entire days to the effort. Therefore the film crew expenses are a major portion of overall budget.
Additional expenses involve video equipment, miscellaneous travel expenses, racetrack rental, consumables (fuel, tires, spares, test and prototype parts), as well as some miscellaneous personnel and expert consultant fees. Based on our previous experience the test sessions and the trips with film crew in attendance will typically cost several thousand per day. We anticipate between 20 and 30 days total of venue based filming with additional days in the workshop and miscellaneous interviews.
Based on the above we feel that at least $75,000 will be necessary to create a documentary record of our Quest as we make it happen. However there are many things we would like to do which would require additional funds.
It is very difficult to get good external footage of the car at race speed. Onboard cameras only get one perspective. Stationary locations only see the car fly by for a split second. Filming from an ordinary car requires driving slowly at its pace and then artificially speeding up the result which looks fake - and is. What we really need is one or two camera cars that are fast enough, with good enough drivers, to stay close to the subject at actual speed.
We happen to have the cars (we build them!) and we know the drivers. However the realities of transporting and running additional cars, outfitting them with video equipment, getting the right driver and so on are expensive. It would require a stretch goal of $100K to be able to set up, capture and edit high speed external footage to include in the documentary. We feel it would greatly enhance our ability to communicate to the viewer what driving a car like this is really like. As an example, here's a test clip that we did with two of our cars, at practice pace, with hastily set up cameras. We can (and would have to!) greatly improve on the quality of both the videography and the driving of course, that's where the additional resources come in. This type of filming wouldn't be possible in the actual race but we think that the footage we can get in testing would be quite exciting.
If the stretch goal is reached and we are able to do proper car-to car footage there will be special clips available on our backer-accessible blog that won't be a part of the finished documentary but are for our supporters only. The backer-exclusive DVD set will include a second disc with additional footage, CAD models and behind-the-scenes clips.
Last year we were able to experiment with some aerial videography when a friend brought out a remote-controlled camera ship to one of our test sessions. While that particular experiment didn't produce any usable footage, one thing we learned is that it's a very specialized skill, requiring an experienced operator, some fairly sophisticated equipment and a lot of practice. When it turns out well, the footage is a very unique and interesting view of what is happening on the track. Getting it to turn out well is going to take a fair bit of effort but we believe if we reach a stretch goal of $125K we will be able to do it justice. This will also provide some great additional footage and information for the backer-exclusive second disc.
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
The Quest for the Peak is a story of risk. It is a year-long journey leading to a 10-minute sprint up the Mountain, starting at 9,300 feet and finishing a mile higher at 14,110 feet after more than a hundred dangerous turns. Anything can happen on race day.
Telling the story is a much more certain endeavour. We have the plot and our test and development plan is the script, which is already in place. We know the footage we want based on what has (and hasn't) worked in the past. For example getting good sound is a much bigger challenge than it would appear at first glance. The video clip we put together for this project illustrates the limitations of current onboard camera capabilities (browsing other videos of this type we know we're not alone in this!). One key challenge will be for us to improve on it. There are many other purely technical challenges as well - from camera configuration and placement to crew communication to logistics. From our previous efforts we know what they are and how to go about solving them.
As far as the Quest itself, which is the subject of the story, we now know specifically what needs to be done with the car to pursue the record. Improve power with the addition of a turbo (already onhand), reduce weight and improve aerodynamics. The exact list is long and technical but we have it. We'll also have to do a lot of testing to determine which specific changes work and which don't. All of this will provide plenty of documentary material as each obstacle is identified and overcome.
Finally, there's the issue of our own experience as filmmakers. One may rightly say that making a documentary is not the same as designing, building and racing a car and that we don't have much experience in film. True. But prior to 2012 we had never participated in a race, let alone a major international one, and yet we walked away with a class win. In the process we have made many contacts with talented people who do have a lot of experience in film, whose help we frankly could not afford at the time. Also our priorities were on just getting the car done. For this project eGarage will bring their skills, experience and equipment to help us create a documentary worth watching. We have also identified additional resources we can call on when needed.
In 2012 we started with nothing but an idea - and won. In 2013 we are starting out with last year's car as a foundation and the huge amount of knowledge we have gathered. So while the car itself is by no means a trivial task (it would be a boring documentary if that were the case!), we feel that given the right financial resources we would be able to do justice to both the race effort and the documentary telling its story.
We know the challenges, we understand the equipment and we don't underestimate the artistic and technical skill required, nor the sheer amount of work the task entails.
Anything can happen on race day. We can make no promises of success in capturing the new record, but we are confident that with the right resources we can tell the story of the continued Quest - whatever the trials, tribulations and outcome.
