If you thought paving the last leg of the annual Pikes Peak Hill Climb marked a major change for one of the most grueling motorsports competitions in the world, get a load of this: Two of the event’s best-known drivers—with a combined 17 Pikes Peak titles—are once more facing off against each other this year; however, it won’t be in the Unlimited class, normally considered the elite segment of the race. Instead, Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima and Rod Millen will tackle the peak's 12.42 miles, 156 turns and 4,720-ft. increase in altitude in the Electric Auto Division.
Tajima, who in 2011 became the first person to conquer the mountain in fewer than 10 minutes, will be back for the second year in his Tajima Motors E-Runner—knocked out of the race last year due to an onboard fire. Millen, a former Pikes Peak record holder who also has seen success in off-road, endurance and drifting competitions, among others, will pilot the Toyota TMG EV P002 that won the Electric Auto Division last year in the hands of Fumio Nutahara. As for Nutahara, he currently is prepping a new all-electric hill-climb racer in hopes of defending his crown, and that just-mentioned trio will be joined by Ikuo Hanawa, the EV division winner in 2010 and 2011.
Of course, they’ll also be joined by a full slate of the world’s top drivers for the 91st Pikes Peak Hill Climb, scheduled to kick off on June 30, 2013, in Colorado Springs, Colo. And yes, that includes Rod Millen's son, Rhys, who is the course's current record holder and will be campaigning a purpose-built racer from Hyundai in the 2013 Hill Climb.
For more info, including event tickets, visit the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb website at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb website.