French start-up to race striking hybrid at Pikes Peak


French start-up Quarkus, established in November 2020, has announced it will enter a modified version of its P3 sports car in this year’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.

The P3 is a mid-engined two-seater claimed by its maker to have been developed entirely in-house.

It’s underpinned by a carbonfibre chassis and is powered by a mild-hybrid four-cylinder engine of indeterminate capacity, said to produce 296bhp.

The entire package weighs 600kg, giving the car a power-to-weight ratio of 493bhp per tonne – higher than the Porsche 911 GT3 RS (357bhp per tonne) but below the plug-in hybrid Ferrari 296 GTB (557bhp per tonne).

A multi-year testing programme began last month at Circuit des Ecuyers, located between Paris and Reims in France, and it has since completed another session at Pôle Mécanique Alès Cévennes near Montpellier.

Its first real trial, however, will come in Colorado, the US, in June. It will be piloted by test driver Bruce Jouanny, who has previously raced at Le Mans and in various touring car series.

Quarkus Pikes Peak rear quarter

“We often hear about real-world testing, and you couldn’t dream of a better place to do that than Pikes Peak,” said Jouanny. “It’s a road course but with very specific constraints: the altitude, the bumps, the hairpin corners, along with fast sections, not to mention the drop-offs.”

Quarkus’s goal doesn’t appear to be overall victory but instead to accelerate the development of the P3, which is scheduled to enter production in 2026.

Founder Damien Alfano said in a statement: “To take on Pikes Peak while the first development prototype has just been presented is clearly not a reasonable idea. No constructor does that.”

He said it’s instead an incredible opportunity to boost the development of the Quarkus”, with “three months to complete what normally would take nine”.

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