Rhys Millen's Hyundai Genesis Coupe at Pikes Peak - Click above for high-res image gallery

The 2009 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is in the books. Reigning king of the hill Nobuhiro "Monster" Tajima again took top honors in the unlimited class but failed to break his own record with the new Suzuki SX4 hill-climb special. In fact, he fell 14 seconds shy of his record 2007 run with a 10:15.368. He did manage to beat Marcus Gronholm and Timo Alanne in one of Ford's Rallycross Fiestas, which only managed an 11:28.963 as it crossed the line with its right rear tire in flames.

One of two categories that did see records broken was the 2WD Time Attack for production-based cars. Here, Rhys Millen found that the confidence he gained from his practice runs earlier in the week was not misplaced. In his 17th run at Pikes Peak, Millen covered the 12.4 mile course to the 14,110-foot summit in 12 minutes, 9.397 seconds. His Hyundai Genesis Coupe crossed the line with its rear tires worn down to the steel belts, but at least they weren't burning.

The other record set was in the Motorcycle quad 450 class, where Michael Coburn covered the course on his Honda 450 in 12 minutes, 18.858 seconds.

Related GalleryRhys Millen Hyundai Genesis Coupe at Pikes Peak 2009

[Source: Hyundai]


RED BULL HYUNDAI GENESIS COUPE AND RHYS MILLEN SET WORLD RECORD TO TAKE PIKES PEAK TIME ATTACK TITLE


World Champion Driver Rhys Millen Claims Ninth Mountain Win


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., July 19, 2009 – The 87th Annual Pikes Peak International Hill Climb has a new world record holder today - the Rhys Millen Racing Red Bull Hyundai Genesis Coupe. World Champion driver Rhys Millen piloted the Genesis Coupe to his ninth overall class title, breaking one of his two world records in 17 trips to the Hill Climb.

"Driving the Genesis Coupe for the first time at Pikes Peak in front of thousands of fans is an amazing experience," said Millen. "Nothing compares to the pressure and thrill of Pikes Peak while competing against yourself for the record."

Millen set the record time of 12 minutes, 9 seconds (12:09.397) more than 1 minute and 23 seconds faster than his nearest competitor in the rear-wheel-drive Time Attack Class. At the finish line on the summit of Pikes Peak, Millen reported that the car that never skipped a beat, no matter how hard he challenged the diverse terrain and high altitude, and finished with both rear tires down to steel belts. Millen utilized the Genesis Coupe's rear-drive layout to its full potential, power-sliding his Genesis Coupe mere inches away from guard rails, trees and 2,000-foot cliffs, while besting his own record of 12 minutes, 31.61 seconds by 22 seconds.

The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is the second oldest motor sports race in America, second only to the Indianapolis 500, and a long-standing tradition in Colorado Springs. First run in 1916, this year marks the 87th running of the thrilling "Race to the Clouds."

The race is run on a course with 156 turns that begins at 9,390 feet and finishes at the oxygen-depleted 14,110-foot summit of Pikes Peak. As the drivers climb toward the summit, the thin air slows reflexes and saps muscle strength. The thin air also robs engines of up to 30 percent of their power at the summit. It's a true test of endurance for competitors and vehicles.
This year the race has 11 classes and features a variety of automotive, semi-truck, exhibition, open wheel, super stock car, pro truck and motorcycle classes with a field approaching 200 competitors.

With more than 16 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 racer by taking first 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.

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 recent 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.

Millen had his first opportunity to test drive the Genesis Coupe's performance credentials when he performed precision driving for the car's debut advertising campaign airing during Super Bowl XLIII. Millen flogged a Genesis Coupe for a full three days during the filming process at Road Atlanta racetrack, and the car never stopped asking for more.