Rhys Millen is so serious about breaking the world-famous Pikes Peak Hill Climb' 10-minute barrier and reclaiming his family's honor he's building a tube-framed and carbon fiber, 1,850lb, 750 HP stroked 4.1-liter V6-powered monster called the Hyundai Genesis PM580.
The annual Pikes Peak Hill International Climb is one of the most challenging and dangerous events in motorsport and many consider it the ultimate test of driving skill. Whereas other types of racing have carefully maintained surfaces, strictly controlled safety barriers and tight regulations on the way vehicles are built, Pikes Peak's Unlimited class has none of those things — it's a run what ya' brung affair.
The course consists of a race from the bottom of Colorado's Pikes Peak along a 12.42 mile course with a total elevation change of 4,721 feet. There are 156 turns on a mix of asphalt and gravel and there certainly aren't guard rails so this is an event not for the faint of heart.
Last year, Rhys Millen set a new Time Attack 2WD record of 12:09.397 in a 2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe, but this year he's thinking bigger. In cooperation with Hyundai, Rhys Millen Racing is building the Hyundai Genesis PM580. It's a one-off, LeMan's style race car built for extreme terrain and designed to best the 10-minute barrier by beating Nobuhiro "Monster" Tajima's current time of 10:01.408 in a Suzuki XL7 Hill Climb Special.
While 1.4 seconds might not sound like much, the record has stood since 2007. Before Tajima's record it was Rhys' father Rod Millen's with a record of 10:04:06 in a supermodified Celica he held since 1994. Rhys aims to get the record back for the Millen clan.
So how are they making the attempt? Good old-fashioned light-makes-right. Starting with a chromoly DOM tube chassis they're dropping in a 3.8-liter Lambda V6 from the Hyundai Genesis Coupe, they're stroking the motor to 4.1-liters and adding a HKS T04Z turbocharger with a huge intercooler, with the engine currently testing at 750 HP. The engine is connected to a Weismann semi-automatic AWD transmission with a Tilton Racing clutch, and driving through two active differentials. This will allow the car to shift power side to side to deal with variable road surfaces which Millen sees as key to besting the 10-minute mark. The car is finished off in a lightweight, carbon fiber body with front and rear diffusers and an Aeromotions active wing.
Millen says he's been dreaming of breaking into the 9's for the better part of the decade, and with this effort he's hoping to return the title to his family name. The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb starts June 27th.