David Hackl's 1983 Audi A2 Tribute

Story: David Hackl (Contributed) Intro: Brendan Garst Photography: Larry Chen, David Hackl (Contributed)

I first met David Hackl in the late Summer of 2013, as a grown man in lederhosen serving me a warm pretzel at his Oktoberfest party. I loosely knew Hackl through a friend who had sold him some parts and brought me as a plus 1 to this party, and from seeing his car campaign during the early portion of his 9-year career with the Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, brought to you by Gran Turismo (PPIHC). Despite the traditional get up and his snack delivery aptitude, Hackl has always impressed me with his drive and commitment to campaigning his #2 Audi A2 Quattro tribute every year in pursuit of beating Walter Rohrl’s 10 minute 47 second time, coordinating a huge team effort with many moving pieces to participate in the race each year. 

For our first issue, David contributed a bit about where his car came from, and what it?s like to participate in this event each year, bringing turbocharged 5 cylinder heritage back to the spot that made it famous! From David… Audi Quattro #00136 started life in Ingolstadt, Germany back in 1983 as a USA destined Gobi Beige Metallic car, one of the original turbocharged four-wheel drive cars that made the formula legendary. In 1983, North American import numbers of Audi’s ubiquitous Quattro (or “UrQuattro”) were 238 cars, of a total of only 664 cars that made it to North America during the import period from 1982-1986. I acquired this machine circa 2001; I drove the car daily, to and from the train, getting groceries, and across the country for annual ice driving invitationals in Colorado prior to my move there permanently in 2007.

Growing up in Glenview, Illinois about 17 miles north of Chicago, the frigid winters were no match for the car with a set of Blizzak WS-15?s. During the off-snow season, the car would carry me to Audi Quattro Club (now ACNA) events around the country at tracks such as Road America, Gingerman, Grattan, Blackhawk Farms, Mid-Ohio and many more as a driver and later, as an instructor.

A life decision came late in 2006 and the opportunity to pursue a job in one of three places came to fruition with my employer: Frankfurt, San Francisco or Denver. I chose Denver and moved in January 2007. The inspiration to build #00136 into a Pikes Peak Hill Climb car had long germinated before the car was built or Colorado was home, but being able to see Pikes Peak in the distance from Denver made the idea take hold, and cultivated a goal to race up the mountain.

The years had passed, but finally a decision came with official acceptance into the 2012 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. We had started cutting the car in the fall of 2011 with the FIA WRC build specifications on the table. The Pikes Peak Quattro was initially built in my garage in Lakewood Colorado over roughly 2500 hours. We used Solidworks for the cage design, 4130 Chromoly steel from Germany, and spent 250 hours on the roll cage alone. Being a road car in a former life, there was a certain amount of rust mitigation and replacement of some sections that were non-structural.

Somewhere around 2006 while vacationing in Germany, I visited KER Innovatec, run by Karsten Rose, the Geschäftsinhaber (owner). KER was a fabricator of all things wide-body and replica conversions of Audi factory rally, race and street cars. After a full tour of the facility, the projects, and the attic of never-ending panels for all makes of Audi?s successful race cars, I ordered the long wheelbase sport quattro kit. These are the panels that were grafted onto the car that give it the look of a period Audi A2 race car. While building the car, I had friends come in from all over the country weekend after weekend; we had 6 or 7 people at once working on different systems and components. There was nothing like the village effort and comradery, decision making on the spot and never missing the goal of getting to the hill.

The car has evolved over the years as well. What began as a stock high mileage AAN 20 valve five cylinder motor has evolved into a 2.5 liter stroker 5 cylinder monster built by Jeff Gerner, our mad scientist engine builder for many years who resides out of state. The motor is capable of output over 800bhp, and the car is currently run on a conservative 550bhp tune. Brakes started as a set of Porsche Boxster S calipers and pads on factory Sport Quattro rotors that I had collected over the years. In 2021, we were awarded the Alcon Brakes “No Holding Back” award, which led to fitting custom engineered Alcon 6 piston fronts, 4 piston rears, and 355mm rotors on all four corners.

Alcon’s original client in the1980’s was Audi and their rally program, so it was a fitting endeavor for them to outfit this car. Alcon is an amazing partner and I am so glad to have them at every turn up the hill. We use custom-specified forged multi-piece Fikse wheels to accommodate our brake package, with a period correct 5 spoke deep lip design. Troy Casteel out of Arvada Colorado is the Team’s crew chief, and mastermind behind the car’s constant evolution year over year on the quest to break Walter Rohrl’s 10 minute 47 second time I have marked as my milestone for now. Troy handles all aspects of fabrication throughout the year, including TIG welding, programming of the stand-alone ecu, maintenance and updates to the car’s other systems, and care and feeding of the machine; next year the car will be 40 years old and with Troy’s constant attention to detail and wish list tempering, it will continue to compete for years to come.

The race this year was one of the worst set of conditions in over 25 years according to several seasoned veterans of the PPIHC. The torrential downpour the night before swamped the paddock and we woke up Sunday to about 8 inches of snow, rain, and sleet on the mountain, which race officials had began to plow as early as 1:00 a.m. to get the course ready. The fog was extremely heavy, I could only see a few feet beyond the hood for most of the bottom and upper section for our run. I drove purely by memory from start line to Glen Cove. The weather cleared for part of the W’s, then quickly returned to pea soup. In the upper section, I was spotting for the inside white line or rock formations to lead the way on the road. We did have some excitement with a tossed alternator belt in the W’s, with the car running solely on battery power for the remaining 5 miles.

At the finish line, the battery was down to about 9 volts,and after coasting and starting the car on the way down in the flats (but stopping for every fan handshake, which is an incredible experience!) keeping the car’s rolling momentum was key. I barely made it down across the start line with a whopping 6.2 volts, a dead car, and a subsequent tow into the pits and on to the trailer. Surprisingly, knowing the course in my sleep paid dividends. We finished 9th in class, and 26th of 72 overall in the 100th anniversary of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, A truly remarkable finish given the conditions the mountain doled out this year. We are proud to be a part of this annual tradition and are looking forward to 2023 with eyes on improving the car, and more importantly, the nut behind the wheel.

This could not have happened without the tireless help of all the individuals along the way continually dedicating time and resources to make this last decade a reality: First and foremost my wife Margaret and family, Troy Casteel, Kyle Raley, Jeff Gerner, Dave Lawson, Rob Dupree, Scott Justusson, Ingo Rautenberg, John Townsend, Dick Koenig, Brendan Rudack, Peter Golledge, Chad Clark, Brendan Garst, Tim Hardy, Hank Iroz, Peter Coulter, Larry Chen, Val Ivanitski and of course the Pikes Peak family of volunteers, board members and full time staff along with many others throughout the years. The sponsors continue to keep us in the hunt and continually deliver the best, Apikol, Alcon, Motul, Pagid, Garrett, Vibrant, Hagerty, Fikse, Carz Performance, Toyo Tires, Dimick Motorsports, and Verkline. Get your tickets ahead of time for 2023 as it will remain the most amazing motorsport event you don’t want to miss.

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