The Truth About Cars » Pikes Peak http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Mon, 28 Jul 2014 12:01:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Pikes Peak http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Down From the Mountain: 2013 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/down-from-the-mountain-2013-pikes-peak-international-hill-climb/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/down-from-the-mountain-2013-pikes-peak-international-hill-climb/#comments Wed, 03 Jul 2013 13:15:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=493986 63 - 2013 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSince I became a Coloradan a few years back, I’ve joined all the other car freaks in the Mountain Time Zone for the annual pilgrimage to the 30th-tallest mountain in the state for the big race. I shared my photos from the year Monster Tajima broke the 10-minute barrier, and from from the year the course became all-asphalt, and now I’ve got some shots from last weekend’s event.
67 - 2013 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinImagine tens of thousands of rowdy race fans, mostly with better access to beer than to oxygen, scattered along the 12-mile course at elevations ranging from 9,390 feet to 14,110 feet. Most of them will bring the coolest vehicle they can lay hands on, which means you’ll see a lot of ancient German sports car, zero-ground-clearance JDM-ified street racers, camper vans outgassing That Junkyard Car Smell, and classic Italian scooters. These guys, who race a Suzuki Swift GT in the 24 Hours of LeMons, rode their scooters 100 miles from Denver and then up to 12,000 feet on the mountain.
22 - 2013 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe bikes ran first, which turned out to be a good idea— thunderstorms rolled in later in the day.
66 - 2013 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinEven with a dry racing surface, bad things can happen. Right off the bat, a couple of bike racers crashed and had to be airlifted out. The increased speeds resulting from the all-asphalt course meant that crashes may be even hairier than before.

Motorcyclists weren’t the only racers to wreck; the electric car of Latvian Janis Horeliks spun out at the end of the long straight at Halfway Picnic Ground, slid into the mountain, and sent up choking clouds of electrical-fire smoke for quite a while.
40 - 2013 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinEveryone knew that Sebastien Loeb had the best shot at blowing away the record time, so the spectators were quite worked up by the time Loeb’s Peugeot screamed by. So worked up, in fact, that this one leaped right in front of my camera at the crucial moment.
37 - 2013 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIt’s going to take a few more years before the electric cars beat the gasoline ones to the top— it’s coming, though; EVs don’t need oxygen, and battery capacity isn’t a big deal when the course is only 12 miles long— but the electric motorcycles are already there. The Lightning electron-fueled bike (not the bike in this photo) beat all the fossil-fueled two-wheelers with its just-a-hair-over-10-minutes run.
64 - 2013 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinHonda brought a mean-sounding Odyssey minivan.
49 - 2013 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis Pontiac Solstice clattered by, trailing a cloud of unhappy-engine smoke.
42 - 2013 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNot many vintage cars entered this race (the organizers have decreed that only race cars that have competed in a previous PPIHC race may enter the Vintage class), but at least we had a couple of yowling Minis as sort of a consolation prize.
62 - 2013 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Banks Power Freightliner was apocolyptic.
68 - 2013 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWhen it was all over, the racers rolled back down the mountain for 12 miles of high-fives from the spectators.

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Sebastian Loeb Shatters Pikes Peak Record, Gives PSA Something To Celebrate http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/sebastian-loeb-shatters-pikes-peak-record-gives-psa-something-to-celebrate/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/sebastian-loeb-shatters-pikes-peak-record-gives-psa-something-to-celebrate/#comments Tue, 02 Jul 2013 18:18:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=493967 Sébastien-Loeb-and-Peugeot-Shatter-Record-at-Pikes-Peak-placement-626x382. Photo courtesy CarandDriver.comIt’s been a bad week for PSA, but at least they’ve got something to celebrate about. French driver Sebastian Loeb, behind the wheel of a Peugeot 208 T16, broke the record for the fastest time up Pikes Peak, at 8 minutes, 13.878 seconds, beating the old record by 92.286 seconds.

