This weekend was one for the record books at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, and the big news was Sebastien Loeb’s 8-minute, 13-second in the Unlimited Class in a modified Peugeot 208 T16 run that beat the previous record by more than a minute and a half. Electric cars had their time in the spotlight too, and veteran racer Monster Tajima set a new EV class record, beating out the likes of Nissan and Toyota to become the fastest EV on the peak.
Monster Tajima took his custom E-Runner racer up the Peak in 9-minutes and 46-seconds, nearly matching the previous-year’s Unlimited Class record set by Rhys Millen. That was more than fast enough to beat the two Mitsubishi electric racers that also came to the Peak, posting a 10:21 and 10:23, just a second faster than Toyota’s P002 EV, last year’s Electric Class record-setter.
This is certainly vindication for Tajima, who made an attempt at the Peak in his E-Runner last year but had to bail early when his race car caught on fire. While Tajima certainly would have liked to have taken the overall course record as well, Sebastien Loeb’s stunning run came out of nowhere for a lot of people. Still, Tajima’s time is also a personal best for the racer, who was the first person to break the 10-minute barrier in a Suzuki SX4 back in 2011.
Still, I think it is only a matter of time before EVs surpass traditional race cars on Pikes Peak. Loeb’s 8-minute run may very well be the swan’s song for conventional engines, which struggle to find enough air to burn at the Peak’s summit. EVs have no such disadvantage, and if the racing gods are good, Tajima will be back next year for another crack at the overall record.