The STILLEN GT-R tearing up the New Zealand countryside – Click above to watch video after the jump
Any discussion involving one's favorite racer invariably includes names like Senna, Schumacher, Earnhardt and Andretti. But one name that doesn't come up often enough is Steve Millen. Though brother Rod, a legend in his own right, and nephew Rhys get a lot of ink, it's Steve that deserves some time in the spotlight.
Steve Millen has raced a slew of different vehicles in a variety of motorsports, beginning in 1969 when he took up hill climbing before quickly moving over to a Formula Ford car and after that, rally-racing. During the '80s, Millen switched to stadium trucks where he was the 1986, 1988 and 1989 Mickey Thompson Off-Road Grand Prix National champion. In the process, he also found time to win two Indy Lights races during the inaugural season in 1986. But all that racing is peanuts compared to what Steve got himself into in 1990.
Keep reading... The International Motor Sports Association, or IMSA, came calling and Millen was ready for it. In his first season he took five poles and won three races, and was also named the 24 Hours of LeMans Rookie of the Year. As a follow-up in 1991, he grabbed seven poles and earned five first place victories, going on to win the whole series in 1992. A year later Millen won the 12 Hours of Sebring before a crash ended his 1993 IMSA season. But that crash wouldn't keep him away and Steve returned to win the 1994 IMSA championship – the same year he won the 24 Hours of Daytona, added another 12 Hours of Sebring title and placed first in his class at the 24 Hours of LeMans (5th overall).
While 1994 was good, 1995 started off the same way with Steve winning yet another 12 Hours of Sebring and working on another IMSA championship. Road Atlanta had other plans for Millen. A career-ending crash meant Steve had to walk away from racing, but he left as the winningest driver in IMSA GT history, racking up a total of 20 victories and a record 23 poles.
If you've ever had the pleasure of meeting Steve Millen, you know his relationship with cars and making them go fast could never end at Road Atlanta. In 1986, Millen started his own after-market performance shop called Stillen, which manufacturers an endless list of parts for a variety of vehicles. Not content to simply sit back and enjoy the fruits of his business, Steve still manages to get in quite a few cars and drive the wheels off them, and most recently, he took his highly modified Nissan GT-R and stuck it on a ship heading for New Zealand.
Going back to his home land, along with his crew from STILLEN, Steve ran the 2010 Targa New Zealand, a five day rally that challenges drivers for hundreds of kilometers. The scenery may be beautiful but the roads are incredibly challenging. Steve and his co-driver managed to earn a third place victory both for his class and overall.
Check out Steve Millen behind the wheel of his STILLEN GT-R, in the video clip below. Also, be sure to read Kyle Millen's (Steve's son) blog updates from Targa New Zealand, which can be found at Blog.STILLEN.com.