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Pikes Peak Hill Climb: Toyota, Mitsubishi Place Electric Cars In Top 10

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Over the weekend, the 90th Pikes Peak International Hill Climb took place, pushing cars and drivers to the limit on the 12.42-mile course.

For years, the event has been dominated by purpose-built gasoline-powered hill climb cars, but at this year’s event two all-electric cars placed in the top 10 overall. 

Rescheduled to August after devastating wildfires in Colorado prevented the event from happening in July as originally planned, this year’s event welcomed seven all-electric race cars to the 156-turn course. 

Winning the electric car category and placing sixth overall was the TMG EVP002, built by Toyota Motorsport and driven by Fumio Nutahara.

With two powerful motors capable of producing 350 kilowatts of power and 664 pound-feet of torque, the EVP002 set a new lap record of 10 minutes, 15.38 seconds

Fifteen seconds behind was the custom-built Mitsubishi i-Miev Evolution, driven by Hiroshi Masuoka. Rebuilt after it crashed during the first practice day, the lightweight race car came in 8th place overall.

Mitsubishi i-MiEV Evolution crashes during Pikes Peak practice

Mitsubishi i-MiEV Evolution crashes during Pikes Peak practice

Enlarge Photo

While six of the entrants in the electric car category were driving custom-built race cars, one car -- a 2012 Mitsubishi i driven by Beccy Gordon -- was stock.

Except for an FIA-approved roll-cage, safety harness and seat, fitted in order to make it race-legal, Gordon’s 2012 Mitsubishi i matched Mitsubishi’s road-legal four-seat hatch, both in specification and performance.

Averaging 47.44 mph as it climbed the 4,720 ft course, Gordon set a time of 15 minutes and 10 seconds. 

Sadly however, not all the electric cars which entered successfully finished the course. 

Monster Tajima in the Sport E-RUNNER electric Pikes Peak car.

Monster Tajima in the Sport E-RUNNER electric Pikes Peak car.

Enlarge Photo

Despite some impressive practice sessions which placed Nobuhiro ‘Monster’ Tajima first in his class, he was forced to retire after less than a mile after smoke started to appear in his car. 

“I saw smoke coming out from the motor, and I had no choice but to stop the car so it wouldn’t get any worse,” said Tajima. “I am very disappointed because my team and I have put a tremendous effort to get where we are today,” he continued, adding that he will be back next year to attempt the course again. 

While Monster Tajima was unsuccessful in the actual race, there is some footage of his car tackling the first part of the course in a practice session, before a red-flag halts his run. 

Watch it, and let us know in the Comments below if passing within inches of a steep mountain drop in an electric car would leave you excited, or petrified.

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Comments (2)
  1. WOW! what an awesome video!
     
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    Bad stuff?

  2. So first place finisher was 9:46 and sixth was 10:15, only 1/2 minute behind. Maybe next year we will see an electric vehicle take first place!
     
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    Bad stuff?

 

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