Apr 15, 2010 5:02 PM
Fans of the storied Pikes Peak International Hill Climb received another good reason Thursday to start counting down the days to the June 27 Race To The Clouds with the announcement that the veteran Rhys Millen will go all-out to smash the ten-minute barrier in a new, never-before-seen race car, the 2010 RMR Hyundai Genesis PM580 in his "Operation Record Retrieval."
Millen, a 17-year veteran on the Hill, set a world record on the Hill last year in winning the Time Attack 2WD division in his Hyundai Genesis Coupe. The Red Bull driver set the new world mark of 12:09.397 last summer in the Time Attack event on the 156-turn mountain course, beating his own personal best by 22 seconds, coming home 1:23 ahead of the next fastest car in his division.
He is shifting to the high-profile Unlimited Division this year along with another PPIHC veteran Paul Dallenbach, and taking on four-time champ Nobuhiro "Monster" Tajima, who returns in his 885-horsepower AWD Suzuki
Tajima, the crack Japanese driver who holds the course record of 10:01.408 (2007), defeated a world-class field last summer in 10:15.368 that included a trio of European rally car champions paced by Ford Rallycross Fiesta drivers Marcus Gronholm and Andreas Eriksson, who may be coming back to take a shot at Tajima and the mountain.
"Breaking into the 9's has been a dream and desire of mine for the last 10 years," said Millen, professional race driver and founder of Rhys Millen Racing. "I finally have the team, support and infrastructure to put in a serious effort to go after the world record. The main focus is to be the fastest car up the hill, slay the Monster and get the record back in the family name, the Millen name."
With more than 17 years of racing experience, Rhys Millen has established himself as one of the premier rally/drifting drivers in North America. Born in New Zealand in 1972, Rhys is the son of famed rally and off-road racer Rod Millen. Rhys joined Rod in the U.S. as a teenager and soon afterwards established himself as a racer by taking first place at the Pikes Peak Hill Climb in the Open Division and winning Rookie of the Year. He won the Formula Drift championship in 2005 and the Red Bull Drifting World Championship in 2008.
Rod Millen will be testing the new car in early June due to a scheduling conflict with one of Rhys' Formula Drift series events.
Millen and his team are an ideal match to help launch Hyundai's motorsports effort with the Genesis Coupe. Millen's driving credentials include movie stunts, multiple drifting championships, a Pikes Peak world record and his 2008 New Year's Eve Las Vegas truck flip. But behind Millen's success in the driver's seat is a full team of engineers and fabricators that know how to maximize the potential of a race car.
Eleven returning champions are among 100 competitors already registered for the race, the nation's second oldest motor sports race behind the Indianapolis 500.
The 2010 event should continue the excitement and heated competition that marked last summer's chase that attracted 163 racers in 17 classes who attacked the 12.42 mile course with 156 turns to the 14,110-foot summit.
The popular Fan Fest, presented by Budweiser, which attracted almost 35,000 fans to downtown Colorado Springs to meet the drivers and racers, see their cars, trucks and motorcycles, and enjoy music, food and special events, is set for Friday, June 25, from 5:00-10:00 p.m.
Race tickets & camping permits are now available for purchase through the PPIHC web site