Above the tree line -- Rod Millen Shoots For 10-Minute Barrier

78th Running of the "Race to the Clouds" Date: July 4, 2000 Broadcast: July 23, 2000 11:30 p.m. ET ESPN Live Radio Webcast: www.krdotv.com Race Length: 12.42 miles Number of Turns: 156 ...

78th Running of the "Race to the Clouds"

Date:                   July 4, 2000
Broadcast:              July 23, 2000  11:30 p.m. ET ESPN
Live Radio Webcast:     www.krdotv.com
Race Length:            12.42 miles
Number of Turns:        156 turns
Elevation Start:        9,402 feet
Elevation Finish:       14,110 feet
1999 Overall Winner:    Rod Millen - 10:11.15
Overall Record:         Rod Millen - 10:04.06 (1994)

What to look for at Pikes Peak:

The Early Bird Breaks the Barrier - Since 1994, Rod Millen and Toyota have attempted to break the illusive 10-minute barrier with their Unlimited Class Toyota Celica ('94-'97) and now Toyota Tacoma ('98-'00). In fact, the team has set the event's overall record at 10:04.06 - only a couple heart beats away from the achieving its goal.

As the fastest and most exotic group, the Unlimited Class has taken the green flag after every other car in the competition has met the summit - typically at about 2 p.m. In the Colorado Springs area, intermittent thundershowers are a very common occurrence in the July months after 2 p.m. These showers have caused Millen to decrease his speed on the 12.42-mile dirt-road course due to slippery conditions.

This year, however, the Pikes Peak Hill Climb Association has moved the Unlimited Class to start at 11:30 a.m., giving Toyota and Millen a great chance to beat the clock.

Alone at the top - For 2000, Millen's biggest rival, Nobuhiro Tajima will not be competing in the Unlimited Class. Instead, Tajima will bring a new vehicle to the Pikes Peak Open Class. While the overall title is still up for grabs, the six-year rivalry for the class title has ended.

What about that truck? This year's Pennzoil/Toyota Tacoma will feature at Toyota Racing Development, four-cylinder, dual overhead cam, turbo charged, fuel injected powerplant producing about 1000 hp at sea level. It will also sport BFGoodridge Experimental Comp T/A tires with BBS Wheels and Brembo breaks. The pigs, sheep and chicken painted on the back of the truck at last year's event have been dropped off at the farm and won't be making the trip up to 14,110 feet mountain again this year.

Rod Millen Quotes:

"With so many corners and drop-offs, it is extremely important that I feel comfortable with the handling of the Toyota truck. The more comfortable I feel, the more speed I can extract from the truck. We've done some refinement testing, and made some minor handling and balance changes."

"I am really happy that the Hill Climb Association moved the start time to 11:30 a.m., it should help a lot. Outside of the fact that we've had problems with the rain late in the afternoon, as the day progresses, the road conditions seem to get more slippery. Running earlier should be really good for us."

"I'm disappointed to see Tajima drop out of the Unlimited Class. We've had six good years of competition together. Our first goal, however, is to beat the 10-minute barrier."

"After the hill climb event, we will focus our sights back on our CORR (Championship Off Road Racing) program and winning the championship with our Toyota Tundra."

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About this article
Series Hillclimb
Drivers Rod Millen , Nobuhiro Tajima
Teams Toyota Racing