The 208 T16, which bears no mechanical resemblance to the 208 road car, pushes 875 horsepower through all four wheels. Peugeot is no stranger to Pikes Peak – nearly a quarter century ago, a Ari Vatanen attacked the mountain in a 405 T16. Loeb, who has traditionally driven Citroen cars in WRC, has leapfrogged over Vatanen to cement himself as one of the legends of the course. Dare I say he may even be the most complete driver of all time? Somewhere, Ken Block is plotting a way to steal the limelight back from Loeb.

 

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Charge! Electric Racers Attack Pikes Peak http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/05/charge-electric-racers-attack-pikes-peak/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/05/charge-electric-racers-attack-pikes-peak/#comments Thu, 16 May 2013 13:33:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=488659 IMG_5063

The annual Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is quickly turning into a Nurburgring equivalent when it comes to bragging rights of electric vehicle makers. The venue is perfect for EVs:  The track is 12.42 miles long, as cinch even for the most range-challenged EV.  The track finishes at 14,110 ft, a height that deprives ICE-powered cars of oxygen and some 40 percent of their power. An EV just laughs at the breathless engines. I learn all those trivia today in Mitsubishi’s showroom in Tamachi, Tokyo. A descendant on Mitsubishi’s iMiev will be part of the electrified hill climb.IMG_4812

The last year’s winner was the Toyota TMG EV P002. It will defend its title.  Across town in Tokyo, Mitsubishi fields its MiEV Evolution II all-electric racer.  The sport appears to be one for mature men. Mitsubishi-driver and two-time Dakar Rally overall champion Hiroshi Masuoka is a relative youngster at age 53. Toyota’s driver Rod Millen is 61. Pikes Peak legend Monster Tajima, himself 63, won’t return in an EV, but will arrive with a 670hp hachi-roku.

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Tweak For The Peak: Toyota Returns To The Hill With Updated Electric Racer http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/05/tweak-for-the-peak-toyota-returns-to-the-hill-with-updated-electric-racer/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/05/tweak-for-the-peak-toyota-returns-to-the-hill-with-updated-electric-racer/#comments Mon, 06 May 2013 16:38:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=487467

 

Toyota plans to defend its electric title at this year’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb with a tweaked TMG EV P002. The electric racer is currently on its way to Salisbury, N.C., where TRD USA will perform aerodynamic upgrades to the Radical-based chassis.

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On June 30, 61-year-old Rod Millen will  attempt a new record in the TMG EV P002 at Pikes Peak.  TMG is using  an off-board battery-to-battery charger, because there is no reliable connection to the power grid at the race site. A 42 kilowatt lithium ion battery is mounted into the back of a Toyota Hiace,. and can quickly charge the TMG EV P002 even in places where there is no plug in sight.

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Peugeot Does The Climb Dance Once Again http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/peugeot-does-the-climb-dance-once-again/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/peugeot-does-the-climb-dance-once-again/#comments Tue, 16 Apr 2013 16:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=485089

A quarter of a century ago, Ari Vanaten attacked Pikes Peak in the legendary Peugeot 405 T16, and the resulting footage of the attempt led to the renowned documentary “Climb Dance”.  For 2013, Peugeot will be back at Pikes Peak with the appropriately named 208 T16. Piloting the 208 T16 will be WRC ace Sebastian Loeb, which should make the 208 T16 a formidable contender on that basis alone.

