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This weekend marked the 89th running of Pike's Peak International Hill Climb and the last year that the historic race would feature a gravel section. Over 140 entrants challenged themselves and their machines on the way up the 13 mile climb and battled it out on one of the most grueling race courses in the world. The excitement surrounding this year's race was focused on one class in particular, the Unlimited cars and their goal to break the 10 minute barrier.
On Sunday June 26, 2011, Nobuhiro "Monster" Tajima did just that. From start to finish spectators and fellow racers were cheering Monster on to an incredible record setting run of 9:51.278, which is now the fastest time any driver has ever gone up the mountain. Monster's Suzuki SX4 nearly overheated near the top as it spewed water and coolant all the way up the peak, but the car stayed alive just long enough to finish. HRE is quite proud to have our powder blue P43S wheels on Monster's record setting machine along with second place finisher Rhys Millen in his Hyundai powered PM-580.
For the second year in a row, mechanical issues caused Millen to run far slower than he's capable. Millen's brakes gave out with around four miles left in the course, which would be a game-ending occurence for lesser drivers. Rhys plugged on, and passed the finish line with a still impressive 10:09.30. The PM-580 also featured a set of HRE's this year along with his RMR teammate Marcus Dodd in the Rallycross prepped Hyundai Veloster.
The official press release along with a video of Monster's world record run is below:
“MONSTER” CONQUERS PIKES PEAK ON HRE WHEELS
Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima shatters the 10-minute barrier and sets new record with Rhys Millen placing second at the world-famous hill climb, both running HRE Wheels.
San Diego, Calif. (June 28, 2011) – More than two decades after his first appearance on the fabled mountain road, Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima shattered the 10-minute barrier and set a new course record at the 89th Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. This stunning victory – achieved in a race-spec GoPro Suzuki SX4 Hill Climb Special equipped with HRE Monoblok Wheels – concluded an epic race between Tajima and drift star Rhys Millen, who placed second in his custom built Hyundai-powered RMR PM580 racer, also equipped with HRE forged wheels.
Tajima, who first claimed the title for fastest time to the Peak in 2007 from Millen’s father, legendary driver Rod Millen, had his eyes fixed on the 10-minute mark since the conclusion of last year’s race. As his run up the mountain under clear Colorado skies reached the halfway point, his 910-horsepower Suzuki began to experience cooling system problems, but the man called Monster continued unabated and completed the 12.4 mile, 156-turn course in 9 minutes, 51.278 seconds.
Immediately after the record-breaking run, the 60 year old Japanese driver was beaming, enjoying a victory 22 years in the making. Prior to the race, Tajima avoided speculation and drama but belied a quiet confidence as he and his crew prepped the blue and white Suzuki equipped with HRE P43S “Tajima Specials” Monoblok wheels for its run up a legendary mountain road that will be paved by this time next year, altering the nature of the race forever.
Formula Drift and Rallycross star Rhys Millen placed second in the Unlimited Class with a 10:09.24 and Jean Philippe Dayraut placed third in 10:17.77.
“We are thrilled to be a part of Monster’s record breaking run,” said HRE Wheels President Alan Peltier. “Pikes Peak is a true test of both man and machine, and Tajima’s skill behind the wheel and sheer determination is nothing short of amazing. Monster, his crew, and our partners at Suzuki, GoPro, Falken Tire and Mobil 1 should all be commended. At HRE our commitment to designing and engineering the strongest and lightest wheels possible was recognized by the fact that both Monster and Rhys Millen chose our wheels for such a historic competition. To then be a part of Monster breaking the record is a huge source of pride for the entire HRE team.”
About HRE Performance Wheels
HRE designs, engineers and manufactures 3-piece and 1-piece forged aluminum wheels for Racing, Performance & Luxury cars and SUV's in its San Diego, California-based, TÜV-approved facility. HRE’s bespoke wheel sets offer a customized choice of offsets, widths and finishes, resulting in a uniquely personal style and performance solution for each customer’s application. HRE wheels are sold through select high-end car dealerships, specialty retailers and performance companies worldwide. For more information, visit www.hrewheels.com or call (760) 598-1960.