In May, we were on hand to witness the 100th running of the country’s oldest car race, the Indianapolis 500. And later this June, we’ll be present for the 2016 running of the second-oldest, the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. The race, which was first held in 1916, is a 12.4-mile (20km) dash up the side of Pikes Peak in Colorado, with cars racing the clock to set the best time of the day. In recent years, the Pikes Peak Hill Climb has featured more and more electric cars and motorbikes, which don’t suffer the significant drop in power at altitude that affects their internal combustion relatives.
While we’re there, TEAM APEV with MONSTER SPORT and Giti Tires have invited me to embed with them to see how one of the legends of the mountain, Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima, gets on with his 2016 Tajima Rimac E-Runner Concept One. This is a 1.1MW (1,500hp) electric vehicle with all-wheel torque vectoring and a lot of aerodynamic downforce. Last year’s race went to Monster Tajima’s rival Rhys Millen, who set a new EV record for the hillclimb, getting to the top in just over nine minutes.
Those speeds are possible these days because the road up the side of Pikes Peak was completely paved in 2011. The road was initially gravel, though for many years it was paved until the halfway point.