The Gran Turismo Fan Favorite Gillet Vertigo Made a Run Up Pikes Peak Too

Automotive News 18 July 12, 2018 by

This year’s Race to the Clouds was all about blitzing the 12.42-mile course. Both the VW I.D. R and Bentley Bentayga brought home records of their own. But there was another car making waves of its own, the Gillet Vertigo.

Longtime Gran Turismo player will immediately recognize the name. Its ‘97 model first captured our attention all the way back in the days of Gran Turismo 3. Since then the Vertigo race car found itself in subsequent titles until the release of Gran Turismo Sport.

With 888hp, it often gave players fits in events such as Like the Wind in Gran Turismo 5. But beating it was always rewarding, as was shelling out the million-plus credits to get your hands on one.

Even though it’s faded from the GT series, the company is still very much alive. Most importantly it’s also celebrating a milestone this year, its 25th anniversary. Technically, it’s the company’s 25th year but in 1992 it went through a year of homologation, meaning it didn’t break onto the scene until 1993.

To mark this anniversary it brought out one of its Vertigo race cars to conquer Pikes Peak. The company’s goals were a little less lofty than the ones set by VW. Instead of trying to smash a record, it instead wanted to run a sub-12 minute time.

Unlike the electric I.D. R, the Vertigo kept with tradition. To power the Gillet up the mountain, the team chose a 2.0-liter turbo four-pot from VW. However, it did tinker with it, boosting power to 380 ponies.

The Vertigo’s race was almost cut short though. A day before the race the car had gearbox troubles. To rectify this a speed shop in Plano, Texas drove a new gearbox 750 miles to Pikes Peak in just 12 hours. Talk about service!

With the gearbox sorted, the Vertigo set off with Vanina Ickx behind the wheel.

If that name sounds familiar, it should. Vanina is the daughter of Jacky Ickx, the legendary F1 driver. Like her dad, she’s also pretty good behind the wheel of a car, racking up seat time at Le Mans and in DTM.

At the end of the run, Ickx managed to beat the company’s goal. The Vertigo clocked a time of 10:54.901.

While this didn’t set any official record, we think it just might have set a very specific unofficial one.

While most cars use carbon fiber or aluminum to make them lightweight, the Vertigo uses something a little different. The body is made from mostly linen (yes, like your summer holiday pants, or your bed covers). Due to this unique material, we think it set the record for the quickest linen car up the mountain. We’re standing by to see if “fast as sheet” becomes an accepted term.

If you want to check out Ickx’s run up Pikes Peak we’ve included the video below.

Images via Gillet on Facebook.

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