2011 Nissan Leaf – Click above for high-res image gallery

"With electric automobiles popping up like dandelions across the landscape of American driving, it's no surprise that they will be part of the field at the 89th Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on June 26."

So says the press release you'll find waiting for your prying eyes after the break. While it's true that we're not exactly surprised that an electric car will make its way up to the top of the historic hill – there was, after all, a dedicated electric vehicle class for 2010 – we are a little curious whether a completely stock Nissan Leaf has any chance of dethroning current EV Hill Climb record holder Ikuo Hanawa of Japan.

Certainly, Leaf driver Chad Hord knows what he's doing, as he currently pilots an off-road racing truck in the TORC series. In any case, we'll find out soon enough if the Leaf's 110 horsepower and 90-mile-per-hour top speed has the stuff to hang with the purpose-built EV racers; Hanawa will again contest the championship in his Concept two-wheel drive 2010 Custom Summit HER-02.

Oh, and about that dandelion thing... those are generally unwanted guests of those who actually care about keeping a lush carpet of green in their yards. Maybe not the way lovers of automotive greenery want to think of their rides, eh? Check out the complete press release after the break for all the details, and spend a few minutes watching Hanawa's record-setting HER-02 do its thing on the Peak.

[Source: Pikes Peak International Hill Climb]

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Chad Hord Will Pilot New All-Electric Nissan Leaf At The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb On June 26

Colorado Springs, April 25----------With electric automobiles popping up like dandelions across the landscape of American driving, it's no surprise that they will be part of the field at the 89th Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on June 26.

The latest entrant in the Electric Division is professional racer Chad Hord (Felch, Michigan), who will be driving a stock 2011 Nissan Leaf at Pikes Peak, with its high response 110 hp, 80kW AC synchronous electric motor capable of delivering speeds as much as 90 miles per hour.

The all-electric Nissan Leaf was named the 2011 World Car of The Year at the New York Auto Show on Thursday last week.

The Leaf, which went on sale in the United States in December and is also available in Japan and Europe, beat the BMW 5-Series and the Audi A8 for the top spot.

Hord's competition on the mountain this year is the returning Electric champion, Ikuo Hanawa of Japan, who will drive his Concept two-wheel drive 2010 Custom Summit HER-02 model again this summer.

His Yokohama tire equipped EV won the Electric Exhibition class with a time of 13:17:575, a 93-second improvement over its time from 2009. That mark shattered the previous Pikes Peak EV record, set by Jeri Unser in 2003, by 65 seconds.

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

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