The deafening roar of engines at Colorado Springs Airport might have little to do with airplanes in late June.
Organizers of a new auto racing event hope to attract 200 drivers and as many as 4,000 fans to the airport June 27 and 28 as part of the weeklong buildup to the 92nd Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on June 29.
The Airstrip Attack will feature side-by-side racing and use one of the three runways. The event will not affect flights, according to airport aviation director Dan Gallagher.
Holding the event at a commercial airport is a first for Revvolution.com of Colorado Springs and California-based Shift-S3ctor. The co-organizers have staged six similar events at small, private airfields where there are fewer flights and safety concerns.
"Colorado has never seen an event like this," Revvolution.com president Ryan Randels said. "This style of competition is taking off around the country, but the nearest events are in Chicago and Texas. It is an opportunity to bring more auto enthusiasts in for the whole week."
Cooperation from the city and the airport board is helping to make the event happen, said Colorado Springs Sports Corp.'s Lincoln Floyd, the hill climb's development director.
The races will cover a half-mile, and another half-mile is required for the vehicles, ranging from 500 horsepower to 2,000 horsepower, to come to a stop.
Airport runways provide the necessary space and a flat surface, which led to a 224.9 mph record during a recent California event. The Pikes Peak International Raceway's mile oval is too small to host the event.
Gallagher said the Federal Aviation Administration approved the event after a safety plan - similar to what is required for an air show - was devised. He said the event will generate rent revenue for the airport, although specific figures were not available.
Under normal circumstances, only one of the airport's three runways is used for commercial flights so there is no conflict with the airport's day-to-day operations, Gallagher said.
Tickets will be $20 a day or $30 for both.
The week of events, now dubbed Pikes Peak Speedweek, will kick off June 20 with the Pikes Peak International Auto Show, which previously was held in fall.
Other events include the June 23 technical inspections, hill climb practices June 24-27 and the Fan Fest on June 27 that brings an estimated 35,000 fans to downtown Colorado Springs.