Rhys Millen claimed yet another world record and overall victory at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on Sunday. Millen set a blazing pace to the summit in his hillclimb-prepared Hyundai Genesis Coupe racecar, needing only 9:46.164 to make international motorsports’ most challenging ascent over 4300 metres (14,000 feet). For 2012, Millen’s own race team, Rhys Millen Racing (RMR), made additional performance enhancements to the current world-record-setting Genesis Coupe, the very same sports car that set the Time Attack 2WD record last year with Rhys’ father, Rod Millen, at the wheel.
“This year, it really came together for the RMR team at Pikes,” said Millen. “With the insights gained from the last few years in our Genesis Coupe, the team was able to make some high-impact improvements, leveraging additional downforce and traction opportunities provided by the new all-tarmac surface. And behind the wheel, my experience at Pikes Peak over the years allowed me to shave a few tenths from virtually every corner. Breaking the 10-minute barrier is something I’ve always wanted to do, and it feels great to accomplish this goal in 2012.”
Not content to rest on their laurels from last years’ victory, the RMR team held nothing back in race preparation for this year’s effort. Special focus was given to maximising the grip potential of the new all-tarmac course and its considerably higher average speeds. A new aero package was fitted, targeting even more downforce to accommodate higher speeds and additional grip requirements of new, ultra-wide, staggered fitment Hankook F200 racing slicks on custom HRE lightweight wheels. The front splitter was redesigned for more strength and the rear wing was redesigned for additional downforce, along with a wider rear body kit for stability. On the power side, a new Garrett GTX3582 Turbocharger was fitted, yielding an amazing 522 kW (700 horsepower) and 949 Nm (700 lb. ft.) of torque from the Hyundai V6 powerplant. To handle this extra power, the brake calipers were upgraded for extra thermal capacity, and additional cooling ductwork was installed to ensure optimal brake performance at the summit’s extreme altitudes. The entire car was scrutinised for weight reduction potential and suspension settings were further optimised for Millen’s unique rally/drift driving techniques.
Rhys Millen Racing has been the team to contend with in recent years at Pikes Peak. In 2011, Rhys nearly broke the famed 10-minute barrier in his dedicated PM580 tubeframe hillclimb racer. In a classic father/son family effort, Rhys’ father, Rod Millen, set the current record in the same Genesis Coupe, having recently celebrated his 60th birthday, even beating a Porsche 911 GT2 RS. In 2009, Rhys had set the world record for Time Attack 2WD in the Genesis Coupe, the beginning of a world-record-setting dynasty for the RMR team.