A pair of Mitsubishi’s MiEV Evolution III all-electric prototype racecars placed first and second within the Electric Modified division in the 92st running of the famous Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on Sunday. Six-time PPIHC motorcycle champion Greg Tracy finished ahead of his teammate and two-time Dakar Rally winner Hiroshi Masuoka. Last year’s winner Nobuhiro Tajima ranked third after a troubled race.
Finishing a mere 2.4 seconds behind overall 2014 Pikes Peak race winner Romain Dumas and his gasoline-powered Le Mans sports car prototype, the stage has been set for highly energy-efficient and sustainable electric-powered vehicles to soon become the dominant force in this challenging one-of-a-kind motorsport competition.
American Greg Tracy powered his way to overall victory in the Electric Vehicle division with time of 9 minutes 8.188 seconds which was a new record for the category. Tracy is the first participant in the event’s long-running history to record a sub-10 minute lap time in both two-wheel as well as four-wheel racing categories.
“The Mitsubishi Motors team prepared a fantastic car for me. This victory was truly a team effort,” said Tracy. “I want to thank the team and also Masuoka-san for developing such a phenomenal racing machine in the MiEV Evolution III.”
Japanese rally racing legend Hiroshi Masuoka recorded an excellent runner-up finish just behind teammate Tracy in the Electric Vehicle division with a time of 9 minutes 12.204 seconds.
“First of all, I would like to congratulate Greg on winning the Electric Vehicle division – he drove the MiEV Evolution III spectacularly and definitely deserves this win,” said a gracious Masuoka. “I could not deliver an outright win, but I am proud to be a part of our excellent 1-2 finish. What’s more, as a team principal in addition to being a driver, it’s great to see our young and upcoming engineers excel in this racing program as they will play a key role in Mitsubishi Motors’ development of electric vehicle (EV) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) technology in future vehicles.”
Tajima was disappointed as he suffered technical issues. The temperature increase caused the onboard protection system to engage and slowed the vehicle down. Despite this problem the Japanese veteran finished third in the Electrive Vehicle division.
“Yes of course, I am disappointed that I did not win”, said Tajima. However I am greatly pleased that our work in promoting electric vehicles have raised so much awareness that even a major motor company such as Mitsubishi Motor is inspired to win the race at full force. Now Tesla, Toyota, and Honda are also participating in the electric car division. I am hoping that this movement would catch more speed where the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb race would be known as the forefront of tackling the environmental problems we face today. I give kudos to the Mitsubishi Motor Team that have won this merciless race. Congratulations! Finally, I would like to thank all our sponsors and supporters from the deep bottom of my heart and appreciate all the cheers from all.”
Ikuo Hanawa ranked fourth after completing his hill climb in 12 minutes 18.019 seconds, while Janis Horeliks took the Drive eO Tesla Roadster 360 kW uphill in just under thirteen minutes.
Electric Production driver Steve Wickham wrecked early in his run and was taken off the mountain by ambulance, and his status was also unknown at race conclusion.
Pikes Peak International Hill Climb results, Electric Modified division:
|1||Greg Tracy||Mitsubishi MiEV Evolution III||09:08.188|
|2||Hiroshi Masuoka||Mitsubishi MiEV Evolution III||09.12.204|
|3||Nobuhiro Tajima||Tajima Motors||09:37 (unofficial)|
|4||Ikuo Hanawa||Summit HER-02||12:18.019|
|5||Janis Horeliks||Tesla Roadster 360||12:57.536|