If you’ve ever driven Colorado’s highway 6 across Loveland Pass, you know it can be a bit intimidating in the best of weather. With a maximum elevation of 11,990 feet, the road bears the distinction of being the highest mountain pass in the world to remain open year-round.
Though the scenery is spectacular, the switchback corners and steep drops are more than a bit puckering for those unaccustomed to mountain driving. In short, it’s not a place to make an error behind the wheel, regardless of what you’re driving or when you’re driving it.
When you add an icy road surface into the mix and want to film a race down the pass, pitting professional snowboarder (and Winter X Games medalist) Chanelle Sladics against the McLaren MP4-12C Spider, it’s best to hand the keys to someone with plenty of experience in mountain driving. Someone like Pikes Peak record holder Rhys Millen.
For his part, Millen calls it "an honor" to drive the MP4-12C Spider in the video, especially in light of McLaren's 50th anniversary in 2013. Like the company's founder, the late Bruce McLaren, Rhys Millen is a native New Zealander with plenty of experience in hill climb competition.
The stunt was filmed to promote the start of McLaren MP4-12C Spider deliveries in the United States. It also highlights the 12C Spider’s unique power-retractable hard top and superb handling balance, though we’d guess that Millen opted not to use the 12C Spider’s “Winter” driving mode for optimized traction on slippery surfaces.
Even with all the electro-nannies turned on and winter tires mounted, piloting a mid-engine, rear-drive sports car with 616 horsepower on tap down an icy mountain pass requires a fair amount of skill and the driver’s complete attention. We'd have loved to give it a try, but our run wouldn't have been nearly as impressive as Millen's on video.