2016 Pikes Peak Hill Climb: Practice Day 1

The Race to the Clouds is officially underway.

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The first sanctioned practice session of the 2016 Pikes Peak Hill Climb began yesterday, marking the 100th anniversary since the Race to the Clouds first ran in 1916. Things have changed quite a bit since that first race when Rea Lentz won with a time of 20:55.60. The course is fully paved now, and the cars are significantly quicker. The goal, however, is still the same: complete the 12.42 mile, 156-turn course as quickly as possible.

There are plenty of familiar names and faces returning for 2016, first and foremost being Rhys Millen, who will be looking to defend his overall win in last year's event in his electric-powered Drive e0 PP100. Rhys' father Rod will be making a return to Pikes Peak in his 1994 Toyota Celica, which held the overall record at the mountain for more than twenty years. Rod won't officially be competing in the Celica, but he made a few exhibition runs on the lower portion of the course yesterday morning and will hopefully be doing the same on Sunday during the race.

Millen's most likely competition on race day will be Romain Dumas, who is fresh off an overall victory at Le Mans with Porsche. Dumas will be driving his Norma M20 RD Limited in the Unlimited class, and will be hoping to get the overall victory that he so narrowly missed in 2012. We also wouldn't count out Nobuhiro "Monster" Tajima, running his electric-powered E-RUNNER, or Paul Dallenbach, who has brought out yet another winged V8-powered beast to run in the Unlimited class. We'll also be keeping an eye on the Acura NSX 4-Motor EV Concept, which ran some pretty competitive times alongside Millen in the electric class.

Stay tuned over the next several days for plenty of photos of this year's Pikes Peak Hill Climb. We'll be covering each of the practice days and bringing you news and results from each session. For now, check out a gallery of photos from yesterday morning.

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