May 25, 2011 4:39 PM by Lee Douglas/Colorado Springs Sports Sports Corporation
Colorado Springs - Rod Millen, one of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb's living legends, is returning to the famous race on June 26 to compete in the Time Attack 2WD division and another shot at the record book of success on the mountain.
His return also creates yet another great father-son story, part of the history of the famous race.
Millen, who turned 60 on March 22, won the overall championship in the race five times and earned eight class championships. He captured the Unlimited crown five times alone - 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998 and 1999, and held the record on the Peak at 10:04.06 (1994), until it was broken by Nobuhiro Tajima in 2007 (10.01.408).
The New Zealander, who lives in Huntington Beach, California, will drive a Hyundai Genesis Coupe developed by Rhys Millen Racing. It's his first appearance since 2000 in America's second-oldest motor sports race.
He's also the father of star driver Rhys Millen, who has competed eighteen times and won six titles on Pikes Peak and will return to the mountain this year and another attempt to crack the storied ten-minute barrier in the Unlimited division after finishing third last year. He'll be behind the wheel again of his own Hyundai Genesis RMR PM580, sponsored by Red Bull.
"I didn't have to look far for the caliber of driver I wanted for the Genesis" said Rhys. "Over the Christmas holiday, while exchanging gifts, I asked my father what he thought about taking the Genesis Coupe to the summit once again. His smile told me all I needed to know."
Now, Hyundai, Red Bull, and Rhys Millen Racing will attempt to set multiple world records at this year's Pikes Peak International Hill climb on June 26.
"The possibility of world records in two unique classes makes my father and I really excited about the team's prospects for this year," said Rhys.
Both race cars use production engine blocks, heads, and valve train from the Hyundai-developed Lambda V6 engine family as core building blocks for their phenomenal race-worthy performance and durability.
"Breaking into the 9's has been a dream of mine for the last 10 years," said Rhys, a professional race driver and founder of Rhys Millen Racing. "With the precise technical adjustments we made to the PM580 this year, coupled with the increase in tarmac near the course summit, the prospect of another world record is better than ever. We plan on being the fastest car up the hill and getting the world record back in the family name, the Millen name."
Rhys Millen and his team make an ideal match to help bolster Hyundai's increasing motorsports effort with the Genesis Coupe and Veloster. His driving credentials include movie stunts, multiple drifting championships, a 2009 Pikes Peak world record and an outrageous New Year's Eve Las Vegas truck flip. As always, Millen's success in the driver's seat is fully supported by a team of talented engineers, technicians and fabricators that know how to maximize every nuance of a world class race car.
For 2011, the team has made a number of technical improvements to the PM580 racecar to further maximize its world-beating potential. The differential type was changed from a gear-driven torsen type to a clutch-plate type, resulting in more consistent transitional characteristics accelerating out of corners.
The power steering unit was replaced by an OEM Hyundai Sonata motor-driven unit that provides the ideal amount of boost and precision. Transmission calibrations were refined with new sensors and a tuned software package. Dampers were dynographed to be more precisely matched to final spring rates for optimal precision and control.
The tires, provided by Hankook, have larger contact patches and offer a softer racing compound appropriate for the increased tarmac on the course. Finally, numerous aerodynamic improvements were made to produce an even corner-balancing effect at speed, with a new front splitter, rear wing, and optimized intercooler scoop.
The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, which began in 1916, is America's second oldest motor sports race behind the Indy 500. The race is staged on a 12.42 mile course with 156 turns. It begins at 9,390 feet and ends at the famous mountain's 14,110 foot summit above Colorado Springs.
A featured event along with the race is the popular "Fan Fest," which takes place on Friday evening, June 24, in downtown Colorado Springs, with more than 30,000 fans on hand to meet the competitors, see the autos and motorcycles, and enjoy music, food and entertainment.
Ticket prices begin at $40.00, with a Family Four-Pack available at $125.00 and VIP admission priced at $80.00. Tickets, limited camping permits and all other race information is available at www.ppihc.com