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Junkyard Find: 1961 Cadillac Hearse http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/12/junkyard-find-1961-cadillac-hearse/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/12/junkyard-find-1961-cadillac-hearse/#comments Wed, 05 Dec 2012 14:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=469126 When I went to the Brain-Melting Colorado Junkyard to buy a ’41 Plymouth Special Deluxe sedan, for the purposes of some unholy engine swap, I did some digging around through stacks of random doors to try to find a handle to fit a friend’s elderly Ford COE truck. While navigating the high desert cacti between rich veins of ancient truck doors, I happened to glance up and catch a view of this toasted-but-still-majestic hearse silhouetted against the sunset. What a Junkyard Find!
Brush fires are always a danger on the plains east of Colorado Springs, and such a fire ate a few cars last year. Most of the burn victims have since been sent to The Crusher, but this old hearse remains.
There’s not much usable stuff left on this funeral hauler (unlike the rusty but largely complete ’48 Pontiac hearse parked a few hundred yards away), so perhaps it’s just here as a sort of sculpture.
Yes, that big mountain in the background is Pikes Peak. Mount Evans is a lot closer to where I live and it’s 154 feet taller, but the racing is far superior on this mountain.
The fire seems to have been quite specific about which areas of this car it felt like ravaging. The windshield glass melted, but some of the nearby paint survived.
It’s sad to think that this hearse will never be restored and brought to HearseCon (Colorado, for reasons someone is going to have to explain to me, is the Customized Hearse Epicenter of America), but perhaps some of its parts will live on in other Cadillacs.

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Gentlemen, Charge Your Batteries http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/06/gentlemen-charge-your-batteries/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/06/gentlemen-charge-your-batteries/#comments Thu, 07 Jun 2012 17:07:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=447902 When we wrote about Mitsubishi’s electric attack on the hill at Pike’s Peak, Toyota did not want to confirm rumors that  WRC rally driver Fumio Nutahara would join the race on Toyota’s behalf in a TMG EV P001, the same that set a new electric lap record at the Nürburgring Nordschleife. They were right. The rumor was off by a digit.

It now turns out that Nutahara will drive the newly built TMG EV P002 with an updated and more powerful electric powertrain. Based on a Radical chassis, the TMG EV P002 has a predicted top speed of 240km/h in Pikes Peak configuration, with combined maximum power of 350kW from its two axial flux motors.

Now wait what Monster Tajima will take to the Peak. The race will take place on July 8.

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Monster And Mitsubishi Attack Pike’s Peak On Batteries http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/monster-and-mitsubishi-attack-pikes-peak-on-batteries/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/monster-and-mitsubishi-attack-pikes-peak-on-batteries/#comments Fri, 18 May 2012 11:59:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=445022

Once a year, there are people who compete for who gets fastest up a mountain. The mountain is Pike’s Peak, and the occasion is the International Hill Climb. It will happen on July 3-8, as it did every year since 1916, only interrupted by the occasional world war. This year, one of the most interesting races could take place on battery power.

In a way, Pike’s Peak is made for electrics. The race is short, a little over 12 miles, no range anxiety there. Gasoline-powered cars gasp for air en route to the 14,000 feet top. Electric cars don’t even feel it. Their torque advantage comes in handy in the hair needle turns.

The electric class is dominated by Japanese. Four out of seven entries are from Japan this year. Mitsubishi will field two electric racers.

Custom-built for the  Pikes Peak event, the i-MiEV Evolution basically uses the same motor, drive battery and other major components as the production i-MiEV.

The drivetrain is fitted to a a tube-frame chassis with a carbon fiber cowl. A single motor drives the front, two motors drive the rear wheels.

With its three motors and a 35 kWh battery pack, the car is good for 240 kW, or some 320 hp. The rest, including the driver, is built as light as possible.

The car will be piloted by Hiroshi Masuoka, a Dakar Rally veteran (overall winner 2002 and 2003.)  Masuoka works at Mitsubishi Motors where his many duties include vehicle development, the training of company test drivers and the occasional races.

At the Dakar, Masuoka piloted more traditional cars, such as the Mitsubishi Pajero, and later the Lancer.

The second car is an only slightly modded i-MiEV. That takes guts, because Mitsubishi’s electric offering is not known for winning any races – except the race to the super market to fetch some missing noodles. For the Pikes Peak event, the production model has received a more aerodynamic front bumper and roll bars. That’s it.The car will be driven by American off-road racer Beccy Gordon.

The 500 lbs gorilla in the electric class is a friendly Japanese senior citizen by the name of Nobuhiro Tajima. He is the true king of the mountain. Since 2006, “Monster” Tajima won every unlimited class race up the mountain, each year in a crazier Suzuki race car. This year, Tajima will enter in a Tajima Motor “Monster Sport Pikes Peak Special.”

