August 10, 2012, Colorado Springs, CO - The last day of practice for the reigning Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Champion Nobuhiro "Monster" Tajima took place along the highest section of the twisty route to the summit. Tajima's newly debuted electric vehicle had been setting some top times over the last two days of practice, and the third day was to be no different.
An early start meant chilly conditions near the top, but Monster was feeling confident: "It's very cold right now, but last year was even colder, so I'm happy [with the current conditions]." In theory, electric vehicles are more resilient to changes in temperature and altitude than their gasoline-powered counterparts, as they do not rely on air to fuel internal combustion. This left Tajima free to concentrate on feeling his new steed out. After two practice runs, he states, "The settings between my first two runs are not so different. The only difference is that this morning on my first run, I was driving gently. Now I'm pushing a little because I'm more confident now."
Experience counts along the final section of the route, as it is the fastest of all. The high speeds mean the driving lines must be very precise; a small mistake usually ends in a large time loss or even a severe accident. Tajima has been coming to Pikes Peak for over 20 years, and his confidence along the uppermost section left him wondering how the new car would measure up with the old. To find out, Tajima took several practice runs, and by the last run, he felt confident enough to back off and conserve the car for Sunday's race.
At the end of the run, the dark, chilly morning ended in blue skies over the summit. Tajima summarized the last three days of practice: "The car is fantastic because it is not loud, there is no vibration, and the handling is fantastic, so it's like driving a five-star hotel!"
Source: Team APEV with Monster Sport