Pikes Peak, Colorado, August 29, 2012 – Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) completed the 2012 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC) held in Colorado, United States from August 7 to August 12 with two 100% electric-powered entries – the i-MiEV Evolution (specially-built racecar) and the Mitsubishi i (North American version of the i-MiEV).
Getting to the starting line
Hiroshi Masuoka, Team Principal of Mitsubishi Motors and driver of the i-MiEV Evolution, finished second in the Electric Vehicle class with a time of 10:30.850. He was the eighth overall fastest in a field of 170 cars. This was the first time that the Japanese driver and the team competed in the 2012 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.
Masuoka on the way up
Off the start line, Masuoka displayed tremendous pace. The electric vehicle’s instant torque and powerful acceleration meant that Masuoka did not waste much time getting up to speed. He split the first timing beam in 1:56.862. By then, Masuoka had already raced a distance of more than 11 kilometres and had climbed more than 2,500 feet above the starting line.
By the end of the race, Masuoka had tackled 156 corners, raced a distance of 20 kilometres and finished 4,720 feet above where he started.
“I am very happy to finish the race. I want to thank the crew, engineers and the team for putting the car back together. The car felt fantastic and I was able to push the performance to the edge,” said an elated Hiroshi Masuoka. “It is a great finish for the whole team. I am pleased with the result.”
Production Mitsubishi i finishes sixth
His teammate, Beccy Gordon who drove the production i-MiEV also finished the race. Her i-MiEV completed the climb in 15:10.557. She proved that the i-MiEV possessed the capability and performance to climb Pikes Peak, one of the most challenging races in the world.
Beccy’s primary objective was to finish the race, which would enable the Mitsubishi’s engineers to gather data. The data will be used to further improve the i-MiEV as well as the research and development of future Mitsubishi EV models.
Beccy Gordon, the driver of the production Mitsubishi i looked back at the event and said “I am very excited about both cars making it to the top in this very difficult Hill Climb. The Mitsubishi i proved its impressive performance by climbing the steep hills from the start to finish line without any reduction in performance. It was a lot of fun driving this electric vehicle, and it was a great challenge that made me realize the further prospects of electric vehicles in the future.”
Being the only female in her class, Beccy drove a strong race. The i-MiEV performed steadily as both car and driver navigated the snaking road that led up to the peak. It started to rain once Beccy reached 12,760 feet above sea level, a point also known as the ‘Bottomless Pit’.
“As soon as I got to the Bottomless Pit, it started raining so that was a damper on my time. But the car was perfect all the way up,” said a happy Beccy Gordon. “I had plenty of battery left once I got to the top so I know I could’ve pushed a lot harder. But I am really excited to get to the finish line, especially to see Hiroshi finish with such a great time.”
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About Pikes Peak International Hill Climb
The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb competition is a time trial event for automobiles and motorcycles held annually at Colorado Springs, Colorado around Independence Day weekend and attracts over 150 competitors every year.
The very first event was held in 1916 and it is the second oldest motorsports event held in the United States following the famed Indianapolis 500.
Pikes Peak is located in the Rocky Mountains just 16 miles west of Colorado Springs. The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is a unique time trial competition commencing at an elevation of 9,390 feet, with the race course winding its way around the mountain, all the way up to the finish line located at a sky-high 14,110 foot elevation mark.
The course length of 12.42 miles consists of 156 corners, and with an average climb gradient of 7%, it imposes extraordinarily challenging driving conditions upon the driver while navigating up the mountain.
Additionally, due to the great elevation change from the start line to the finish line (a climb of 4,720 feet), dealing with temperature, air pressure, weather and other atmospheric conditions adds to the unique challenges of this intense competition. Compact in size yet amazingly space efficient and structurally sound, the 2012 North American-spec Mitsubishi i-MiEV 100% electric-powered vehicle is based on a platform that has served tens of thousands of consumers well in markets around the globe.
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