Nobuhiro 'Monster' Tajima will race his 670 horsepower Super 86 hillclimb car at the re-born Repco Race to the Sky later this month in New Zealand.
Tajima, already an eight-time Race to the Sky winner, will pilot his purpose-built Toyota GT86 hillclimb car up the 14.5 kilometre gravel course. The ‘Super 86’ makes 670 horsepower from it’s mid-mounted, 2977cc twin turbo V6 engine.
“Of all of the gravel hillclimbs, this is number one, and now that it is the longest in the world it makes it even more special,” said Tajima.
“The course is fantastic. Yes it is very tough but the safety is great and the views are amazing.
“I’ve held the title of King of the Hill eight times now, so I need two more to make it 10.”
McRae hoping to spoil Monster's party
Tajima’s toughest competition is likely to come from Alistair McRae. The Scot is set to race the Subaru WRX STi that New Zealand rally legend Possum Bourne used to win the 2001 Race to the Sky event, with the ex-WRC machine making about 750 horsepower in hillclimb specification.
Bourne was killed in a road accident during preparations for the 2003 Race to the Sky.
“I knew Possum; it’s a long time ago and it was a tragic accident but to have the opportunity to drive his car on an event I know he was very passionate about and very good at, it will be good to do that,” said McRae.
“I’m positive that New Zealanders will be happy to see the car back out there.”
“We purchased the car from Possum Bourne Motorsport after Possum’s death and have continued to race it in memory of our great mate,” said Craig Vincent, whose Vantage Motorsport team owns and runs the Subaru.
“It’s always been prepared by Paul Hayton at Possum Bourne Motorsport, and for this event it’s no different, with Paul aiming for the car to deliver around 750 hp.
“Possum would be very proud of the effort and passion his team still put into this car which is now 17 years old and very special to all of us.”
Back by popular demand
The 2015 running of the Race to the Sky will be the first since 2007, the event having been on hiatus for the last eight years.
The 100 percent gravel course is 14.5 kilometres long, has 135 corners, and finishes 1500 metres above sea level. Since the surfacing of Pikes Peak, it is now the longest gravel hillclimb course in the world.
The event will be held over the weekend of April 18 and 19.