BMW’s plans to nab the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb’s production SUV record have been dashed, with the XM Label Red it fielded for the run crashing part-way up the course. The accident itself hasn’t been seen, with the live stream footage (above) merely showing the aftermath rather than the accident.
Thankfully, driver Matt Mullins, who was involved in BMW’s jaw-dropping M5 mid-drift refuelling awesomeness a few years ago, was unharmed. The car, on the other hand, has suffered a hefty hit to its front end.
In a statement, BMW said:
“Unfortunately, our hopes for a record run with the BMW XM today ended with a race incident. Driver Matt Mullins is disappointed but unhurt. The focus now is on repairing the vehicle and planning for another record attempt later this summer.”
Posting on Instagram, Mullins explained the nature of the accident:
“So what happened? I got understeer and lost the front grip on a left turn over a crest and couldn’t get it back. Ended up dropping the right front tire and the ditch pulled the XM off at 100 mph, hit a pine tree, and then rolled and landed on its wheels. I walked away with no injuries. Unfortunately can’t say the same for the XM.
“This has been an amazing journey with so many people to thank. I’m feeling so blessed for this opportunity and we showed how capable the XM Label is on the mountain. Hoping to come back stronger.”
The XM was likely in with a good shout of taking the road-going SUV record. While heavy, it has power on its side, pushing out 738bhp from a 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8-based hybrid powertrain likely to be shared with the new M5 and M5 Touring. Mullins noted in a promotional video that during test runs the XM was “five seconds under the target time”.
It wasn’t to be, however, so for now, the record holder remains the Lamborghini Urus Performante via its Pikes Peak run in 2022.
It’s not all bad news for BMW’s trip to the ‘race to the clouds’, as Rhys Millen broke the outright record for production records using a BMW M8. The previous holder was…Rhys Millen, as it happens, using a Bentley Continental GT.