This weekend (August 12, 2012) was the annual Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.
The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC), also known as The Race to the Clouds, is an annual automobile and motorcycle hillclimb to the summit of Pikes Peak in Colorado. The track measures 12.42 miles (19.99 km) over 156 turns, climbing 4,720 ft (1,440 m) from the start at Mile 7 on Pikes Peak Highway, to the finish at 14,110 ft (4,300 m), on grades averaging 7%. It used to consist of both gravel and paved sections, however as of August 2011, the highway is fully paved and as a result all subsequent runnings will be on tarmac from start to finish.This is truely a world class race, and as such, attracts racers from around the world. There are numerous classes from stock to unlimited, "run what you brung" classes. These unlimited classes have
been known for cutting edge automotive technology. This year three all electric cars finished in the top 15 overall. These were not green experiments. Some of these were serious entries with the intent of winning.
The top electric finisher, Fumio Nutahara,driving the Toyota Motorsports Group EV P002 electric race car. The EV P002 is built on a Radicalrace car chassis,and has pair of a axial flux electric motors with a top output of350kilowatts, with a predictedtop speed of 150 miles/hr. Their lap time was 10:15.380, for an average speed of 70.201 miles/hr, which was good enough fora 6th place finish.Last years overall champion and course record holder (until this year), Nobuhiro Tajima, brought an electric car this year. Unfortunately he had electrical problems (fire) and did not finish. However, there is some really cool video of a practice run.
Electric cars have the potential to be very successful in this event. Internal combustion engines lose a significant amount of power at the elevation this race is held at. Also, as this is a relatively short race, the battery capacity required is manageable.
This years over all winner was Rhys Millen, with a 9:46.164 time. An overall win for an electric car may not be too far in the future.
There was one serious accident this year. The driver and co-driver received serious but not life threatening injuries.
Jeremy Foley crash
And just because it is really cool, here is some classic Pikes Peak footage - Ai Vatanen before it was paved.