There is one event that us green gearheads get more excited for than any other, and that is the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. This uphill racing event has a long and thrilling history. More importantly though, it has become a hotbed of green racing technology, with electric vehicles proving especially popular. This year, Rod Millen and “Monster” Tajima will be facing off in two custom EV racers to see who can race to the top of the mountain in the least amount of time.
Monster Tajima has set his sights on not just the record for the fastest EV at Pikes Peak, but the fastest overall vehicle. Unfortunately Tajima’s first effort last year fell short, his electric racer catching fire just a few minutes into the race. The team was unable to make repairs, and Tajima went home without a record.
That left the door open for Fumio Nutahara and the Toyota P002 electric race car to zoom up Pikes Peak in 10:15.380. He set a new record for EVs, and was less than 30 seconds behind the new overall record set by Rhys Millen and Hyundai. Nutahara will return this year in an as-yet-undetermined electric race car.
This year Rod Millen, Rhys Millen’s father, will be behind the wheel of the Toyota PMG EV P002 EV racer. Millen, who is 61 and has won multiple classes and crowns at Pikes Peak, will face off against Tajima, who will turn 63 two days before the race, in a battle between near-retirees and new racing technology. Electric cars have a distinct advantage in high-altitude racing, as they do not suffer from the lack of oxygen at higher elevations. Combustion engines need lots of air, so higher elevations really mess with the power output. But EVs have no such problem.
Your intrepid writer will be attempting to attend Pikes Peak in person this year. Hopefully we will witness the dawn of a new era at Pikes Peak, where electric vehicles become the dominant species. This showdown between two old school racers in new school technology has the makings of an epic motorsports showdown, the first heroes in a new age of electric racing.