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Legendary drift and race driver experiences teething problems in first outing with new car, plans to return and conquer the hill climb in 2011
Photos courtesy of Autoblog, click here for Drew Phillips’ outstanding coverage of the race
After four months of intense engineering and fabrication, the Rhys Millen Racing Hyundai-powered PM580 made its debut on the asphalt and dirt mountain known around the world as Pikes Peak the last weekend in June. Millen had more than professional pride at stake: his goal was to recapture the overall record for his family, as his father Rod dominated the hill for 13 yeard before Japan’s Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima became king of the mountain in 1997.
We were thrilled and honored when RMR approached us and asked for a custom set of strong, lightweight forged HRE Competition Series wheels for the PM580. From the custom spoke design to the titanium hardware, these three-piece wheels were designed to reduce unsprung weight and maximize performance while providing incredible strength for a car designed to race on both asphalt and dirt.
When the dust cleared on the 2010 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, Monster retained his title with a scorching 10:01.41 run up the hill. Millen’s freshly completed car experienced some teething problems and prevented him from capturing the record. Despite that fact, Rhys is determined to come back in 2011 with his eyes set squarely on breaking the nine minute barrier and securing the title for his family. In the meantime, we applaud the Southern California racer’s incredible grit and determination to attempt such an impressive undertaking in such a shockingly short timeframe, and we look forward to being a part of the effort next year.
In the meantime, Drew Phillips was on the scene and wrote a fantastic story about the event for Autoblog, which you can read here.
Here’s an excerpt:
As I ran over with a crowd toward Millen’s car, we immediately knew the run hadn’t been a success by the grimace on Millen’s face. He explained the delay in his run as well as the various troubles he experienced on the way up the mountain: “The transponder wouldn’t work, so they were (having me go) backwards and forwards, backwards and forwards, and they had to pull the whole car apart to put a transponder on there.” He continued, “our shift mechanism doesn’t like to shift at a high RPM and I was pushing the car harder than I had. It went into a neutral mode off the second corner. I literally had to come to a stop and restart again. That kind of frustrated me a bit. I spun shortly after that, and then we lost the brakes at the W’s. So I just had to be really gingery just to get it up here in one piece.”
Despite his troubles, Millen managed to stay positive and looked forward to next year’s event. “This year was the first year for the car up here, and I’m so happy for the crew for Hyundai and Red Bull. Exercise number one was push the engine to the limits, and we did that. It’s been rock solid all week long. We didn’t have enough time to tune the chassis. Now we’ve got 12 months. The competition better watch out next year.”
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