Veteran road racer and Laguna Beach resident Rick Knoop will roll to the starting line of the 90th edition of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on Aug. 12 behind the wheel of a modified vehicle with vintage bones.
He will be driving the Knoop-Mann Special, a blend of beauty and function developed from a 1958 Jaguar Lister frame as a tribute to Knoop’s father. Fred Knoop built and raced the Knoop-Huffaker Special in the late 1950s. With the recent death of Tom Carruthers, a former WWII Marine and father-in-law and of team owner and co-driver Julian Mann, the drivers say they will race in tribute to Marines and all U.S. service personnel.
“We want people to cheer on the Knoop-Mann Special as it tackles the hill and remember the heroes who dedicated their lives to protecting our country and freedom,” said Knoop, a 35-year racer.
Racers climb 4,720 feet on the 12.42 mile track that consists of more than 156 turns.
The Knoop-Mann Special is painted Navy blue and will featuring a Navy Seal logo and Carruthers’ name. Stuffed with a Patton Chevrolet Stroker V8 and 4-speed transmission, the car produces more than 800 horsepower.
“I’m excited to see the Knoop-Mann Special compete on the hill this year,” said engine builder Leon Patton. “Every internal component from the engine to the on-board electronics is functioning in complete harmony. Now, Rick has become one with the car and I’m eager to see what he can do.”
Knoop and the Knoop-Mann Special team are the 2011 NASA national defending champions in the TTR class. They currently lead both the Super Unlimited and TTR classes in the Southern California region.