COLORADO SPRINGS — The International Hill Climb to the summit of Pikes Peak - America's Mountain is taking place on Sunday, and a notable female racer will be on the starting line this weekend.
60 drivers from around the world are competing in the race to the clouds, including Laura Hayes, a 31-year-old from North Carolina. She'll be driving a 2021 BMW 2CSR, and is one of two women competing in the race this year.
"For me, I've always been outnumbered growing up, being one of the only girl drivers, and now I'm an instructor for BMW," said Hayes. "But if I can be the fastest woman up the hill ever, that would be awesome."
Hayes told News5 she's from the small town of Wilton, California, and was born into a racing family.
"My parents, they actually met at the racetrack, so for me, it's just in the blood. They introduced me at a young age," said Hayes.
Hayes fueled her passion for driving and began racing at eight years old.
"And here I am over 20 years later, still doing it, and now competing in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb," said Hayes. "It's just an incredible experience, and it's been an amazing week so far."
After steering her career and becoming a professional driver, she says this weekend's race is going to be the biggest event that she's been a part of in her racing career. It's also the first year she's competing in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.
"There's about 156 turns to remember, and a lot of them look the same, but what's around the other side is not the same," said Hayes, who said her BMW will top 120 miles per hour on one section of America's Mountain. "I'm sure most people who live here have driven up Pikes Peak, but for me, it's scarier driving the roads slow because you have time to look around and look off the edge, but when you're driving as fast as you can against the clock, you're not thinking about those things."
"A large portion of the run-up, you're staring at skies so it's pretty intense and I think it takes a lot of bravery to even want to attempt something like this," said Hayes added.
Her hobbies outside of racing a car are enjoying anything on wheels, like motorcycles, cycling, and dirt bikes. She said, as long as it's adrenaline-packed, she's up for the challenge.
The Winslow BMW of Colorado Springs is also holding a meet and greet event on Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon. Those attending have the chance to meet with four drivers competing in this weekend's race. Hayes is among them.