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
pledged of $75,000 goal
seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful This project reached the deadline without achieving its funding goal on November 24.
Oct 25, 2012 - Nov 24, 2012 (30 days)
Pledge $15 or more
Get access to our 2013 Quest Sponsor Blog (not available to general public until after the race). Visit our 2012 Quest Blog (linked in the project description) as an example of what's to come. As part of blog access you will be able to watch exclusive video segments as filming and testing progresses. You will also get preview access to the online highlight version of the documentary before it's officially released.Estimated delivery: Jun 2013
Pledge $35 or more
Blog access and a digital download of the documentary after it's completed.Estimated delivery: Aug 2013
Pledge $50 or more
In addition to blog access and digital download of the documentary, receive a 2013 Quest For The Peak sponsor T-shirt.Estimated delivery: Aug 2013Add $15 to ship outside the US
Pledge $65 or more
Blog access, T-shirt and a specially packaged DVD of the documentary (for backers and team sponsors only).Estimated delivery: Sep 2013Add $15 to ship outside the US
Pledge $150 or more
Blog access, T-shirt, DVD and a high quality team jacket.Estimated delivery: Sep 2013Add $25 to ship outside the US
Pledge $250 or more
A contribution of $250 or more will earn you a listing of your name on the website and in the documentary credits, as well as a limited edition poster autographed by the team. Blog access, T-shirt, team jacket and DVD of the documentary are included.Estimated delivery: Sep 2013Add $35 to ship outside the US
Pledge $1,000 or more
Witness the filming first-hand! You will be invited to attend our private test sessions at Oregon Raceway Park. There in addition to being able to witness the filming and the testing you will be given short demo track rides in a Palatov D2 two-seat track car by our test drivers, following the race car around the track at speed. There will be at least 8 sessions to choose from (you can attend more than one) with approximately 2-week notice to allow flexibility in scheduling. Backers are responsible for their own transportation and lodging. Of course everything in lower-priced rewards is included at this level also.Estimated delivery: Sep 2013
Pledge $1,500 or more
0 backers Limited (10 of 10 left)
Commercial logo placement - put your business logo on the car! Maximum total logo size at this level is 200 square inches which can be split between multiple locations. The logo will also be included on the sponsor credits screen in the documentary and on the website. Logo placement location on the car will be at the sole discretion of Palatov Motorsport. NOTE: in the event we are unable to place a particular logo on the car due to a conflict or any other reason, the full contribution will be promptly refunded.Estimated delivery: Jun 2013
Pledge $5,000 or more
Experience the driving and get your name on the car! Test-drive a 430hp, 1,600 lb two-seat Palatov D2 track car during our private test sessions with coaching from our team. Your contribution will also be noted by putting your name on the race car and in the documentary credits. VIP access to the race in Colorado will be provided. This reward level also includes invitation to a private premiere screening of the documentary in Portland. Backers are responsible for their own transportation and lodging.Estimated delivery: Sep 2013
Pledge $5,000 or more
0 backers Limited (5 of 5 left)
Prominent commercial logo placement - put your business logo on the car in high visibility location! Maximum total logo size at this level is 500 square inches which can be split between multiple locations. Backer will have input on the specific location of logo(s). The logo will also be included on the sponsor credits screen in the documentary and on the website, and will be visible in some shots in the film itself. NOTE: in the event we are unable to place a particular logo on the car due to a conflict or any other reason, the full contribution will be promptly refunded.Estimated delivery: Jun 2013
Pledge $10,000 or more
0 backers Limited (4 of 4 left)
A private test day with the team! A $10,000 contribution will qualify you for Team Associate status. In addition to regular test session attendance opportunities, you and a guest will spend a full day with the Palatov Motorsport team. Starting with a tour of our facility in Portland the day will continue at Oregon Raceway Park. After track familiarization, you will experience several sessions driving both a two-seat 430hp Palatov D2 and a single-seat ultralight 180hp Palatov D4 car on the track. One-on-one coaching from our test drivers will be provided. This will be an exclusive test day with the entire racetrack at your disposal for the duration. Our racecar is directly based on the D4 design and you will be able to experience the excitement first-hand. After the full day at the track you will walk away with a keen appreciation of what it takes to drive one of these cars at speed. Catered lunch as well as dinner upon return to Portland will be provided and coverage of the event will be included in the documentary. Scheduling is at backer's convenience with specific dates subject to track availability. VIP race access as well as placement of name on car and in documentary credits is included. Team Associate backers will have input on the scheduling of the private premiere screening of the documentary to make it more convenient to attend. Backers are responsible for their own transportation and lodging.Estimated delivery: Sep 2013