Also on the entry list is Toyota. WRC rally driver Fumio Nutahara  is listed as the pilot of a yet to be announced Toyota. Trash talking racers say it will be the TMG EV P001 – the electric race car that did the Nordschleife in 7 mins 47.794 secs. We’ll see. So far, nobody at Toyota wants to confirm that the car will be entered.

Conspicuously absent from the race will be Nissan, maker of the Leaf. With the Leaf NISMO RC, Nissan would have a car with good odds. However, they won’t show.

“We set the new record in the electric production vehicle class with the Leaf last year,” says NISMO president Shoichi Miyatani. “Mission accomplished.”

With  a monster on the loose, staying home is probably a good strategy. Kudos to Mitsubishi for taking on Tajiama in a shopping cart. Who knows, his monster special could break.

 

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Down From The Mountain: Pike’s Peak International Hill Climb Photo Gallery http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/06/down-from-the-mountain-pikes-peak-international-hill-climb-photo-gallery/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/06/down-from-the-mountain-pikes-peak-international-hill-climb-photo-gallery/#comments Mon, 27 Jun 2011 22:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=400548
Yesterday was a long, long day on Pike’s Peak. Above 10,000 feet, the Colorado sun bakes the will to live right out of you, while the lack of oxygen starves lungs and engines alike. Constant wrecks and breakdowns shut down the course for long periods, but all these things were just minor irritants, forgotten as soon as the next racer came fishtailing up the hill. The big news, of course, was the demolition of the 10-minute barrier by Monster Tajima, but every entrant got plenty of cheers from the thousands of dust-huffing hillclimb fans lining the route to the summit. Make the jump for some of my photo highlights from the day.

The Seat León Supercopa I encountered in a Manitou Springs motel parking lot on Friday looked and sounded great on race day.

Speaking of European cars we never see in North America…

I had a couple of friends driving in the race, but both faced setbacks on race weekend. Bill Caswell, LeMons race winner and low-budget rally hero, ended up stacking his E30 during practice and spent race day as a spectator. Meanwhile, LeMons Supreme Court District Judge Texas Dave of Rally Ready Motorsports was making a crazed underdog run at the 10-minute mark in his Evo. He looked extremely fast passing my vantage point near Gayler’s Straits, but engine failure above the tree line ended his run. Next year!

I was very happy to see a Pontiac Sunbird, of all things, roaring by. Unfortunately, things didn’t go well for Bobby Regester further up the hill. The good news: Regester walked away from the wreck.

Many of the vintage climbers were 60s Mustangs, so it was nice to see a Ford racer changing it up with a Falcon Signet.

Plenty of Carrera Panamericana cars roaring up the mountain. One of my favorites is Doug Mockett’s ridiculously fast ’54 Oldsmobile.

Competing in the Time Attack class was this ’80 Corolla.

The bike contingent provided plenty of nail-bitingly squirrelly antics for the crowds.

Monster Tajima’s car doesn’t look much like a Suzuki SX4, but that’s how the Unlimited class works.

All the entrants that make it to the summit stay there until the race is over, then roll back down the hill to the cheers and high-fives of the spectators. Even some of the wreck victims made it back down under their own power, with an assist from gravity.

Now I’m hooked. Pike’s Peak 2012 or bust!
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Pike’s Peak: 10-Minute Barrier Broken— Monster Tajima Runs 9:51 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/06/pikes-peak-10-minute-barrier-broken-monster-tajima-runs-951/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/06/pikes-peak-10-minute-barrier-broken-monster-tajima-runs-951/#comments Sun, 26 Jun 2011 20:32:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=400422
History made on the mountain just a few minutes ago: Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima just ran 9:51 and change in his run to the Pike’s Peak summit. Sayonara, 10-minute barrier!
I’m not sure of the exact time, but the crowds on the mountain have been shouting “9:51! WHOOOO!” for a while now. Congratulations, Monster!

