• Jul 19th 2009 at 8:11PM
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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.

[Source: Hyundai]


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.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      Glad to see your coverage of Pikes Peak: - Your readers may enjoy hearing the quick interview we did with Rhys Millen as his car was heading into tech inspection before his attack of the this year's Pikes Peak International Hill Climb


      Thanks very much !

      JDM Life
      • 6 Years Ago
      Hyundai or Honda ?
        • 6 Years Ago
        @JDM Life
        Did the massive Hyundai badge not tip you off?
        • 6 Years Ago
        @JDM Life
        As in you don't make any sense.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Congrats Rhys and Hyundai! Now lets get this type of result in Formula D...
      • 6 Years Ago
      "14,110-foot summit of Pikes Peak" Crazy
        • 6 Years Ago
        To be fair, recent, more accurate GPS readings have placed the summit at 14,115ft. :-)

        Still takes your breath away either way I guess.
      • 6 Years Ago
      down to the belts in 12 miles? damn!

      ive been meaning to go down to the pikes peak race for a few years. next year i guess!
        • 6 Years Ago
        Do It!

        I had never been to the race either, despite being a native and this year, I decided to finally go. It was an awesome time. Just make sure to pack for all 4 seasons since the weather can change quickly and dramatically.

        Great experience, though I will be looking for a better vantage point next year. I've got a few areas scouted out already.
      • 6 Years Ago
      this event MUST get covered on Speed.... was it? Did I miss it?

      Maybe Discovery Channel will pick up the slack
      and bring this to us in HD.

      I'll probably never make it out there to see it in person
      but 12 minutes up a mtn... and the tires are gone....
      that's sick.

      Congrats to all the competitors
      and to Rhys on his new record.
      • 6 Years Ago
      this is the first i have heard of quads competing in hill climbs

      what other classes are there? motorcycles?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Those quads are amazingly quick as well, power:weight FTW!

        The other classes can be found here: http://www.ppihc.com/content.aspx?tabid=2&contentid=165

        There are plenty of motorcycle classes and they actually make up about half or more of the entries. They also race them together as opposed to solo like the cars do. Lots of exciting racing there with plenty of passing as well.

        There was even an electric entry this year, not sure what the time was, but it was much quieter than I expected an electric racer to be. It even had a siren on it to warn people that it was coming.

        I was told by a couple of sidecar racers who broke down in front of us that the electric car actually had a large block of dry ice on the motor to keep it cool. They had a bit of a laugh that the dry ice(frozen CO2) pretty much counterracted the lack of CO2 release by the electric motor.
        • 6 Years Ago
        What's amazing to me is that the 450 quad was only 8 seconds slower than a full-tilt race car over a 12-mile+ course!
      • 6 Years Ago
      thanks for the explanation ls2/ls7
      • 6 Years Ago
      That Rhys Millen Genesis Coupe has about as much to do with the stock car as a WRC car has to do with the production version. Chassis, engine block... that's about it. That said, the GC is a nice car - looks good inside and out, it handles better than I can drive, and the V6 sounds and feels nice!
      • 6 Years Ago
      how did the 1100hp ford rs200 do?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Division: Unlimited
        Driver Name Number Vehicle Glen Cove Sixteen Mile Finish Line
        Nobuhiro Tajima 1 2009 Suzuki SX4 04:34.100 07:08.458 10:15.368
        Marcus Gronholm/ Timo Alanne 3 2009 Ford Fiesta 04:50.397 07:34.078 11:28.963
        Mark Rennison 200 1984 Ford RS 200 05:26.302 08:25.241 12:11.561
      • 6 Years Ago
      i don't know much about the PP Hill climb so can someone explain the tire wear issue?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Explanation for tire wear? Read the press release:

        "Millen utilized the Genesis Coupe's rear-drive layout to its full potential, power-sliding his Genesis Coupe ..."
        • 6 Years Ago
        Before I had stated that I was on a left turn after Glen Cove. I guess I wasn't thinking straight, it was surely a right hand turn. I also uploaded video of Rhys driving past where I watched the race at. You can view it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Jt0RLUM6eY
        • 6 Years Ago
        Look at the pics... He is clearly sliding on the asphalt as well. He is a Formula D drifter and want to show off and promote the car, not set any records.

        Although he did set a record so there must not be many good cars in that class.
        • 6 Years Ago
        You can't tell which direction the vehicle is moving in that pic. You assume the vehicle is heading down the road parallel to the yellow line, I expect actually he's driving toward the edge of the road with no slip, using the out-in-out line.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Basically it all comes down to Graham Chapman's mantra. If your car doesn't break down as it crosses the finish line, you built it too strong. So no matter how easy the course would be on tires (it's not particularly easy on them), they'll just keep putting on softer and softer (grippier and grippier) tires until they run into a compound that barely makes it, simply because they can.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I was at the Hill Climb yesterday, I can absolutely assure you that Rhys was tailsliding on the asphalt sections. I was sitting right in front of one of them on a left turn right outside of Glen Cove. I have a video of it even. I might upload it when I get back home. It was definitely one of the larger slides of the day that I saw on that corner.

        Now, surely he's not treating it like a drifting competition, but that much power, that many turns and tires made for both asphalt and dirt, will(and did) equal powerslides.

        Kind of disappointing to only see 1 of the Unlimited Fiestas go and I was actually pulling for the RS200 to have a good time, but Monster is just an amazing force to be reckoned with.

        Rhys claims that he wants to challenge Tajima and take back the record for the Millen family name. Seems like he's got the talent to do it, just needs a vehicle to get him there.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Congrats Rhys. Good job Hyundai.
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