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Pike’s Peak: Life Is Good On The Hill http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/06/pikes-peak-life-is-good-on-the-hill/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/06/pikes-peak-life-is-good-on-the-hill/#comments Sun, 26 Jun 2011 16:27:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=400376
I had to haul my bleary-eyed self out of the sack at 4:00 AM in order to grab this choice vantage point at 11,000 feet, about halfway up the road to the summit, but the sight of this incredible race car just made the sleep deprivation worthwhile. Everything else I see today will just be a bonus.

Not into two-ton slabs of Detroit iron? Perhaps this little British Racing Green machine is more your speed. My cell-phone-tether internet connection here is quite flaky, so proper Pike’s Peak International Hill Climb coverage may have to wait until tonight.

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Pike’s Peak: Crazy Spaniards Fly SEAT León Supercopa To Colorado, Ready To Race http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/06/pikes-peak-crazy-spaniards-fly-seat-leon-supercopa-to-colorado-ready-to-race/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/06/pikes-peak-crazy-spaniards-fly-seat-leon-supercopa-to-colorado-ready-to-race/#comments Sat, 25 Jun 2011 02:05:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=400086
I’m skipping the Pacific Northworst 24 Hours of LeMons race, so that I can attend this weekend’s Pike’s Peak International Hill Climb. I headed over to the mountain earlier today to drive the course, scout out good camera spots, and check out teams wrenching on their cars in motel parking lots.

The day started out in true low-budget-racing fashion, with my Civic’s rusty muffler falling off. Turns out spending its first decade in Chicago had some long-lasting effects, though 200,000 miles on the original exhaust system isn’t bad. Cadillac Bob, captain of the Swiss-cheesed, 454-powered LeMons AMC Marlin team, was joining me, and he suggested that we just remove the offending muffler and drive with a straight pipe. I had some idea of buying a cheap glasspack at Autozone and attempting to quiet the car’s D15B7 that way, but Bob’s idea sounded much simpler.

The car was loud, but tolerable for a 45-minute highway drive from my home in Denver to the base of the 14,115-foot mountain. The drones, roars, and howls emitted during the climb up to the summit got to be pretty aggravating, though. By 14,000 feet, the D15′s alleged 102 horsepower felt like about 50. Still, we got there.

The course for Sunday’s race was quite picturesque at 25 MPH. At race velocities… well, you’d have to be totally out of your freakin’ mind to take this road at speed. Endless switchbacks, guard-rail-less stretches with thousand-foot sheer drops below, road surface ranging from nice asphalt to bad asphalt to dirt, and the higher you get the more the lack of oxygen messes with your brain functions. Oh, it’s gonna be great!

How about a little trip up the hill in Ari Vatanen’s Peugeot?

After we rolled back down the mountain, we cruised the main drag in nearby Manitou Springs. Pike’s Peak racers often set up shop in their motel parking lots, and this serious-looking Shelby GT350 was the first race car we spotted.

This may be the best tire/wheel setup I’ve ever seen on a vintage Mustang. This ’67 will be racing in the RMVR/Vintage class on Sunday, and I’m looking forward to seeing it in action.

Parked nearby was this 2010 Camaro, entered in the Time Attack division; the car had suffered some oil pan damage during practice this morning and had just returned from a local welding shop.

Just down the street, we spotted what I took to be a weirdly modified Suzuki SX4. The body looked wrong, but that big S must be a Suzuki logo, right?

Wrong! This is a 2005 Seat León Supercopa, which this sponsor-less team had flown over from Spain in order to take on the world’s top hillclimb event.

We’re dealing with some very serious racing addicts here, and they were kind enough to take a break from their wrenching/tuning frenzy to answer questions from a pair of American car guys geeking out on their never-seen-in-America race car. In fact, this is the first SEAT I’ve ever seen in North America, period.

The SEAT goes up against 20 very tough competitors in the Time Attack class on Sunday (here is a PDF of the entry lists), including the usual Evos and WRXs, so it will be interesting to see how Spanish steel fares against all that Japanese iron. Check in Sunday for the Pike’s Peak madness!

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